What Simeon saw in Jesus

Jesus was just over a month old when Simeon saw him. It wasn’t a chance meeting either, because “It had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ,” Luke 2:26. Clearly something vital in God’s plan was about to happen when the two met.

Why Simeon? Because he lived and breathed one hope and dream, that he would see the Messiah come to Israel in his lifetime. All Jews shared that dream, because it had been pumped into their heads for centuries. They knew the amazing prophecies in the Old Testament Scriptures that one day the Messiah would come, but it was Simeon that God wanted to reveal the Messiah to first. Why? Because of Simeon’s reaction, and a statement he would make that would rock the mind of anyone who understood what it implied.

Simeon, meanwhile, was about to have his dream come true because the Spirit made sure he was at the Temple on the very day Joseph and Mary arrived with Jesus to make the redemption payment for a firstborn child. When they handed over their son to Simeon the old man suddenly found himself staring down at a face he’d never seen before, but he knew exactly who it was.

To Joseph’s and Mary’s astonishment Simeon swung the boy high up in his arms and in a voice choking with emotion he thanked God and cried, “You can take my life any time now, my Master, because all that I longed for in this life of mine is right here in my arms. Here is the Saviour you promised I would see before I died, the Saviour that all nations will know about, Gentiles included, but destined for a special place of honour among your beloved people, Israel,” verses 28-32.

What Simeon saw in Jesus was the opening of a new era, a vast door clanking open through which the bright light of salvation would burst through and shine on every human being, Jew and Gentile, male and female, young and old, penetrating to the depths of the darkest jungle and piercing the conscience of the most hardened criminal. No one would be immune to the light and reality of a new world in existence.

And all people will know it, Simeon cried, because Jesus would “expose the garbage that fills people’s heads and hearts,” verse 35. Such would be the power of the Saviour as he set about healing the whole world of all that messed it up. And that healing is happening right now, as Simeon’s great prophecy continues through the centuries.

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