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December 19, 2013

Baby Jesus in the Arms of Simeon

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I often read the Bible at Bicentennial Park in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida with my friends. As I watch the loving Lord Jesus give eternal life to people at the Park, I see Him open their eyes to the Bible, which is the Word of God. I love to share their joy as they read through the wonderful Word of God and experience great joy as they hear Jesus speak to them through His Bible. At this time of year, we love to read the story of God the Son taking flesh and living among men. I wish you could see the joy on their faces as they read the Word of God. Eyes sparkle, hearts overflow, and smiles remind me of the true spiritual power of Christmas. So, I wanted to share the joy of the Word of God concerning Simeon with you today.

The story of Simeon centers upon the birth of Jesus, when God the Son took flesh and lived among men. God used different people, and angels, to proclaim the good news of the birth of God the Son in  human flesh. In fact, these prophesies concerning the birth of God the Son began long before Jesus was born, 1Jesus Himself proclaimed that all the prophecies concerning Himself in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Luke 24:44.  and God continued with prophecies even after the birth of Jesus. Do you know why God the Son was named “Jesus” by his parents?

God Named the Baby “Jesus”

In fact, God chose the name “Jesus” and sent angels to tell Mary 2The angel tells Mary to name the child “Jesus” and that He will be called the Son of God–Luke 1:30-33. and Joseph to name their child “Jesus.” 3The angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told Joseph to call the child “Jesus” because He will save His people from their sins–Matthew 1:21.  The name “Jesus” means Savior, because Jesus came to save people from their sins. 4Matthew 1:21.

And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Luke 2:21

We know that Jesus did not begin His existence when He took flesh, because Jesus was always God the Son long before He took flesh and lived among men.  God the Son existed as God throughout the Old Testament, and existed as God in the beginning, and has always been God and has always been with God. 5Notice the very precise language of John 1:1. The Holy Spirit communicated in John 1:1 these words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” These words emphasize three points about God the Word, otherwise known as God the Son who took flesh and dwelt among men (the Word became flesh = Jesus of Nazareth–John 1:14). First, in words similar to Genesis 1:1, God the Word existed in the beginning. Notice that God the Word was not created in the beginning, but He was already in existence “in the beginning.” Second, God the Word was with God. This word “with” (“πρὸς”) means that God exists with God.  In other words, God exists eternally and simultaneously in different Persons. The word does not describe separate Gods, but one God existing in three different persons. In other Bible passages, we learn that God the Son eternally exists with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:13-17; Colossians 2:9). They eternally exist with each other as one united God. Third, God the Word was God. Therefore, we learn that God the Word always existed, even before the beginning, and God the Word existed with God, and God the Word was God. All three of these aspects of God the Word have always been true, are true right now, and will always be true.

Simeon met Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem.  Why were Mary and Joseph even at the temple? God has this marvelous way to bring people together at just the right place, and just the right time.  God works supernaturally to arrange events so that you are at the exact spot He wants you so that you will meet someone you have never met before. I call these meetings “divine appointments.” I have seen God do that many times in my life. In this case, Mary and Joseph had to go to the temple to fulfill the Law of Moses concerning the birth of the firstborn male child. God had scheduled a divine appointment with Simeon at the temple in Jerusalem, where the Law of Moses required Mary and Joseph to present the child Jesus to God.

Baby Jesus and the Law of Moses

Jesus perfectly fulfilled every aspect of the Law of Moses. 6Jesus lived without sin (Hebrews 4:15), and so fulfilled every part of the law (Matthew 5:17-18), so that Christ is the end of the law to all who believe in Him (Romans 10:4). Furthermore, because of Christ condemning sin in the flesh, all the requirements of the Law have been fulfilled by believers who walk in the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-4.) As a baby, Jesus relied upon His righteous parents to keep the Law of Moses and fulfill its obligations regarding the birth of male children.  Indeed, Mary and Joseph strove to fulfill the Law of Moses regarding their Son, Jesus. God had chosen Mary and Joseph because they were righteous people before God who had been keeping the Law of Moses. God described Mary as a woman favored by God, and that God was with her. 7Luke 1:28 Joseph was a righteous man, 8Matthew 1:19. to whom God revealed a special message concerning Mary, his fiancée. Joseph learned that Mary was pregnant and sought to put her away secretly, because he did not want to disgrace her. 9Matthew 1:19 This kind act tells us a lot about the person and character of Joseph. He did not want to expose Mary to ridicule and persecution for pregnancy outside of marriage. 10In some cases, the virgin who has sex with a man before marriage may cause one or both of them to suffer the death penalty–Deuteronomy 22:23-29.  Joseph thought Mary had been having sex with some other man.  Even so, Joseph still wanted the best for Mary.  Would you have treated your fiancée the same? Joseph had a great heart for God and Mary.  An angel from God appeared to Joseph and told him that the child in Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Notice the timing here. Joseph had already determined to be kind to Mary, and then God told Joseph that Mary had not betrayed him sexually.  In fact, she was blessed by God. Joseph learned further that he should take Mary as his wife without fear, because Mary would bear a Son who would save His people from their sins. Joseph did just as God commanded him and married Mary, keeping her a virgin until some time after the birth of Jesus. 11Matthew 1:24-25.

Joseph had great spiritual qualities:

1.  Sexual Self Control.  Joseph controlled his sexual desires and never had sex with Mary until after he married Mary and after Jesus was born.

2. Righteousness and Protection from Disgrace. Joseph followed the path of righteousness and did not want to disgrace Mary for her pregnancy outside of marriage.

3. Grace. Joseph displayed the grace of God to Mary, even when he thought she had betrayed him sexually by having sex with another man, resulting in her pregnancy, even though she was engaged to him. 

4. Faith. Joseph had great faith that God told him the truth that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit, and not another man. No virgin had ever given birth to God before, and Joseph had to have great faith to believe this fantastic event.

5. Obedience. Joseph obeyed God by trying to keep the Law of Moses, and taking Mary as his wife after God commanded him to marry her

Jesus Presented in the Temple

Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus to the temple to fulfill the requirements of the Law of Moses.  Every firstborn male child belonged to the LORD, and the parents must redeem him by offering a sacrifice for their son. 12Exodus 13:1-16. God explained that every firstborn belongs to Him, and the firstborn of the animals are sacrificed, but the firstborn male children are redeemed by offering a sacrifice. The sacrifice reminded people that God used His mighty hand to deliver the people of Israel from Pharaoh by killing the firstborn males of Egypt, both of animals and humans. Therefore, Joseph and Mary had to make a sacrifice for their Son in the temple in Jerusalem.

