Tuesday after the First Sunday after Christmas
Scripture: St. Luke 2:25-32 (NKJV)
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 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. 27 So he came by 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, 28 he 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; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation 31 which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, 32 a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
We read that Simeon was a “righteous” Israelite, meaning he was “judged righteous” or “justified” in the eyes of God. It also says that Simeon was “devout,” meaning that he truly lived out his faith in devotion to his Lord. So we see in these two descriptions the sum total of the Christian existence: justification (being judged righteous) and sanctification (the living out of our justified state).
But what’s more remarkable about Simeon is not who he is, but what’s done to and for Simeon. Three times in the first three verses of our text the Holy Spirit is the actor. The Holy Spirit made Simeon long for his salvation. The Holy Spirit made him devout, and revealed to him that he would get to see his salvation with his own earthly eyes. The Holy Spirit guided Simeon into the temple, giving him eyes of faith to recognize his salvation. And finally, it was the Holy Spirit who primed Simeon to prophesy with such foresight, clarity, and truth.
Then Simeon’s big day came, right there in the Jerusalem temple. His conception of salvation took on clarity and substance. He took the Child in his arms, and literally beheld his Savior. As he did so, Simeon made the profound confession and prophecy that described Who this child really is. One might wonder if Simeon was thinking, “I wonder Who is really holding whom?” For it was the Christ, Who would bring us to the Father.