Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel“ Luke 2:34
There is both a mystery and majesty about the word destiny. In a very real sense it holds transformative power because there are moments in time in which circumstances and decisions can alter it irrevocably.
I still laugh when I think about George McFly’s attempt to impress Lorraine in the movie Back to the Future. “I’m your density. I mean . . . your destiny.” George’s dense introduction did not get him very far. But with some major help from Marty, his future son, George’s wish became a reality and the destiny of the McFly family, hanging so delicately in the balance, was restored.
When Simeon held the eight day old Jesus in his arms he was holding the child in whom the destiny of the world would one day be determined. He was forecasting that what people choose to do with this child will determine their eternal destiny. Destiny is a powerful word. A person’s destiny speaks of his or her ultimate destination. That is a sobering thought. Especially when you realize that there are only two destinies from which to choose – a falling destination or a rising destination.
The word for “falling” in this verse is only used one other time in the entire New Testament. It is the word Jesus chose to describe the house that fell in His parable about the foolish man who built his house on the sand. We are told that when the rain, floods and wind slammed against that house “great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:27) The picture here is one of utter, irrevocable and regrettable destruction. Nobody wants that destiny for their lives. And yet many suffer it by default because they fail to align themselves with this child. The difference between the house that fell and the house that stood was their respective foundations. The house that weathered the storm was the one built on the rock of acceptance and obedience to the words of Jesus.
The word for “rising” in Simeon’s prophecy is from the Greek word anastasis, which is commonly translated in all its other uses in the New Testament as resurrection. In essence the Holy Spirit through Simeon was giving Mary and Joseph a glimpse of the ultimate purpose of this child’s birth – to secure resurrection life for all who will believe in Him. Just days before His death Jesus declared the destiny He offers everyone who will accept and believe in Him. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;” (John 11:26)
As believers in Jesus, having a resurrection destiny should alter the way we view and live our lives. It empowers us to rise above and overcome every obstacle that seeks to rob us of that destiny. Don’t let doubt and unbelief rob you. You are destined for faith. Don’t let discouragement or disillusionment rob you. You are destined for hope. Don’t let resentment and bitterness rob you. You are destined for love.
Our destiny is one of victory and not defeat. It is one of prosperity and not poverty – one of blessing and not a curse. Our destiny is one of healing and not sickness – one of joy and not sorrow. It is a destiny to be a giver and not a hoarder – to be a difference maker and not a trouble maker.
Since your destiny is a person, be certain to hitch your destiny wagon to Jesus, the bright the morning star. (Revelation 22:16)