And when the days for their purification according to the Law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD’), and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, ‘A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.’

Luke 2:22-24

So, we see that Joseph and Mary followed the Law and offered a sacrifice of a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons to redeem Jesus just as the Law of Moses required. Notice that Joseph still treated the boy as his own child and made the sacrifice.  Also notice that the sacrifice consisted here of birds, apparently indicating that Joseph and Mary could not afford a lamb or other animal. 13Leviticus 5:1-10. 

The Spiritual Life of Simeon

Simeon lived in Jerusalem and had wonderful spiritual qualities. He had received a revelation from God, and had faith that God would fulfill that revelation in his lifetime.

And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

Luke 2:25

God described Simeon as “righteous” 14Luke uses the Greek term “righteous” (“δίκαιος”) in several ways. It means upright and keeping the commands of God (Luke 1:6, speaking of Zacharias and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist). The term also includes an attitude of turning away from disobedience to God, and embracing God’s will, as “people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). Jesus also used the term to speak of the “righteous” who falsely believed they did not need repentance preached by Jesus (Luke 5:32; Luke 15:7), but trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt (Luke 18:9). Some people even pretended to be “righteous,” and acted like spies trying to catch Jesus in some statement so that Jesus could be prosecuted before the evil religious authorities (Luke 20:20). Luke, writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, also described Joseph of Arimathea as a “good” (“ἀγαθὸς”) and righteous (“δίκαιος”) man, waiting for the kingdom of God (Luke 23:50). The term also includes staying in right relationship with God, by being obedient to God’s will for your life. Righteousness comes only from God and enters our lives by the power of God crediting it to our lives by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8-9) so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Peter 2:24). and “devout.” 15The Greek term “devout” (“εὐλαβής”) means the quality of someone committed to following the commands of God, as part of a person’s spiritual reputation (Acts 22:12. As part of his spiritual life, Simeon was looking for the “consolation” 16The Greek term for “consolation” (“παράκλησιν”) here points to the Messiah, Who brings comfort and consoles Israel. In Luke 6:20-24, Jesus preached on the Beatitudes. In Luke 6:24, Jesus used the same word to describe the “comfort” given to the rich people on earth during their lifetime. In contrast to the earthly “comfort” for the rich, Jesus pronounced eternal blessings upon “the poor” who now suffer hunger and weeping, ostracizing, insulting, and all kinds of evil for the sake of the Son of Man. Luke used a related word for “comfort” (“παρακλήσει”) in Acts 9:31, to describe the work of the Holy Spirit in providing “comfort” to the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria.  In John 14:16, Jesus promised that the Father would give the believers “another Helper, that He may be with you forever.” In John 14:16, Jesus used the precise words “another Helper” (“ἄλλον παράκλητον”). Jesus made two important points there. First, Jesus was a “Helper” (“παράκλητον”) sent from the Father, and Jesus was returning to heaven. Therefore, the Father would send another “Helper” of the same kind (“ἄλλον”) as Jesus. In other words, John informed us that the Holy Spirit would be divine just like Jesus, and would perform a similar ministry of “help” to believers. Of course, Jesus had already prophesied that His disciples would do greater works than He performed, because He was going to His Father in heaven (John 14:12).  of Israel. Notice, too, that the Holy Spirit was upon Simeon. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon people so that they could prophesy. 17In many instances, the Spirit of God moved men to speak for God –2 Peter 1: 20-21. The background suggests that the Spirit of God empowered a human to speak for the theocratic kingdom. The Spirit also provided great skill for crafting items. 18Exodus 35:30-35–The LORD filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, in understanding, and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship, to make designs for working in gold and in silver and in bronze, and in cutting of stone for settings and in the carving of wood, so as to perform in every inventive work. God also gave to both Bezalel and Oholiab to learn from God the skill to perform every work of an engraver and of a designer and of an embroiderer, in blue and in purple, and in scarlet material, and in fine linen, and of a weaver, as performers of every work and makers of designs. Also, other people had received skills of craftsmanship from God to work on the tabernacle and its contents (Exodus 36:2).The Spirit also helped with understanding to judge the nation of Israel, 19The Holy Spirit came upon the seventy elders selected by Moses to help with judging the people of Israel, and the elders even prophesied once (Numbers 11:17-26). power to  deliver Israel from oppression, 20Othniel delivered Israel from Cushan-Rishathaim (Judges 3:10); Gideon, Judges 6:34; Jephthah, Judges 11:29; Samson (in one case, when the Spirit came upon Samson, he grabbed a young lion charging at him with his bare hands and ripped him apart as a man rips a young goat (Judges 14:6; see also Judges 14:19; Judges 15:14. and strength to do many other tasks.

With Simeon, we see “the Holy Spirit was upon Him.” 21The Greek phrase here “the Holy Spirit was upon him” (“καὶ πνεῦμα ἦν ἅγιον ἐπ’ αὐτόν”) emphasizes that God the Holy Spirit had a particular purpose in mind for Simeon. As the Holy Spirit empowered Simeon and revealed the spiritual significance of the child before him, we see the Old Testament type of ministry of the Holy Spirit coming upon a person for a particular event.  In this case, as we will see, Simeon will be moved by the Holy Spirit to be at the right place to fulfill the prophesy concerning the Christ appearing. God first points out that God had revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that Simeon would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. This verse again highlights that one great ministry of the Holy Spirit concerns the revelation of the future, which was known as prophecy. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would reveal the future to someone filled with the Holy Spirit. Simeon had received a specific prophecy from God that he would not die before he saw the Lord’s Christ. God used the Old Testament prophets to speak for Him and they were to utter His exact words, and not leave out even one of those words. 22Compare Jeremiah 26:2 “Do not omit a word!” (“אַל-תִּגְרַע, דָּבָר”). This concept of “verbal inspiration” undergirds the entire Bible, so that the authors wrote the words of God, not just the thoughts of God. 23See 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21.  

