Scripture Reading: Luke 2:22-40
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30-32)
Some forty days after His birth, Jesus’ parents took Him to the temple and presented Him to the Lord as was required by the Old Testament law (Exodus 13:2). While at the temple, Mary and Joseph met Simeon. We know little about Simeon. He is described as “a righteous and devout man, waiting for the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit was upon him” (v. 25). The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ (v. 26). When he saw Mary and Joseph bringing Jesus into the temple, he took the Child from them and began to bless God.
Simeon’s blessing is called by the Latin name the “Nunc Dimittis,” which means “now dismiss.” Simeon expressed his readiness to die now that he had seen the Christ. Simeon saw with his eyes and held in his arms the One who would bring salvation. He knew that he could now die in peace.
Simeon knew that this child was “a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to God’s people Israel.” When Simeon said these words, Mary and Jospeh were amazed at what was said about their Son. After blessing them, Simeon made a prophecy — “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed and a sword will pierce through your own soul also, so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” (vs. 34,45).
Indeed Jesus was appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel. Some would reject Him and others would by sovereign grace accept Him as the true Messiah. He would be a sign to be opposed. He was rejected, hated and ultimately crucified by those who opposed Him.
Simeon told Mary that a sword would pierce her soul. The sword was a symbol of pain. Mary experienced that sword as she stood by the cross where her Son was being crucified (John 19:25). I am sure that Mary remembered Simeon’s words to her when Jesus was a child — “a sword will pierce through your own soul also.”
Jesus’ contact with a person will reveal the thoughts of that person’s heart — “so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” (v. 33b). Jesus sees into every person’s heart. He will see either unbelief or true saving faith.
Lord Jesus, because of You I too can die in peace, for I know that You have prepared a place for me in Your Father’s house. You alone brought salvation to us. You are a light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel. I rejoice in You this day and praise You for Your birth, death and resurrection.
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