So many of the people we meet in the gospels are known to us only through their encounters with Jesus. Simeon is one such person, only mentioned once, in his meeting with Jesus in the temple. The Holy Spirit gave Simeon an unusual insight into Jesus and the role he would play.
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. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. (Luke 2:25, 26)
We usually assume Simeon to have been quite old when he met Jesus in the temple, but this was not necessarily so. We do know that he was “righteous and devout”, filled with the Holy Spirit and dissatisfied with the political and religious climate of the day. (“Consolation of Israel” is synonymous with the arrival of their Messiah.)
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, 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 revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:27-32)
Everything this godly man sought in life was satisfied when he met Jesus that day. Early in his ministry, Jesus would teach his followers that
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Consoled) …
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:4, 6, 8)
How well Simeon fits this description! And how accurate his words of prophecy concerning Jesus. He is the source of our salvation; he has beautifully revealed God to all nations, extending God’s grace to the Gentiles (including us); he is indeed the “glory of Israel” (if only more of Abraham’s children would receive him as such).
The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. 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, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:33-35)
Later events would prove the accuracy of these predictions, too.
PRAYER: We thank you, Father, for this godly man and his example to us. May we too fix our hope and confidence in Jesus. Forgive us those times when we have neglected you and tried to satisfy ourselves with the temporary things around us. We pray for the people of Israel and ask that you give them Simeon’s eyes to recognise and receive Jesus as the Saviour you sent them. And we ask this too, for the people of Australia, and for those we know who seem happy to ignore you. In the Name of the One you sent to save us. Amen
Song: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by the Living Stones Quartet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTZtKoAwf0U