The word “Christ” here means “anointed” and so the phrase means the “the Lord’s anointed.” In Exodus 40:15, the LORD decreed that the anointing of Aaron and his sons shall “qualify them for a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations.” Notice also that after Samuel anointed him king, the Spirit of the LORD came upon David mightily from that day forward, and the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from God terrorized him (1 Samuel 16:1-23). As a side note on anointing, not only were the priests and the articles of the sacrificial system anointed, but God anointed Jehu for the explicit purpose of destroying the house of Ahab (2 Chronicles 22:7). We also see the “anointed” cherub, probably a reference to satan before his sinful fall (Ezekiel 28:14).

In the New Testament, we see various uses of the root word “anoint.”

Jesus Was “Anointed”

(a) Anointed for Preaching.  The Spirit of the LORD God (” רוּחַ אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה, עָלָי”) was upon Jesus, as a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the One “anointed” (“מָשַׁח ) by the LORD Who “anointed” (“ἔχρισέν”) Jesus  “to preach the Gospel to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD.” (Isaiah 61:1-2a; Luke 4:18-19);

(b) Anointed with Power God anointed (“ἔχρισεν” aorist indicative of totality and completion) Jesus “with the Holy Spirit and with power (“δυνάμει”).  Jesus also “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38; compare Acts 4:27); 

(c) Anointed with the Oil of Gladness. God “anointed” (“ἔχρισέν”) Jesus with the oil of gladness above His companions (Hebrews 1:9; compare Psalm 45:7), referring to the love of Jesus for righteousness and his hatred of lawlessness).

 God also Anointed Believers:

(a) Jesus Anointed a Blind Man with Mud for Healing. Jesus anointed (“ἐπέχρισέν”) the eyes of the blind man with mud so, after washing in the pool of Siloam, he would see (John 9:11; compare John 9:6, Jesus “applied” (“ἐπέχρισεν”) the mud);

(b) God Anointed Believers with the Holy Spirit. God has anointed (“χρίσας” aorist participle) believers, has sealed believers, and has given them the Holy Spirit as a pledge (2 Corinthians 1:21-22);

(c) The Holy One Has Placed an Anointing upon Believers. Believers have an anointing (“χρῖσμα”) from the Holy One, and they all know (“οἴδατε”)  (1 John 2:20). This “anointing” (“χρῖσμα”) teaches believers about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and it teaches believers to abide in Christ (1 John 2:27).

Humans Anointed Jesus:

(a) Mary Anointed Jesus for Burial. At Bethany, shortly before Jesus was crucified, Mary came and anointed (“ἤλειψεν”) His body with pure nard (“μύρου νάρδου”) for burial (John 12:3; John 11:2).

(b) The Sinful Woman Anointed the Feet of Jesus. In Simon the Pharisee’s house, a notoriously sinful woman anointed (“ἤλειψεν”) the feet of Jesus with perfume (“μύρῳ”) (Luke 7:46; compare Luke 7:38 (“anointing” (“ἤλειφεν”) with myrrh).

(c) Mary, Martha and Salome Sought To Anoint the Body of Jesus. After Jesus died, Mary, Martha and Salome went to the tomb of Jesus that they might anoint (“ἀλείψωσιν”) Him for burial, but Jesus already had been resurrected, so His body was not in the tomb (Mark 16:1).

God Provides for Human Anointing:

(a)  Eye Salve. God also sells eye salve to believers, to anoint (“ἐγχρῖσαι”) their eyes that they may see beyond their deceptions of sin (Revelation 3:18.)

(b)The Twelve Disciples Anointed Sick People with OilThe twelve disciples, on their first missionary journey, were anointing 24“ἤλειφον”–notice the continuous action of the imperfect tense many sick people and healing them (Mark 6:13; compare James 5:14, where the elders perform the ministry of “anointing” (“ἀλείψαντες”) with oil in the name of Jesus for healing of sickness (“ἀσθενεῖ “). As Jesus prepared His disciples for His return to heaven, He began to teach them about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus intended for His disciples to do greater works than He had done, because He was ascending to the Father and sending the Holy Spirit to empower believers. Jesus intended His ministry of love to continue during the acceptable year of the LORD, thus fulfilling in a broader sense God’s plan to share His loving message of salvation to all the world.

The Birth of Christ and the Death of Simeon 

At the time of Simeon, the Holy Spirit had made a special spiritual revelation to Simeon in two parts. First, Simeon learned that he himself would see the Messiah. Second, Messiah would be born during Simeon’s lifetime. The difference is that everyone believed that they would see Messiah after they died, 25Ponder Martha’s statements about the resurrection and the reply and wonderful proclamation of Jesus in John 11:23-27. but Simeon knew from the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had first seen the Messiah in the flesh. We see, therefore, this ministry of the Holy Spirit where He makes specific revelations to a particular person of some future event. In this case with Simeon, we see the Holy Spirit specifying the time of Christ’s appearance to Simeon and Christ’s presentation as a baby to God in the Temple and to all Israel as its Divine King, God in the flesh.

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.

Luke 2:26

Like a seed putting forth its shoots, so Simeon saw the baby Jesus beginning life in human flesh. Of course, Jesus had many years of life in the flesh before Him, but Jesus always followed a divine plan. Even after His death, Jesus intended His disciples to continue His ministry after His resurrection. Jesus promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit would empower them to be witnesses of Jesus Christ all over the world. After His bodily resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and commanded them to wait until they received power when the Holy Spirit had come upon them. 26Acts 1:8. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came as promised upon the disciples, and all of Christianity changed at that moment. The indwelling power of the Holy Spirit had come into the church. 27Do not misunderstand, the church actually began at Pentecost, with the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the believers (Acts 2:1-13), just as Jesus had promised that He would build His church (Matthew 16:18), and, in the power of the Holy Spirit, His disciples would be His witnesses in all the world (Acts 1:8). As we read through the New Testament, we see several transitions in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Some of the important changes in the ministry of the Holy Spirit include:

(a) Jesus Baptizes Believers in the Holy Spirit. Jesus baptizes believers in the Holy Spirit (“ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ”) (John 1:33).

