Posts Tagged 'Simeon'



Luke 2:34, 35

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Simeon, as you recall, was the “silent server,” a faithful follower of Yahweh, waiting patiently and praying for the coming of the Messiah. When Joseph and Mary came to the Temple in Jerusalem to present their offerings, along with their 8-day old Son, Jesus, Simeon recognized immediately that this Baby was the long awaited Messiah. As soon as he took the Baby in his arms. Simeon the “secret server” became a prophet, empowered by the Holy Spirit, as verse 25 suggests,

…the Holy Spirit was on him.

Simeon’s word of prophecy was brief, but powerful; each phrase full of meaning and deserving of our attention.

1. The Mission of Christ

These words must have been startling for Mary and Joseph to hear:

This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel… (verse 34a)

This prophecy was given directly to Mary and Joseph, but it concerned all of Israel, and in fact has implications that reach around the world, down through time to this present day. The coming of this Baby into our world would result in a moral, ethical, and spiritual crisis in the Israel of His day, and even in our world today. The people of Israel, and eventually people around the world world, would be faced with a decision: respond positively to the call of grace or reject it. Later on in the New Testament, we read the same thing like this:

For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” (1 Peter 2:6-8)

Many in Israel would fall because of their response to Jesus. Others would “rise,” that is, they would receive eternal life. While this prophecy, both here in Luke, and in Peter, where he quotes from Isaiah and the Psalms, applies directly to the nation of Israel, its principle is universal because it directly applies to the eternal destiny of all people, of all time. The absolute most important decision any human being can make is what to do with Jesus Christ.

We can look at how it happened to Jesus. He had a huge following for much of His earthly ministry, but later on, when His preaching became stern, when He started talking about the cost of following Him, many of His disciples fell:

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” (John 6:60)

After this, the crowds got smaller and smaller. Many fell away.

Of course, there were some followers of Jesus who had to fall first. For example, Saul fell off His donkey before he rose again, a new creation, becoming Paul, the great evangelist. Zaccaeus had to “come down” when Christ called him to a life of discipleship. Maybe some of you have to be “brought down” before Christ could do anything with you.

Yes, Jesus is very bad news for those who reject Him.

For Israel, though, He was “bad news” because by in large His people would have nothing to do with Him. They foolishly, though prophetically, rejected the Messiah. However, He will in time be the best news ever, for though Israel as a nation has fallen, she will rise when her Messiah comes:

In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’” (Romans 9:26, also Hosea 1:10)

2. The character of Christ

[The child will] be a sign that will be spoken against…(verse 34b)

It was Isaiah who spoke these thrilling words hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

A sign could point to something good or something bad. A sign can be very comforting, like when you have been driving all day and you see a sign that your destination is just around the corner. Or a sign can serve as a warning. In Christ, as a sign, He is—

The red light of danger.

Jesus Christ, the sign, is a sign of danger to those who refuse to accept His gracious gift of grace and salvation. The foreknowledge of God is absolutely infallible; He knows who will accept His freely offered grace and those who will not. He forces neither choice on anyone, but allows people to chose for themselves. Those who turn Him down, will fall, and it is God’s will that they should perish. But, when God’s grace offered in Christ is accepted by sinful man, God raises them up from sin and death.

The yellow light of caution.

Sometimes Jesus is a sign of “caution,” warning you to be careful. To those of us who have accepted Him as Savior, sometimes we think we can simply live for ourselves; that we can treat Jesus like a salt shaker, taking Him out every once in a while when we think we need Him. Thank God He doesn’t treat us like that! Thank God our Savior is far more loyal to us than we are to Him. When we get a little too independent in our thinking, Jesus can be a sign of warning, of caution, to get back to Him. But we have to heed the sign, for again, He won’t force us to live right. It must be our own choice.

The green light of safety.

To the believing, trusting, and obedient, Jesus is like a green light. When you are walking with Him, there is no need for fear or apprehension. When you are living your best for Him, you need never be ashamed to pray or to wait in His presence. Jesus Christ will always show you the way to go, with green lights all the way. But you have to trust Him first and you have to put forth an effort to live in a real relationship with Jesus. We have a good example of a man who was embarrassed to pray, not because of the state of his life, but that of his people:

I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. (Ezra 9:6)

But you never need to feel like that! When you are living for Christ, He’s the green light.

3. The influence of Christ

so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed… (verse 35a)

To come into contact with Jesus is to have your thoughts revealed, too. Did you know there is nothing about you hidden from Him? You can hide your thoughts and even your motives from most people, but never from God.

