Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
(The Advent: Faces within the Christmas Story.)
Luke 2:25 (NIV)
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.
Luke 2:25 (MSG)
In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him.
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout [carefully observing the divine Law], and looking for the Consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” -AMPLIFIED
Simeon was a righteous man and a devout Jew. Luke tells us this right up front. His part in the story happened 40 days after the birth of Jesus. We find that as Joseph and Mary came to the Temple to fulfill their obligations to the Lord they encounter this godly man. We assume he must have been older because of what Luke tells us, but we truly do not know how old Simeon was at this point in time. “The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Anointed One.” -Luke 2:26 (VOICE)
We can glean a few important facts about Simeon from Luke’s Gospel:
1.) Simeon was a good man. He was righteous; which means that he was a godly man and tried to do the right thing.
2.) He was a devout Jew. This means that he carefully observed and followed the Law.
3.) He was expectantly looking for and anticipating the consolation or the comfort, succor, or help of Israel.
4.) Simeon was touched by the Holy Spirit. We find him allowing the Holy Spirit to guide him in significant ways.
The Voice Translation presents the story of Simeon within the story of Jesus like this:
“While fulfilling these sacred obligations at the temple, they encountered a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was a just and pious man, anticipating the liberation of Israel from her troubles. He was a man in touch with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Anointed One. The Spirit had led him to the temple that day, and there he saw the child Jesus in the arms of His parents, who were fulfilling their sacred obligations. Simeon took Jesus into his arms and blessed God.
Simeon: “Now, Lord and King, You can let me, Your humble servant, die in peace. You promised me that I would see with my own eyes what I’m seeing now: Your freedom, Raised up in the presence of all peoples. He is the light who reveals Your message to the other nations, and He is the shining glory of Your covenant people, Israel.” His father and mother were stunned to hear Simeon say these things. Simeon went on to bless them both, and to Mary in particular he gave predictions.
Simeon: Listen, this child will make many in Israel rise and fall. He will be a significant person whom many will oppose. In the end, He will lay bare the secret thoughts of many hearts. And a sword will pierce even your own soul, Mary.” -Luke 2:25-35 (VOICE)
Here was a man of God who was diligently seeking the Messiah. This man loved God and lived to please Him. He listened to the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit. And he was looking forward to and anticipating the comfort and peace that the Messiah would bring to His people. (The fact that Simeon was noted for this makes me wonder if there truly were not many who were looking for their Messiah any longer.)
Simeon was thrilled when he finally received the answer to the promise that he had been so patiently waiting for. We find him praying to God, “Now, Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to leave [this world] 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 for revelation to the Gentiles [to disclose what was previously unknown], and [to bring] the praise and honor and glory of Your people Israel.” -Luke 2:29-32 (AMP)
We also find that Simeon had a prophetic word for these two new parents. It was a word of encouragement as well as a word of warning, “Listen carefully: this Child is appointed and destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that is to be opposed—and a sword [of deep sorrow] will pierce through your own soul—so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” -Luke 2:35 (AMP)
I pray that we are all diligently looking for the fulfillment of the promises of the Lord within our own lives. “We have cause to celebrate because the grace of God has appeared, offering the gift of salvation to all people. Grace arrives with its own instruction: run away from anything that leads us away from God; abandon the lusts and passions of this world; live life now in this age with awareness and self-control, doing the right thing and keeping yourselves holy. Watch for His return; expect the blessed hope we all will share when our great God and Savior, Jesus the Anointed, appears again. He gave His body for our sakes and will not only break us free from the chains of wickedness, but He will also prepare a community uncorrupted by the world that He would call His own—people who are passionate about doing the right thing.” -Titus 2:11-14 (VOICE)
Lord, I want to be diligently and expectantly looking forward to your coming; just as Simeon was. Help me to keep my focus trained on you and my heart in tune with your Holy Spirit. I want to be remembered as someone who was faithfully looking for your promises; as well as a godly, righteous person. Lord, I am patiently waiting for your coming.