(b) The Holy Spirit Comes To Live in Believers. The Holy Spirit will be in believers (“ἐν ὑμῖν ἔσται”), not just with believers (“παρ’ ὑμῖν μένει”) (John 14:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19).

(c) Command: Be Filled with The Holy Spirit. God commands believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit (“πληροῦσθε ἐν πνεύματι”) (Ephesians 5:18).

(d) Command: Walk in the Holy Spirit. God commands believers to walk in the Holy Spirit (“walk” (“περιπατεῖτε”) in Galatians 5:16, means to carry out all of life’s activities in the power of the Holy Spirit; “walk” (“στοιχῶμεν”) in Galatians 5:25, means to march in orderly rank with other believers).

(e) Command: Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit. God commands believers not to grieve the Holy Spirit (“μὴ λυπεῖτε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον τοῦ θεοῦ”) who lives within them (Ephesians 4:30).

(f) Command: Do Not Quench the Holy Spirit.  God commands believers not to quench the Holy Spirit (“τὸ πνεῦμα μὴ σβέννυτε”) (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

(g) God Has Sealed Believers with the Holy Spirit.  God has sealed (“ἐσφραγίσθητε”) believers with the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30; compare Ephesians 1:13: you have been sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit (“ἐσφραγίσθητε τῷ πνεύματι τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τῷ ἁγίῳ,”)

(h)  The Holy Spirit Is the Believer’s Pledge of Inheritance.  The Holy Spirit within the believer is a pledge from God of the believer’s inheritance and serves as a reminder of redemption (Ephesians 1:14).

(i) The Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit bestows upon each believer a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good, distributing His spiritual gifts among believers just as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:1-7). In fact, if a person does not have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, then that person is not a believer at all. (Romans 8:9). The story of Simeon truly illustrates the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and provides a wonderful transition in itself to the new presence of Jesus Christ in human flesh.

Simeon Came in the Spirit into the Temple 

Simeon came into the temple by the power of the Holy Spirit. As believers, we can rely upon the Holy Spirit to lead us to the right place at the right time. He sets up divine appointments. 

And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law,

Luke 2:27

Recently, I dropped my father off at his house after spending some time visiting with him. I then drove to Bicentennial Park to hang out for the Lord Jesus at the beach. Just as I arrived, I saw my brother in Christ sitting on his blue Harley Davidson motorcycle, with all its chrome sparkling. He had his phone in his hand, and was texting away. In turns out that he was texting me to see when I would be coming to the beach. He had not pressed the “send” button, but he was about ready to. We met by the Holy Spirit drawing us together, at just the right time, to read the Word of God together, and pray together. We had a great time at the beach that day. The Holy Spirit worked to bring us together at just the right time. So Simeon was in the temple, ready to meet the Lord Jesus.

As we have seen above, Joseph and Mary were righteous believers. They brought Jesus to the temple to carry out for Him the custom of the Law. We know that those customs involved presenting the baby boy to God and redeeming Him with a sacrifice. God used the custom of the Law to bring Mary and Joseph into contact with Simeon, who could not wait to hold the baby Jesus in his arms.

Simeon Took Jesus in his Arms and Blessed God

Simeon took Jesus in His arms. 28The Greek term for “took” (“ἐδέξατο”) means either to receive or to take. In this case, both meanings seem to apply. Joseph and Mary probably offered the baby Jesus to Simeon, and Simeon received the baby Jesus into his arms by mutual agreement. In this moment, we see a beautiful picture of believers receiving Christ with great joy. Simeon knew the significance of baby Jesus, and would immediately prophesy concerning the child. But for Simeon personally, holding the baby Jesus was a fulfillment of the Holy Spirit’s personal promise to him, that he would not die before he saw the Messiah in the flesh. Some moments in our lives truly bring home the promises of God to us. With Simeon, we do not know how long he lived looking forward to seeing Jesus, but in that moment in the temple, he recognized the baby Jesus and held Him in his arms. 29You may also recall John the Baptist saying that he would not have recognized Jesus, except that the Holy Spirit came down and alighted upon Jesus (John 1:33-34). In some way, God had revealed to Simeon that he was now looking at God the Son in the flesh, and so the prophecy was fulfilled. 

then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,

Luke 2:28

Notice that Simeon blessed God while holding the baby Jesus. 30Of course, Jesus is God in the flesh. But here, the blessing by Simeon amounted to praise and worship of God. Compare the Lord Jesus taking (“ἐναγκαλισάμενος”) children in his arms and blessing them (Mark 10:16). In the Old Testament, God used people and angels to bless people, and of course, God Himself provided direct blessings to His people. Some of the blessing from God include:

1. Wealth. In Genesis 24:35, we see that God has blessed believers with wealth (“בֵּרַךְ”) (Genesis 24:35).

2. Prosperity as First Born Son. Jacob deceived his father Isaac to bless him with wealth, descendants, mastery of his brothers, curses upon his enemies and blessings upon those who bless him (Genesis 27:18-29).

3. Jacob Blessed the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Before Jacob died, he blessed the twelve tribes of Israel with a blessing appropriate to each one of them (Genesis 49:1-28).

4. Blessing following Servitude. Some Hebrews were sold to other Hebrews because they were poor. After six years, the master would release the slave, and send the slave forth furnished liberally (“הַעֲנֵיק תַּעֲנִיק”) from the flock, from the threshing floor, from the wine vat, and the master must give to him as the LORD God has blessed the master (” בֵּרַכְךָ”). I really like this verse as a picture of the new creature in Christ emerging from slavery to satan and the world, blessed with liberality by God in all things (2 Corinthians 5:17; Hebrews 2:14-15; Ephesians 1:3-14).

5. The LORD Blessed Samson. Manoah had a son named Samson. The LORD directed the parents of Samson to treat him as a Nazarite (Numbers 6:1-27), even while in the womb of his mother, so that she would not eat or drink anything from the vine (Judges 13:4). In the case of Samson, the blessing bestowed upon him was physical strength provided by the Holy Spirit empowering him (Judges 14:6 (the lion torn); Judges 14:19 (the thirty Philistines killed); Judges 15:14 (the ropes binding him smoked, and he killed 3,000 Philistines); compare the final prayer of Samson to pull down the house of the Philistines, causing a great slaughter (Judges 16:28-31).

