And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking 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. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
– Luke 2:25-32 NASB (the all caps line is an allusion to Isaiah 9:1-2; 42:6; 49:6, 9; 51:4; and 60:1-3)
Yesterday, we read about Peter preaching the gospel (good news) to the Gentiles. For comparison purposes, let’s go back now see how things looked when Jesus was still an infant.
Mary and Joseph had brought Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem for the infant rituals practiced in those days. An elderly man named Simeon was there. We know he was a prophet because Luke says “the Holy Spirit was upon him.” (The reason prophets could speak for God is that God’s Holy Spirit made known God’s thoughts to them.) The Holy Spirit enabled Simeon to see more in this baby than met the human eye.
Consider the amazing things Simeon pronounced as true about this baby! What is taking place here may remind you of a scripture we read about a month ago:
“Though your beginning was insignificant,
Yet your end will increase greatly.”
– Job 8:7 NASB
Consider Simeon’s prophecy above in light of Peter’s preaching to the Gentiles we read yesterday. Simeon was seeing Jesus close to His “insignificant beginning” and Peter was seeing Him closer to His “greatly increased end.”
As for the phrase “the glory of Your people Israel,” consider how proud the Jews are of Albert Einstein, Jonas Salk, Leonard Bernstein, and many others – and rightly so. However, Jesus of Nazareth was – by far – the greatest Jew to have ever lived. Truly, He was – and is – the glory of Israel.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, let us be like Simeon, seeing what You intend things to eventually become and not just what they are right now…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.