Lord, You were a most remarkable infant.
Read LUKE 2:21–35
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
Jesus Presented in the Temple
22 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”[a]), 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.”[b]
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[c] 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.”
a Luke 2:23 Exodus 13:2,12
b Luke 2:24 Lev. 12:8
c Luke 2:29 Or promised, / now dismiss
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning; / Jesus, to thee be all glory given” (John Francis Wade, 1711–1786).
With Simeon our understanding of who this baby is and what he will do rises to a new level. Simeon is introduced as a righteous man who observed the Law. He was well-versed in the Scriptures. This section draws heavily on Isaiah 40–66. There is an interesting constellation of images here. Simeon is waiting for the consolation (Greek paraklēsis) of Israel (25), the same word that is used in the Greek translation of Isaiah 40:1, where our English translations have “comfort.” We think immediately of Jesus’ promise of the “Paraclete,” “Comforter” (AV) or Advocate (NIV). Putting all this together, we see Simeon as someone longing to see God come—not in judgment but tenderly in grace.
Not surprisingly, then, Luke emphasizes that “the Holy Spirit was on him” (25). Sensitive to the leading of the Spirit, he arrives at the temple just about the time that Joseph and Mary enter to present Jesus to the Lord. The Spirit has made known to Simeon that he will see the Messiah before he dies, and the Spirit reveals to him that this very baby, who has come as a “light for revelation to the Gentiles,” is the one (32).
Simeon also strikes a more somber note, prophesying to Mary that with her joy would come anguish. The imagery is again taken from Isaiah. There would still be those who would oppose the Messiah, an opposition that would pierce her soul. We are there too, for all of us brood over his violent death. There is much weight in Simeon’s words. Jesus’ work lies ahead, far greater in scope than any of the participants mentioned so far in this account. Luke continues to draw us in to read and ponder the rest of the story.
Are there people you will be celebrating with today who need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ?
Lord, give us the eyes of Simeon that we may see beyond what the average onlooker initially sees.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.