In the case of Simeon, he blessed God. Consider the following examples of people who blessed God in the Old Testament.

1. David Blessed God for God’s Attributes and Actions. In Psalm 63, David declared that his lips would praise (“יְשַׁבְּחוּנְךָ”) God because David had seen the power, glory and lovingkindness of God. So David determined to bless (” אֲבָרֶכְך”) God as long as he lived, by lifting up his hands and his mouth offering praises with joyful lips and remembering God at night and singing for joy (Psalm 63:1-7). David exemplifies the person who blesses God with joyful lips, hands raised, and offering praise to God for His power, glory, lovingkindness and faithful keeping of His word.

2. David Blessed God with Detailed Instructions. In the well-known Psalm 103, David provided very clear examples of what he meant by blessing God. He repeated the phrase “Bless the Lord, O my soul” (“בָּרְכִי נַפְשִׁי, אֶת-יְהוָה”). David recounted the benefits the LORD had bestowed upon him, and then praised the attributes of the LORD. He looked back to Moses and forward to eternity. He lauded the LORD for being full of compassion, graciousness, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. The LORD has not dealt with those who fear Him according to their sins, but has mercy as great as the heaven is high above the earth. David goes on and on about why his soul must bless God. We would do well to follow David’s example of blessing God all the time.

3. Daniel Blessed God. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, but no one could tell it or interpret it. The king was enraged, and commanded all his spiritual counselors to be put to death, including Daniel and his friends. God graciously revealed the dream and its interpretation to Daniel, and Daniel proclaimed blessings upon God. Daniel commanded that the name of God be blessed (” מְבָרַךְ”–notice the pael participle, indicating here, by the use of the passive, that everyone should continually bless the name of God for all eternity) forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. (Daniel 2:20).]]

The Prayer and Prophecy of Simeon

Simeon prayed and prophesied while holding the baby Jesus in his arms. In the prophecy, Simeon declared the faithfulness of God, the salvation provided by God, the revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel.  We will look briefly at each element in the prophecy.

Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word.

Luke 2:29

Simeon the Bond-Servant of God.  Simeon had a personal relationship with God and considered himself a “bond-servant” of the Lord. 31The Greek term for “bond-servant” (“δοῦλόν”) means a slave, or one who has willingly taken the role of a slave. As the master of a bond-servant, the Lord was now releasing Simeon from further service. Simeon also used an unusual word for “Lord,” signifying the Lord’s place as master of the slave Simeon. 32The Greek term here for “Lord” (“δέσποτα”) designates a master holding sway over the slave (Titus 2:9ff.; 1 Peter 2:18; 1 Timothy 6:1-2.) Of course, the term can also describe the Lord God as master (2 Timothy 2:21; Jude 1:4), even the master of unbelievers (2 Peter 2:1). 

Simeon Departing in Peace. Simeon also prophesied that he would now depart in peace. Until that moment when he held the baby Jesus, Simeon had been living under the expectation of the prophecy. He would not die until he saw the Messiah, and now, right in the moment, the prophecy had come true. Simeon was holding the baby Jesus. The concept of peace in Messiah illustrated how Jesus will always be the Prince of Peace, 33Isaiah 9:6. and His presence brings peace to all those with whom God is pleased 34Luke 2:14).. Where Jesus goes, some people receive Him as Savior, and peace unlike any other comes into their lives. 35John 14:27; Philippians 4:7, 10. 

Simeon and the Word of God. Simeon also understood that his personal life, and seeing the baby Jesus, were all part of the fulfillment of the Word of God. In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, Jesus Christ. 36Galatians 4:4. We should all learn a lesson from Simeon about the Word of God. God uses our lives to fulfill the prophecies that He has already made. God prophesied that Jesus would be a light to the Gentiles, and so we are as Gentile believers. But, as Gentile believers, we should be fulfilling the command of the great commission, to go into all the world and make disciples for Jesus Christ. 37Matthew 28:19-20. 

For my eyes have seen Your salvation,

Luke 2:30

The Spiritual Eyes of Simeon. Just as we have seen that the name “Jesus” speaks of salvation, so Simeon understood that his eyes were beholding the salvation of God. The baby Jesus was the salvation sent from God. Only the baby Jesus was the Savior of the world, and Simeon knew it. I truly love the way the Lord God reveals His plans and purposes to men through His bond-servants like Simeon. His servants proclaim the salvation of God in the divine Person of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. Simeon had eyes that saw the fulfillment of the Word of God, just as God had promised.

Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

Luke 2:31

Simeon Saw Salvation in Jesus. Simeon prophesied about three topics in this verse. (1) God prepared salvation in the presence of all the peoples. Therefore, we understand that Jesus came into the world to be a public Savior, not one hidden away. God planned for Jesus to be the worldwide Savior of all men. (2) Jesus is the light of salvation to the Gentiles. As a Gentile, I am always happy to know that God loves me, a Gentile, and sent a Jewish Savior, Jesus of Nazareth, to be my Savior. 38You may recall that Jesus ministered extensively in Galilee, and was raised in Nazareth (Matthew 2:23), and used Capernaum as his base for ministry in the region. (Matthew 4:13). (3) Jesus is the glory of God’s people, Israel. Jesus was and will always be a Jewish Savior. God chose the Jews to be His special possession. We see that God uses the salvation of the Gentiles to make the unbelieving remnant of Israel jealous of the Gentiles’ salvation. 39Romans 9-11. In all the world, only Jesus can save Jews and Gentiles, and without faith in Christ alone, no one will be saved. 40Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Romans 1:16.

A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, and the glory of Your people Israel.

Luke 2:32

Simeon Saw Revelation and Glory in JesusSimeon explicitly revealed two ethnic aspects of the appearance of God the Son in human flesh. (1) Simeon saw the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-2, where God proclaimed that the Gentiles who walk in darkness will see a great light and the light will shine on them. Jesus fulfilled this prophecy by being the light that comes into the world and enlightens every man. 41John 1:9. The prophecies proclaimed centuries before come to fulfillment in the perfect timing of God and His plan. (2) Simeon witnessed the glory of God’s people Israel. In Jesus, Simeon comprehended that the glory of God had appeared in bodily form and was now living among men. (John 1:1, 14).

and His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him.   

