Simeon Sees God’s Salvation
Simeon was a good Jewish man living in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus’ birth. Simeon loved God and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Simeon knew from Scripture that God had promised a Savior and oh how badly Simeon wanted to see this promised Savior! If only he could see this Savior, who would be God’s salvation, before he died! This was Simeon’s deepest desire.
Then one day the Holy Spirit came and revealed to Simeon that God would give him his desire and he would indeed be privileged to see the Savior! We read in Scripture: “And it had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he would see the Lord’s Christ.” (Luke 2:26) Simeon was overjoyed and waited anxiously for God’s salvation to be revealed to him.
When Jesus was four or five weeks old, Mary and Joseph took him to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord and to offer sacrifices. At the very hour that Mary and Joseph were there in the temple with the baby Jesus, the Holy Spirit directed Simeon to go to the temple. The same Spirit that had given Simeon the hope of seeing the Savior now provided him the joy of seeing the Savior. Scripture says: “So by the Holy Spirit, Simeon came into the temple.” (Luke 2:27a) We don’t know how the Holy Spirit moves us to do things and go places, but God has His ways. Isn’t it exciting to know that God leads us and moves us - if we are open to Him?
Scripture says that when Simeon saw the baby Jesus he knew immediately that this was the promised Savior. Trembling, Simeon asked to hold the baby Jesus. Scripture tells us: “Simeon took the baby Jesus 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 which You have prepared before the face of all peoples. A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles. And the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:28-32) Simeon’s prophetic words are known as the “Nunc Dimitis,” and they stress the truth that Jesus is the Savior for the whole world.
We don’t know how Simeon recognized the Savior when he saw this little baby in the temple, but God opens the eyes of His people and shows them mysteries that those who reject Him will never get to see. Oh that we may be open to God to give us eyes to see what He wants us to see. Like Simeon, if we desire to see the Savior, God will let us see Him.
Mary and Joseph stood there in the temple and marveled at Simeon’s prophecies concerning their infant son, Jesus. Then Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph and gave a prophecy to Mary. Here is the prophecy that Simeon gave to Mary that day in the temple. “”Behold this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against. Yes a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34b-35)
What does Simeon’s prophecy to Mary mean? Mary’s Child is “destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against.” Perhaps this means that not everyone will accept the salvation that Jesus offers. Some will see Him and accept Him and live eternally and some will stumble over Him and fall. The opposition to Jesus and His message will reach its climax at the Cross, where Mary will also experience piercing anguish. Lest Joseph and Mary especially should be lifted up with the abundance of the revelations, perhaps here is a thorn in the flesh for them, and also what we sometimes need to keep us humble.
Mary, being chosen to become the mother of God’s Son, was blessed among women. But Mary’s Son, the Son of God, would be a suffering Son, a suffering Savior. And those who follow the suffering Savior would suffer also. The followers of Jesus would be called to take up their cross to follow Him. Mary would also have sorrows and piercing pain in her life – would also take up a cross of suffering.
It is a spiritual battle that we are engaged in – the battle between light and darkness, life and death, good and evil. We don’t understand this mystery of why this battle is only won through Jesus suffering and death. Or why we who follow Him are called to suffer. But God, our Father calls us to follow Him in faith. To trust and obey. In the end when the battle is over, we have the marvelous promise that Jesus will win the battle for us. In the end good will overcome evil, light will shine through the darkness, life will conquer death. Jesus will win the victory and be victorious. And we will be victorious through Him. Simeon was not satisfied with what the world had to offer. He was only satisfied when he was allowed to see Jesus. Oh that we might be like Simeon and long to see Jesus. May we never be satisfied with anything less.