December 21 - Simeon's Blessing

Sunday, December 21, 2008

December 21 - Simeon's Blessing - Luke 2:28-35

As Simeon begins to speak, his words come out as a Hebrew song of praise, much like one of the Psalms. Luke 2:30 "My eyes have seen your salvation..." Consider the emotion that he must have felt holding the child in his arms. The promise of salvation was here. It had arrived. He looked into the face of a child and saw the salvation of an entire nation, but as he continued, he prophesied that this child would be a light for revelation to the Gentiles!

The Israelites had spent hundreds of years concentrating on their own existence, they had long since forgotten what it was to be evangelical. They were worried about keeping the race pure and for many years they were simply worried about how to live until the next day. They had fought among themselves and had been taken over by conquerors. They had been kicked out of Jerusalem and had their temple destroyed. The dispersion of Jews throughout the surrounding region when Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Jerusalem had never ended, there were still Jews choosing to live in other countries.

For the most part, Jesus entered the world at a fairly peaceful time for the Jews. It was time to begin telling the world about a God who saves.

In Luke 2:33 we read that Jesus' parents marveled at what Simeon said about him. Remember, they knew of His purpose in saving Israel, but it would never have occurred to them that their son would bring salvation to the Gentiles!

Simeon follows up this word of blessing with a dire prophecy for Mary.

Jesus would cause people in Israel to stumble. Isaiah 8:14 says "and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." Romans 9:30-32 says, "What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the 'stumbling stone.'"

Jesus was destined to be a "sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed" (Luke 2:34b-35a). The word 'sign' here means miracle, a revelation of divine truth. We see throughout the Gospels that Jesus revealed the true thoughts of the people surrounding Him as He spoke to them.

Thirdly, Simeon spoke directly to Mary in Luke 2:35b, "A sword will pierce your own soul too." What frightening words to speak to a new mother. Great sorrow would occur in her life and it culminated the day that her son was on the cross. What a tender moment we read in John 19:25-27 when Jesus places her care into the hands of his disciple, John. Historians show that she and John lived in Ephesus for many years following the crucifixion and resurrection.

A day of great joy, a day of sorrow. Life with Jesus will never be easy ... but there will always be love.