Luke 2:33

Joseph and Mary Amazed at the Prophecy of Simeon. The prophecy of Simeon about baby Jesus amazed Joseph and Mary. I can easily imagine that Simeon’s wonderful words about the baby Jesus and how Simeon would now depart in peace would have a dramatic effect upon the parents. What would you think if you heard such a prophecy?

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed–‘

Luke 2:34

Simeon Blessed Joseph and Mary. After offering His prayer mixed with prophecy, Simeon then offered his blessing upon Mary and Joseph. We have seen above how the blessing amounted to prayer for God’s favor upon Joseph and Mary. As they were amazed at the prayer and prophetic words of Simeon, he then turned his attention directly to Mary.

Jesus Appointed for the Fall and Rise of Many in Israel. Simeon prophesied that Jesus was appointed 42The Greek term for “appointed” (“κεῖται”) was used of an axe laid at root of the trees (Matthew 3:10; Luke 3:9) and of a veil which lies over the heart of the Jews listening to Moses being read in the synagogue. Metaphorically, the word means to be placed in a certain place, as you swing an axe at the specific target. In this case, God will use Jesus for the rise and fall of many in Israel. for the fall 43The Greek word for fall (“πτῶσιν”) speaks of evil sinners falling into destruction. of many in Israel. In Matthew 7:27,  we read that Jesus preached that everyone who heard His words, but did not act on them, was like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. When the rain came with floods, the house fell–“and great was its fall.” This image of a foolish man building upon sand perfectly captures the fulfillment of the prophecy of Simeon. Many in Israel will hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but will not act upon His message. The fall of those people who heard but did not act will surely be great. So, we learn, as Isaiah prophesied, that many will not believe the message concerning the arrival of Messiah. 44Isaiah 53:1, page 1154; Romans 10:16). Simeon also prophesied concerning the “rise” of many in Israel. 45The Greek term “rise” (“ἀνάστασιν”) often means resurrection (e.g., Luke 20:27), but here it means to rise in the sense of standing up as opposed to falling down. Again, Jesus preached that everyone who hears His words and acts on them will be like the wise man who builds his house on the rock. His house will never fall, because it rises from the rock (Matthew 7:24-25). Also, this same word describes Peter’s mother-in-law as she rose from her sickbed after Jesus healed her. We see, therefore, that Jesus would cause some people to rise, while others would fall down. Jesus brought a great message of love, light and salvation, and gave His life a ransom from many, 46Matthew 20:28. and rose again because of their justification. 47Romans 4:25. He alone walked among men as God, and as God, gave His life that we might stand and live in Him for eternity. What a wonderful Savior!

Jesus: a Sign To Be OpposedSimeon also prophesied that Jesus would be a sign to be opposed. 48The Greek term for “opposed” (“ἀντιλεγόμενον”) means to reject, speak against, and to stand against. Literally, the word means spoken against, or an anti-word. So, we may glean that just as the Jews before Pilate charged Jesus with opposing Caesar, so also the Jews actually opposed Jesus as their God and King (John 19:12). Compare Acts 28:22, where Paul was under arrest in Rome, but called together the leading men of the Jews to hear the Gospel. Those men told Paul they wanted to hear from him directly, because they had heard that his “sect” was spoken against (“ἀντιλέγεται”) everywhere. Please recall that Jesus took flesh at the time that the Jews were living under the domination of Rome. They longed for their Messiah Whom they believed would come in great power and establish His absolute, righteous dominion over all the world. Only prophets like Simeon sounded the alarm that Messiah not only would be a light of salvation and the glory of Israel, but He would also be opposed, and many would fall because of Him. Those Jews generally had no concept that Messiah must first die, then be buried, then resurrected, and taken up into glory, before He would later return in glory to reign. Remember the words of Jesus on the road to Emmaus: “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter His glory?” 49Luke 24:26. Simeon also spoke of Jesus as a sign. 50The Greek term “sign” (“σημεῖον”) means to be a guide for identification (Luke 2:12–the shepherds were to use the sign of the baby lying in a manger, wrapped in cloths). Likewise, the disciples of Jesus sought a sign of the future events, including the return of Jesus to earth to establish His reign (Luke 21:7). Even King Herod hoped to see Jesus perform a sign, because the King had heard that Jesus had done many miraculous things (Luke 23:8). Finally, remember that the crowds said that when the Christ comes, He would not perform more signs than Jesus performed (John 7:31). Jesus called His generation “wicked,” and told them that although they sought a sign from Him, no sign would given to them, except that He would be a sign to them as Jonah (Jonah Study) was a sign to the Ninevites. 51Luke 11:30. If you read the story of Jonah, you will see that Nineveh was a very wicked city, and Jonah wanted them to perish eternally. Jonah feared if he preached the Gospel to them, the city would repent and not perish. God sent Jonah to Nineveh because Jesus always seeks the lost so that they may receive His salvation as a free gift by faith alone. Through the reluctant preaching of Jonah (Jonah Study), the people of Nineveh repented of their sins and found salvation, in contrast to the Jews of Jerusalem who opposed the preaching of Jesus, and ultimately crucified Him. Jesus came to His own, and His own did not receive Him (John 1:11. Therefore, we understand that the term “opposed” means here that the Jewish generation of Jesus witnessed His signs, but generally opposed Jesus and rejected Him as their Messiah. Yet, God’s plan of salvation came to perfect fulfillment in the life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, all according to the Word of God. 521 Corinthians 15:1-4.

As Jesus drew near the day of the cross, He declared that He had fulfilled the work that His Father had given Him to do, 53John 17:4. and from His cross Jesus exclaimed immediately before He gave up His spirit an died: “It is finished.” 54John 19:30. The opposition of the Jews to Jesus never derailed the plans of Jesus, nor did God permanently give up on the Jews, and God never fails to fulfill all the promises to the Jews as a nation. Israel still holds its place as God’s chosen people, and in the future, Jesus will return to rule Israel from His throne in Jerusalem, 552 Samuel 7:12-16–Nathan the prophet of God declared to David that his throne would be established forever. Jesus, as both the lineal, fleshly descendant of David and the Lord of King David (Matthew 22:41-46) will sit upon that throne in the millennial kingdom. and He will be king over all the earth, and His name will be the only name in the whole earth. 56Zechariah 14:9; Romans chapters 9 through 11 explain in detail the plan of God for the restoration of the Jews to the land of Israel after the fullness of the Gentiles comes to completion.

and a sword will pierce even your own soul–to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.

