“And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,”
Not much is information on who Simeon is.
All we really know about Simeon is what Luke tells us here in these few verses. Some have supposed that this Simeon was a son of “Hillel,” who was a famous distinguished teacher in Jerusalem, and the president of the Sanhedrin. But not much is really know for any certainty, and who he was is really irrelevant to the story. However, what he was and how he acted is very important.
First of all, the text says, “Behold”
- That is to look closely at this!,
- Study this!
- “Hey! Check this out!”
- The author is getting ready to say something very important and he does not want you to miss it.
The author singles Simeon out. Why? Well lets look at how he describes Simeon. Luke uses words like “just” and “devout”.
- Another way of saying this would be to say that Simeon was a fair and sincere,
- he would be considered a pious man.
- He would be a man with deep spiritual morals, a man of conviction.
- A man who lived by his word.
The fact that he was single out by name indicates that everyone knew of this virtuous man.
- Everyone considered that he was a man that was righteous in the eyes of God.
- He was a good Jew,
- He was seen as one who discharged his duties faithfully to man and to God.
- His reputation preceded him.
- He was a man of respect among the people.
- He was probably an elder.
He was undoubtedly a holy man and was divinely inspired.
The text says that the
- “Holy Spirit” was upon him
- “Holy Spirit” had revealed things to him.
- He was “led by the Spirit” into the temple.
This scripture indicates that it was the direct influence of the Holy Spirit that Simeon was told to go into the temple, the text reads, “And he came by the Spirit into the temple”. This makes what he spoke about Jesus a divine revelation by God to Simeon.
When Jesus asked his disciples who is it you say that I am and Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus told him, “Blessed art thou Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:16-18)
You see Simeon wasn’t just waiting for something from God. Simeon was waiting for something specific from God. God had made a promise to Simeon. We don’t know when the promise was made. We don’t know how long Simeon had been waiting. It could have been years, or months, or even days. It could have been just hours. However, the reading of the text gives me the feeling that Simeon had been waiting a long time, probably decades. But Simeon wasn’t the only one who had to wait was he. Mary and Joseph had waited months to see Jesus. Israel had waited even longer. It is estimated that there were at least 400 years of silence from God between the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament it self covers a span of approximately 4000 years. All of creation waited in anticipation of the birth of Christ.
Take a look at Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Simeon and Israel were looking for this birth! Simeon was waiting for the fulfillment of this prophecy. He was waiting for the arrival of the “Messiah” who is called “the consolation of Israel” because he would give comfort to them by his appearing. Simeon longed for the coming of the Messiah; and the Spirit prepared him to see Jesus for who he truly is. The Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace! The promised Messiah.
This birth was something that the world has never seen. God put on flesh! This had never been done since the before creation.
Man had never seen it
No other religion ever recorded such an event
Angels had never seen such a sight
When Moses had asked to see the God’s face, the Lord told Moses he cannot do so because he his holiness would destroy Moses. See Moses was flesh, and like all flesh he had the sin of Adam. It would be like trying to put two magnets together where the polar ends don’t match up. The magnetic force would not allow you to do this. God says that He reveals himself in nature. I believe this magnetic principle is one way that God reveals his holiness and it’s inability to mend with sin. But Simeon had read the scriptures. Simeon know that God had a way to redeem, not only Israel, but the whole world to him. Simeon knew that somehow, God would become flesh. God found away to overcome this spiritual law. That’s what is so important of the virgin birth.
Some things to know about Simeon and his waiting.
- Simeon was absolutely sure that the Messiah was coming and that he would see him.
- Simeon expected the Lord to come at any moment.
- Simeon lived his life in his belief as a result he was seen as just and devout
- Simeon lived a life under the direction and in obedience to the Holy Spirit, he was man who surrendered to the will of God
- Simeon was ready to welcome the Lord into his life. He took him in his arms, he made him feel welcomed and loved. He blessed God for such a special gift. See he understood that the Messiah was first to come as a sacrifice and then again as a conquering King. He knew in his heart what John would later record in the 3rd chapter of the Gospel of John when he said, “For God so love the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but heave everlasting life.” You could say that Simeon was effectively the very first Christian! Simeon believed on Him! He believed that He was the restoration of Israel, and all of the world!
- Simeon lived a life who’s whole purpose was the revelation and declaration of Jesus Christ. As a result, Simeon was the first man to declare that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the promised Messiah in the Temple. Then with his life purpose being fulfilled he was ready for the Lord to take him home. His whole meaning in life was Jesus!
If Simeon would have not been living a life of expecting from the Lord, or in obedience to the Lord, he would have missed his opportunity to perform his part in this miraculous revelation of the birth of the creator, who became a man, to redeem mankind to himself. If we are not careful, we can miss what God has for us in Christ.
So while Christmas is a great time to look back and to reflect on all that God has done for us, let’s not get so caught up in the lights, and pageantry, or the gifts and credit card abuse, or the food and the wine that we forget that Christ is still alive, and that he is returning to establish His kingdom here on earth.
How are you waiting?
- Are you waiting like Simeon did?
- What are you waiting for from God?
- Are you living a life in anticipation of the return of Jesus?
- Do you live your life in the belief that Jesus can come at any moment?
Do you live a life that shows?
- Jesus is coming at any moment to complete the restoration of Israel
- That the Kingdom of Heaven is indeed at hand.
If we do then, how should we be waiting?
Throughout Scripture we find admonitions given to us about the Lord’s return:
- Watch faithfully.
- Work diligently.
- We are to watch.
- The Lord said repeatedly that we are to watch for His coming because we do not know the day or hour of His return (Matt. 24:42; 25:13).
- In Luke 21:36, Jesus gave this specific instruction: “Keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
- We are to stand fast in the faith with courage and strength (1 Cor. 16:13).
- We are to watch soberly, arming ourselves with faith, love, and salvation (1 Thess. 5:8).
- We are to work.
- We are to be the Lord’s witnesses—telling of the love of God and the atoning death of Jesus Christ.
- We are to testify about what He has done in our own lives, both with our words and by our example.
While we celebrate this Christmas let us live lives of sobriety, testifying to the truth. Being fair and honest in all our dealings. Bearing spiritual fruit in anticipation that our redeemer is nigh. Living lives in submission to the Holy Spirit and being obedient to the will of Christ in our lives.