When Pastor Georges Ntemi is on the podium preaching, he seems to transcend into a different spiritual realm where he is in commune with the Lord. From that transcendental plane, his sermon is brilliantly soothing, powerfully edifying, and spiritually cathartic.
His Christmas sermon this past Sunday was delivered in such a powerful and reverential way that when he descended from the podium at the end of the sermon, he seemed to have returned from the podium of transfiguration.
As is his usual characteristic, he gives the etymology of the Hebraic names he encounters in the Bible, names that are symbolic of the demeanor of the individuals as such. On Sunday, the congregation was told, not for the first time, that the meaning of Jesus is Jehovah is savior; Simeon means someone who hears, Anna means grace or the favor of God, and Penuel, who is Anna’s father means the one who sees God’s face.
Simeon was a righteous and dedicated man of God while Anna was a prophet, who committed her life to God after she became a widow at 25 until she died at age 84. The two extoled the redeeming grace of Jesus when he was born and presented to be consecrated in Jerusalem.
Pastor Ntemi informed his sermon with Luke 2: 22-28. After narrating the Nativity story and the lowly birth of Jesus, the apostle of God encouraged the congregation to treat Christmas not as a season of festivities and celebrations but as a season that calls for renewal of mind and salvation.
He said the tendency at Christmas is for children to expect gifts from their parents while adults get into a festive and celebratory mood. “Christmas is more than that; Christmas is a time for consolation and renewal, revelation and redemption.” Then, he asked a couple of complex questions: “What is Christmas to you? What are you waiting for?”
According to Pastor Ntemi, the prophets spoke of Jesus’s coming in the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi, so when Simeon heard the news of Jesus’s birth, he went to the consecrated ground to witness the redeeming glory of God through Jesus’s birth after which he said he was ready to die. Anna also waited for the coming and the birth of the savior.
Simeon’s declaration after seeing the baby Jesus is particularly sobering. Luke 2: 27-32 state, “Moved by the Spirit, he [Simeon] went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God saying, ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
‘For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for the revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel’”
In the case of Anna who never left the temple, fasting and praying from when she was 25 until the birth of Jesus when she was 84, she expressed her gratitude to God. As the Scripture says, “Coming up to them, she spoke about the child to all those who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Indeed, when the Nativity story is narrated, Jesus’s consecration and the remarkable roles Simeon and Anna played in it are rarely mentioned, so Pastor Ntemi’s emphasis on Simeon and Anna as symbolic of Christmas as a time for consolation, renewal, anticipation of great things, glory, and redemption confirm the belief of most members of Amazing Love Church Ministry Int’l that when it comes to the explication of the Bible through preaching and teaching, the man of God is a genius.
Again, Pastor Ntemi admonished those bearing grudges against others that hate is a child of the devil, so any Christian worth his salt must desist from bearing grudges. After his descent from the podium of transfiguration, Pastor Ntemi and the Church’s first lady, Evangelist Mildred Ntemi presented Christmas gifts to children of the Church, including newly born babies. Glory be to them and may the Good Lord continue to richly bless their lives!
Samuel O. Doku