“Now 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. 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 do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “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.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And 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 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2: 25-35)
Simeon is an important personality in the First Christmas event. Luke has carefully documented the visit of Joseph, Mary and Jesus to the Jerusalem temple. Insightful Simeon is an inspiration to us even today.
Righteous and Devout
Simeon is described as righteous and devout. Righteous is a word used in the Bible for a person who loves justice, does what is right and speaks truth. When a person is described as righteous; it means that the person had impeccable reputation in the community. Simeon was seen as righteous person in the community and was also devout Jew who frequented the Temple regularly. Simeon was devout to study the scripture, pray and have fellowship with fellow Jews in the Temple. His personal life, spiritual life and social life was exemplary.
Insightful about Prophesy and Past
Simeon was waiting for the ‘Consolation of Israel’ – that is the coming of the Messiah. He had keen insights about the prophesies regarding the Messiah. In fact, he was student of the Word of God. His search and study helped him to have insight that the Messiah would be born during his life time. Unlike the Priests and Scribes, who had scholarly knowledge about the birth of Messiah in the town of Bethlehem (Mathew 2: 3-6) and did not bother to act on that knowledge; Simeon was diligently seeking the fulfillment of the prophecy of the coming of Messiah.
Insightful of God’s work in the present
Simeon was a spiritual man led by the Holy Spirit (Luke 2:27). Simeon did not stay in the Temple of Jerusalem permanently inspecting every child that was brought there to determine who would be the Messiah. Unfortunately, today there are many who are seeing for signs of the Second Coming in each and every happening in the world. But, Simeon was led by the Holy Spirit, that he came to the Jerusalem Temple just at the right moment when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus. Simeon took the baby Jesus, blessed the Lord, thanked the Lord for fulfilling his promise and prophesized to Mary also.
Insightful about Future
Simeon was true man of God. He spoke of the Global plan of God, plan for the nation of Israel and personal life of Mary. Lord Jesus Christ has come to the world to be Light to Gentiles. Adam and Eve descended the whole world into spiritual darkness. Now, the Christmas is the spiritual dawn for the whole humanity. The Son of God, the Light of the World has come to lead people out of darkness. The Good News would spread as light in all nook and corner of the world.
Israel, the chosen nation of God will see the Glory as the Son of God chose to be born as a Jew. Jesus, the Son of David is Greater than David and Greater than the Temple. However, Israelites failed to understand that their Glory was not the Jerusalem Temple, but the Word who became flesh. (John 1:14)
Mary will also have to go through pain and suffering – sword would pierce her soul. Being the holy vehicle to bring the Son of God into the world was not an easy or simple task. Mary had to go through intense suffering throughout her life.
Simeon is an inspiration and challenge to us. We ought to be righteous and devout like Simeon. He was well instructed in the Word of God. Inspired by the Holy Spirit he went to the Jerusalem Temple at the right time. Simeon was able to interpret the prophesy precisely about the World, Nation of Israel and also Mary. May God help us to be insightful in the Word, guidance of the Spirit, and interpreting Word for the World.