Simeon’s joy at meeting Jesus – after a long wait – shows that he understands that Jesus fulfils God’s promises.
When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
You’ve probably had the feeling of looking forward to something for a long time. Maybe it’s a special event like a birthday or a party, a life event, or a holiday or a treat you’ve been saving up for. Whatever it is, the waiting is a double-edged sword – there’s excited anticipation of the big day, coupled with the boredom and frustration of the wait, and perhaps even wondering if it will ever actually come to pass.
And then, all of a sudden, it’s here! It’s time for the celebration and living the moment. It’s time for thankfulness and joy. It’s time to reflect on how your life will be better in light of this event or experience or thing. Let’s hope that you stop to soak it all in!
Luke shares a remarkable story of someone who’d been waiting his whole life for a promise to come true. Simeon was the witness to something very special, and because he waited for so long, he was able to see it with his own two eyes.
And it was exciting! Simeon was overwhelmed with joy by the fact that he was holding the son of God in his arms. And to be fair, that is a pretty big deal. Jesus was the beginning to a huge shift in the lives of his people, the coming of a promise spoken long ago.
They had been waiting for a king, a saviour, for hundreds and hundreds of years – and it was finally being fulfilled. But it wasn’t just any promise, it wasn’t just the promise of a holiday or a party. No, this was the promise that would bring about the destruction of sin, and the lifting of their sadness. This was the time for a new relationship with God.
Here Luke gives us yet another vignette of Jesus’ early life that reminds us that this isn’t just any baby. He is someone very particular, with a very special mission and a very special life ahead of him. If Mary and Joseph could only tell Simeon of the miracles their son would perform, the pain he would ease, the souls he would save!
Jesus should be the centre of our lives – one who fulfils God’s incredible promises. Out of everything we anticipate, it should be on him that we really train our eyes. And it should be life with him in heaven that we long for. Because he didn’t just come to Earth to heal the sick, feed 5000 people and walk on water. When we look to Jesus we see something even better than that – the one who died on the cross, for us, to bring us back to God.
Head: Simeon had a rather unusual bucket list – to see the Lord’s messiah! What would it mean for you put your relationship with Jesus at the top of your bucket list?
Heart: In the last verses, Simeon says that “the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.” Our response to Jesus ultimately reveals where our hearts are focussed. Each morning this week, spend a few moments bringing your heart back to Jesus, before you start the day.
Hands: Simeon’s powerful declaration in verses 29-32 is encouraging to read, and even more encouraging when read out loud. Can you encourage your sisters and brothers in Christ by singing out praise in church, and by joining in the reading and discussion at Growth Group? Think about some other culturally appropriate ways to tell out God’s praise.
Prayer: Our father, thank you that you fulfil your promises richly. Please let Simeon’s joy fill us too, as we celebrate what you have done through Jesus. And help us to think again about our hopes for the future, and focus them on you. Amen.
A song to listen to: In Christ Alone
Geoff Pryde and Maddie Pryde