This week, I have spent a lot of time reading Luke 2:22-40. In this passage, we read of Mary and Joseph dedicating baby Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem.
When the family arrived at the temple, they met a man named Simeon. God had told this man he wouldn't see death before he saw the Messiah. When Simeon saw Jesus, "He took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 'Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.'"
Then Simeon turns to Mary and Joseph, blessing them. He says to Mary, "Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."
Since reading this prophecy, I've thought about the controversy Jesus causes even to this day. He taught of a Kingdom very much unlike the systems of power we have in the world. It pissed off the rulers of his day enough to murder him.
Simply calling Jesus God makes people angry or at the very least uncomfortable. All kinds of religions try to explain away or incorporate Jesus, but they refuse to recognize him as the Son of God and the only way to the Father.
I think the sign Simeon mentions is Jesus's death, burial, and resurrection. In Luke 11:29-30, Jesus says, "This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation."
Jonah, as every Sunday School kid will tell you, was swallowed by a giant fish then spat out on shore three days later. Jesus referred to this as a foreshadowing of his death, burial, and resurrection on the third day. This sign alone, if nothing else, would have to suffice as proof of his deity.
Friends and family have tried to tell me they see Jesus as a moral leader, a wise man, a brilliant teacher, but they deny or ignore this point: Jesus died and got up. Those who recognize this about Jesus find themselves confronted with a choice between rejecting him or worshiping him as God. Not a God, but God. There is no middle ground.
Does the death and resurrection make you uncomfortable or do you find joy in it?