THE SONG OF SIMEON

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:22-35

“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 the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)

On this Christmas Eve, we are considering the last of the Christmas songs found in Luke’s gospel. The event recorded in our passage took place some forty days after the birth of Jesus. Jesus was presented to the Lord by His parents as the Old Testament law required (Exodus 13:2). At the time of Mary’s purification (forty days after the birth), she presented a sacrifice to the Lord in accordance with Leviticus 12:6,8. It is interesting to note that the sacrifice Mary made was the sacrifice God allowed for the poor — “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons” (v. 22).

When Mary and Joseph brought the Christ-child to the temple, an elderly man met them. We know very little about Simeon, other that what we are told in this passage — “This man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (vs. 25,26).

Can you imagine how surprised Mary and Joseph were when Simeon took Jesus into his arms? “And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, ‘Lord, You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation that You prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Your people Israel” (vs. 27-32).

Simeon expressed to God his readiness to die. He had been waiting for the consolation of Israel. Simeon saw with his eyes and held in his arms the One who would bring salvation. Now he could die in peace.

However, Simeon had a bittersweet message for Mary — “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” (vs. 34,35).

One day Mary would experience the sword that would pierce her soul, when she stood by the cross of Jesus (John 19:23-25). Simeon’s prophecy helps us keep the message of Christmas in perspective. Standing behind the manger was the shadow of the cross of Jesus. As we celebrate Christmas tomorrow, let us keep the true meaning of Christmas near to our hearts.

Lord Jesus, as Simeon stated, You are my salvation. You are a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Your people Israel. On this Christmas Eve, I realize that You were born to die. You came to save Your people from their sins. Behind the manger was the shadow of Your cross. I worship and praise You for Your birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension. I know that You are now seated at the right hand of the Father and because You are sovereign, all is well!

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