Luke 2:35

Simeon: The Sword Will Pierce Your Own Soul. Simeon continued his prophecy directly to Mary. Simeon spoke of a sword. The Greek term here for “sword” (“ῥομφαία”) falls into several categories.

The New Testament Use of the Word Sword  (“ῥομφαία”)

1. The Sword from the Mouth of Jesus the King. In the Book of Revelation, a sharp, two-edged sword proceeds from the mouth of Jesus. 

The Sword of Jesus. In Revelation 1:16, a sharp, two-edged sword came out of the mouth of Jesus. At this first description, we get our first view of the sword in Revelation. We see that sword in action when Jesus strikes down the nations at His second coming (Revelation 19:15; 19:21).

The Sword at Pergamum.  In Revelation 2:12, the One with the sharp two-edged sword pronounced judgment upon the earth. We know from the other uses of the term “two-edged sword” in the Book of Revelation that the sword proceeds from the mouth of Jesus. In His message to Pergamum, Jesus declared He would use that sword (“ῥομφαίᾳ”) to make war with those at Pergamum who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 

2. The Sword of Death and Hades. In Revelation 6:8, Jesus broke the fourth seal and an ashen horse, ridden by Death, with Hades following him, went forth to kill a fourth of the earth with the sword  (“ῥομφαίᾳ”) and famine, pestilence, and wild beasts.

3. The Sword that Pierced Mary’s Soul. With Mary, we see that the sword  (“ῥομφαίᾳ”) penetrates her soul. This use of the sword differs from the physical use of the sword (“ῥομφαίᾳ”) described elsewhere. Because of its association as proceeding exclusively from the mouth of Jesus as He inflicts destruction upon the wicked, that use does not fit well with Mary. We must understand that Mary would suffer in her soul (“τὴν ψυχὴν”) because of Jesus. One instance in the life of Mary also requires attention. Early in the public ministry of Jesus, some of Jesus’ “own people” (“οἱ παρ’ αὐτοῦ”) came to take custody of Him, because they had heard he had lost his senses (“ἐξέστη”). Perhaps Mary shared that concern. If Mark 3:31, (notice the term “arrived”) links Mary and the brothers of Jesus to “His own people” who believed He lost his senses, then Mary had a problem because she was in effect interfering with the life and ministry of Jesus. This view finds further support in the statement of Jesus that only those people who do the will of God the Father are truly the mothers and brothers of Jesus. It must have been very penetrating to Mary to hear her beloved Son, Jesus, telling the entire crowd that she was not truly His mother, and implied that she was not doing the will of God. This spiritual use of the sword (“ῥομφαίᾳ”) does parallel the use of the sword by Jesus later in Revelation, although Mary was not destined for destruction. Also, please note that his brothers were unbelievers at this point in the life of Jesus (John 7:5), but along with Mary, became believers, (Acts 1:14.) That sword will pierce 57The Greek term “will pierce” (“διελεύσεται”) means to travel through, to go through, to penetrate through. The term only occurs here in the New Testament. through the soul 58The Greek term here is soul (“ψυχὴν”). of Mary. Notice that in the English translators separated the clause “and a sword will pierce even your own soul.” The Holy Spirit, writing through Luke, indicated here that because of Jesus, Mary would suffer greatly, like a sword penetrating through her. Mary loved Jesus, and seeing Him beaten and crucified must certainly have fulfilled that prophecy to Mary.

       Notice that after Simeon concluded his short statement about the sword piercing the soul of Mary, he returned to his prophecy of Jesus as a sign to be opposed. Simeon prophesied that people all over Israel would oppose Jesus, while claiming to love God. Yet, when the people of Israel rejected Jesus, they fulfilled Simeon’s prophecy that Jesus would be a sign to be opposed to the end that “thoughts,” from many hearts may be revealed. The Greek term here for “thoughts” (“διαλογισμοί”) has several meanings in the New Testament.

Jesus and the Thoughts of Men

Jesus and the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus perceived in His spirit that the scribes and Pharisees hated Him and His works. The word “reasoning” and its various forms all speak to the evil thoughts and intentions of the Pharisees and scribes as they listened and watched Jesus work. Very often, these “reasonings” spring from the heart of man as a form of evil.  The root word for “reasoning” appears virtually every time in the New Testament as a negative aspect of the heart’s activity.

   The Paralytic Forgiven (Mark 2:6).  Jesus revealed the “reasoning in the hearts” (“διαλογιζόμενοι ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις”) of the scribes. Jesus perceived that within themselves, the scribes were accusing Him of blasphemy for pronouncing the sins of the paralytic forgiven (see also Luke 5:21). Jesus was aware (“ἐπιγνοὺς”) in His spirit (“τῷ πνεύματι αὐτοῦ”) that they were “reasoning” (“διαλογίζονται”) within themselves (Mark 2:8).

   The Withered Hand Healed (Luke 6:8).  Jesus knew (“ᾔδει”) the “thinking” (“διαλογισμοὺς”) of the scribes and Pharisees as they were looking for a reason to accuse Him. In response, Jesus healed the man with the withered hand. The miracle of healing only provoked the Pharisees and the scribes to rage, and they then discussed among themselves (“διελάλουν πρὸς ἀλλήλους”) how to destroy Jesus.

Jesus and His Disciples. Jesus also demonstrated His divinity by reading the thoughts of His disciples. Please recall that not only the Word of God judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12), but every creature and all things are laid bare before the eyes of God (Hebrews 4:13).

    The Disciples with No Bread (Matthew 16:8). Jesus observed that His disciples were “discussing” (“διαλογίζεσθε”) among themselves that they had no bread. Jesus reproved them for their little faith (Mark 8:17, indicating that their “discussion” arose from a hardened heart, and that they lacked eyes to see).

