Advent Promo

17th Day of Advent

Luke 2:21-35

21And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

22And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27And 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, 28he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30for my eyes have seen your salvation
31    that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

33And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

After the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph lingered in Bethlehem for some time. Their reasons for the delay are not expressly stated but we can make some reasonable conjectures. Mary would have been utterly exhausted by such a grueling trip so late in her pregnancy followed by giving birth in a stable. As they waited for her to recover, more suitable accommodations needed to be found. And Joseph still had to deal with the business at hand, registering himself and his family for the tax census. In addition to the legal obligations there were many religious obligations.

While in the temple complex, Mary and Joseph were approached by a stranger. Luke tells us that his name was Simeon and that he was religious and devout. We are further informed that he was one of the thousands of observant Jews of that day who were anxiously waiting for the coming of the Messiah.  Verse 25 says, “He is waiting for the consolation of Israel.” The word “consolation” comes from the Greek word meaning  “comfort”.  Simeon was one filled with the Holy Spirit who was longing for the Messiah to come. He had hope that God would come to rescue and comfort his people.

I’ve always pictured Simeon as an old, old man who day after day visited the temple. Then one special day he awoke with a sense of expectancy. Something was different. He entered the temple and scanned the crowd. Just passing by was yet another young family. Drawn like a magnet, he approached them. The mother looked so young. The bundle lovingly cradled in her arms was obviously a baby—another firstborn son to ransom before God. The mother met his silent, inquiring, eyes with calm acceptance and held out her precious parcel to Simeon’s outstretched arms. Gently his weathered, age-spotted hand pulled back the protective blanket and eyes watery with age,  gazed in wonder at the face of the Son of God.

Simeon looked heavenward and sang forth a psalm of praise:

“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.”

Questions to Ponder

  • Simeon was hoping with eager expectation for the day when God would send Jesus, the comfort and hope of His people. What are some parallels between Simeon’s hope and our hope as we await Christ’s 2nd coming?

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