December 21, 2011

Simeon: A Light of Revelation

to The Gentiles

Luke 2:29-33

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Eternal Life

   The Lord Jesus proclaimed His birth in many different ways in the Bible. As you may recall, the Lord Jesus existed as God long before He came to earth, took flesh and dwelt among us. Today, we will look at a Christmas passage directed particularly to the Gentiles (people who are not physically descended from Abraham).  Today, we will meet Simeon, described as a righteous and devout man, looking for the consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25). The Holy Spirit had promised to him that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. One day, he came into the temple in the Holy Spirit.  When Mary and Joseph brought their child into the temple, for the purpose circumcision and offering the sacrifice for the child, Simeon took the child into his arms and began to pray to God.

Now, Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation,

Luke 2:29-30

        Releasing Your Bond-Servant.   In Luke 2:29,  we hear Simeon praying.  In this case, Simeon declares to the Lord that now the time had come for him to die physically, which in this case meant the fulfillment of the prophecy that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. This term Christ means Anointed One, and describes the Messiah of the Old Testament. According to Old Testament prophesies, the Messiah would hold three related offices: prophet, priest and king. Messiah, as described here in Luke 2:25-33, also fulfilled other roles.  He would be the Savior and consolation of Israel.  Simeon described his physical death as “releasing” (“ἀπολύεις“), which indicates that he was leaving his physical body, to be present spiritually with God in heaven immediately upon death (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). Notice that Simeon knew that now he would depart this earth in peace (“εἰρήνῃ“).  Death held no fear for Simeon, but he saw it as release from his physical body, and he was going in peace (Romans 5:1), just as God had prophesied to Simeon. With the birth of Jesus, we see prophecy after prophecy fulfilled, and even inter-related prophecies, such as this one to Simeon. God’s word always comes true. We can always rely completely and happily upon the word of God.

       My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation Simeon had a special view of Christ.  Simeon knew that Christ would be the only salvation for the world.  Christ was salvation.  Even as Simeon prayed about the baby Jesus, Jesus was salvation.  He remains the only salvation for the entire world today.  People make a decision about that salvation, either rejecting or believing that Christ is salvation, and making it personal by faith alone.  This Christmas, are you certain where you stand with Christ Jesus?

which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, and the glory of your people Israel.

Luke 2:31-32

       Presence of All the Peoples.  Simeon prophesied that the salvation of God has been prepared by God in the presence of all peoples.  God did not send salvation to the Jews only, but to all peoples of the earth. Jesus is the way, the truth and life; no man comes to the Father but through Jesus (John 14:6). God will judge all men, all over the world, by the single Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 2:16). Simeon, speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit, proclaimed that the baby Jesus was salvation for all men, all over the world.  He came in to the world openly. 

       Revelation and Glory.  As Simeon prophesied about salvation, he elaborated upon the peoples: Jews and Gentiles. The Gentiles received a light of revelation from Christ, while Jesus was the glory of the people of Israel.  For the Gentiles, we see the light of Christ shining the beams of salvation into the darkest hearts on earth. God reveals that God dwelled among men in the flesh and was coming to die for the sins of the world, and then be resurrected.  For the Jews, we read in John 1:14, that Jesus, the Word, became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  As you think about Jesus today, remember the revelation He brought to all of us. Through Jesus, and only through Jesus (Acts 4:12), we see that God has brought salvation to the whole world, because He loved the world (John 3:16). To everyone who receives Jesus, God gives the right to become children of God, event to those people who believe in His name for salvation.

        So we learn more about Simeon and his Christmas prophecy.

     ●  The devout and righteous Simeon knew he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

     ●   Simeon prophesied, holding the baby Jesus in his arms, that Simeon had seen the salvation of God.

     ●  Simeon proclaimed the baby Jesus as the light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of God’s people, Israel. 

Application for Today

        As I walk through life today, I will remember the prophesy of Simeon.  God really did bring salvation in the Lord’s Christ, Jesus of Nazareth.  He is the light of revelation to the Gentiles like me, and the glory of God’s people Israel.  This Christmas I will remember Simeon, holding the baby Jesus, and prophesying about the great salvation Jesus is to the entire world, ready to be received individually by faith for salvation.  Will you remember Simeon and his prophecy about salvation today?

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