     The Evil Thoughts of Men (Matthew 15:19).  Jesus explained that out of the heart come “evil thoughts” (“διαλογισμοὶ πονηροί”), murders, adulteries, etc. Notice that the thoughts here do not proceed out of the mind, but out of the heart (see also Mark 7:21). Compare Hebrews 4:2, where merely hearing the good news preached to you will do you no good unless it is united by faith (“συγκεκερασμένους τῇ πίστει”), so that you may enter the rest provided by God alone. Romans 10:10, provides proof that with the heart (“καρδίᾳ”) a person believes (“πιστεύεται”), resulting in righteousness (“δικαιοσύνην”) (compare Romans 10:9). Faith resides in the heart of man.

             The Doubting Disciples (Luke 24:38). After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples, and they were startled and frightened, and thought (“ἐδόκουν”) they were seeing a spirit. Jesus asked them why they were troubled (“τεταραγμένοι ἐστέ”), and why did doubts (“διαλογισμοὶ”) arise in their hearts.

             The Disputing Disciples (Luke 9:46-48). Shortly after the transfiguration of Jesus, His disciples began arguing among themselves regarding which of them might be the greatest. Jesus, knowing (“εἰδὼς”) what they were thinking in their hearts (“τὸν διαλογισμὸν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν”), taught that they must receive children in His name, and so the least among them would be greatest.

Paul and Reasoning.

    Paul: Avoid Dissensions while Uniting in Prayer (1 Timothy 2:8)Paul used the term “dissension” (“διαλογισμοῦ”) to warn believers to avoid fighting, arguing, and dividing when they unite for prayer.

     Paul: The Reasonings of the Wise Are Useless (1 Corinthians 3:20). Paul observed that the Lord knows (“γινώσκει”) that the reasonings of the wise (“τοὺς διαλογισμοὺς τῶν σοφῶν”) are “useless” (“μάταιοι.”). See also Psalm 94:11).

     Paul: Mature Believers Must Not Accept Immature Believers Solely To Pass Judgement upon Their Opinions (Romans 14:1).  Paul used the term “opinions” (“διαλογισμῶν”) to describe the views of the weak in faith. As we can see from other passages, the usual translation of the Greek term amounts to reasonings or thoughts. In this case, Paul described the weak in faith as having “opinions.” As new believers weak in faith, those people had their own views about diet, days, and duty. Paul warned other believers to give the weak believers some patience and leave the judgment to God and His Word.

       Paul: Believers Must Do All Things without Disputing (Philippians 2:14)Paul taught the Philippians that they live all the time and do everything by God working in them, so that they will not fall into “grumbling” (“γογγυσμῶν”) and “disputing” (“διαλογισμῶν”).

       Paul: Unbelievers Prefer Futile Speculations to the True Knowledge of God (Romans 1:21). In Romans 1:18-24, Paul described how and why the wrath of God has been revealed against unbelievers who suppress the spiritual truth about God and prefer to worship the creation, rather than the Creator. Paul testified that those unbelievers became “futile in their speculations (“τοῖς διαλογισμοῖς”) and their foolish heart was darkened.”

James, Luke and Evil Motives.

         James: Making Distinctions among Believers Reveals Evil Motives (James 2:4). James commanded believers not to make distinctions among themselves, particularly by favoring the rich in the assembly. If such practices continued, then they were acting like judges with evil motives (“διαλογισμῶν πονηρῶν”).

         Luke and the Wondering Crowds (Luke 3:15)In Luke 3:15, we see that the crowds were “wondering” (“διαλογιζομένων”) in their hearts about whether John was the Christ. I actually believe the better translation, in light of the other uses of the term, would be “questioning” (ESV translation) in the sense that they were disputing the matter among themselves, with evil motives.

From all these examples, we see that Jesus generally used the term “reasonings” in a very negative way, and in fact, all the New Testament writers followed Jesus in His usage. Therefore, we may see that “reasonings” in the heart generally speak of evil thoughts and plans. Notice that these thoughts come from the heart, and not from the mind. The power of the sign of Jesus will reveal the thoughts of many people, as they either (1) accept Jesus as Messiah, God in the flesh, and the only Savior of all people, or (2) reject Him. Jesus taught repeatedly that if they had truly known God, then they would have loved Jesus when He appeared. 59John 8:42.

Simeon had great spiritual qualities we would do well to follow.

1. Righteous.  Simeon had the spiritual quality of being righteous.  As we have seen above, our righteousness comes from Jesus Christ alone. By faith in Christ Jesus, we receive His righteousness as a free gift, so that we live in right relationship with God.

2. Devout. Simeon was devout in his faith, fully obedient to God. Part of his devotion to God included his desire to look for the consolation of Israel.

3. Holy Spirit upon him. The Holy Spirit was upon Simeon enabling him to prophesy concerning the baby Jesus. As New Testament believers, we see that the Holy Spirit indwells each believer at the moment of salvation, and remains with us for our entire life.

4. Faith in God’s Word. Simeon had received a revelation from God that he would not die until he saw Christ in the flesh. Simeon believed the Word of God revealed to him, and lived accordingly. Simeon expected to see the baby Jesus one day, and after holding the Christ in his arms, he knew that God had kept His promise to him. Simeon also spoke the Words of God given to him. As believers, we do not have the same revelation that Simeon had coming to us, but we do have the Word of God given to us in the Bible. As Simeon faithfully proclaimed the Word of God at the temple, so we should proclaim the Word of God to all the world, making disciples in the name of Jesus Christ. 

So, we learn more about the baby Jesus in the arms of Simeon today.

 ●  God always keeps His promises to us, no matter if it takes decades or just a few days.

 ● Jesus really is the light of revelation to the Gentiles, so that we may have eternal life as a free gift from Jesus Christ.

 ●  Because Jesus came to earth, He is a sign to be opposed and He will reveal the thoughts of many hearts. I will count upon Him today to reveal all the thoughts I have about Him. I pray that my thoughts may be more pleasing to Him today. I want to love Jesus all day today.

Application for Today

As I walk through life today, I want to keep in mind the great promises made through Simeon for today. Jesus has become the light of salvation for all Gentiles, and Jesus remains a sign to be opposed. Jesus will reveal the thoughts from many hearts. Today, I want to see Jesus opening hearts, and drawing hearts to Himself. But, I also know that many people will oppose Jesus, and in so doing, will expose the true spiritual character of their own hearts. Will you oppose Jesus today, or walk with an open heart filled with Christ today?

  

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