Jesus Christ is the living Word; He is the discerner of thoughts and knows the intents of the heart. He knows all about us, and what we think of Jesus is revealed not only by our thoughts, but by our actions as well. Words are pretty cheap these days; we may say we love Jesus and we may claim that He is our Savior, but do our actions support our words or betray them?

Jesus Christ is the touchstone of truth by which all people are judged. There are a couple of interesting verses about Jesus that should never be taken alone, without the other in its shadow:

If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. (John 12:47)

For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind. (John 9:39)

The mission of Jesus, revealed by His character, was not to try, but to redeem, but in doing so the character of man would have to be severely tested. When anybody is confronted with the living Truth, that person will, of necessity, be forced to make a choice: follow or not follow. Jesus came to redeem that person, but that person must make the choice; the decision is his. As Jesus lived and walked among His people, their hearts were revealed—those whose hearts were right heard His voice and followed, but those who preferred darkness turned away.

Today, the Gospel remains the touchstone of human character. There are those who want nothing to do with the light of God. They may be moral and ethical people, but their hearts prefer the darkness over the Light. They will reject Christ. But there are others whose hearts, consciously or unconsciously, are searching for more; they know this life is not all there is. These people find ultimate fulfillment and satisfaction in a relationship with Jesus Christ. What a person does with Jesus reveals what is truly in their heart.

And a sword will pierce your own soul too. (verse 35b)

This was a personal word to Mary, the mother of Jesus. But she wasn’t just His mother, she would become His disciple, as well. And so her “piercing of the soul” carried with it a double-whammy. As His mother, her soul must have been shattered when she saw her Son’s suffering and on the Cross. As one of Jesus’ disciples, her soul was pierced when she faced the jeers and persecution all of His disciples faced and face to this very day.

Jesus Christ; was there ever a Man born whose influence was so diverse and so pervasive? Jesus Christ: a stumbling stone to some, a stepping stone to others, and a touchstone to all.



In Luke’s Gospel, as part of his “birth narrative,” he introduces us to a character called Simeon. We know almost nothing about this remarkable man. Scripture does not indicate that he was anybody special or that he held an important office or that he was of high standing in Jewish society. He was, as far as we can tell, an average man.

And yet he there was something about Simeon that struck Luke and left an impression on the Holy Spirit, the Author behind the author of this Gospel. Here in Jerusalem, the center of the great religious machine of Israel, and the center of religious corruption, God had a true believer serving Him. God always has His people where they are are needed.

The church of Jesus Christ needs loyal and devout believers, like Simeon, just as surely as they need loyal and devout clergy! Often, these righteous laypeople are like Simeon; they go largely unnoticed; most of the time they do their service with nobody watching them; they pray in private. But God sees them; God notices their service.

God notices what you are doing for Him, too. You don’t have to stand behind a pulpit to be a man or woman of God. You just have to be like Simeon: righteous; the kind of person God can trust and depend upon to do His work – often the kind of work others wouldn’t want to do or even notice needs being done.

Simeon was a man who prayed in private and served in silence. But now, his faith is about to be rewarded openly. Let’s look at this man, Simeon.

1. His character

He was righteous and devout, verse 25

It’s important to take note, again, that in times of moral and spiritual degeneracy and in places of widespread corruption and apostasy, God always has His people – His Simeons. Simeon was “righteous and devout.” Here was a man who lived an upright life, walking circumspectly through a world of sin. This kind of believer is keenly aware of God’s presence in his life and just as aware of his responsibilities as a believer in God. This kind of Christian is one who lives his life deliberately, taking advantage of every opportunity to advance the Kingdom of God.

Christians like Simeon are righteous and devout in their dealings with God, but also in their dealings with their fellow man. They treat others justly; and while they may take advantage of circumstances to share the Gospel with the lost, they don’t take advantage of anybody. They are, in all ways, holy and true to their calling as a follower of Christ.

He was waiting for the consolation of Israel

He waited and prayed because he believed – he believed that the Messiah, the “Consolation of Israel,” was going to come in his lifetime. This seems to imply that Simeon was an old man, although we are by no means certain of that fact. This wonderful man believed with all his heart in the Word of God; the ancient prophecies that foretold the coming of the Messiah. His faith was not in the Temple or the priests or in the mighty Roman government, but in God and God’s promises.

It must have been a challenge to this man’s faith. He was living with religious and political corruption all around him. Things were not good in Israel at this time. The Jews had lost all political independence. In exchange for peace and safety, Israel had lost her freedoms and was living under the heavy thumb of cruel King Herod. Their once-revered religion had been reduced to “the fine print,” hundreds of “do’s and don’ts” as prescribed by the scribes and Pharisees. The prophetic voices that once thundered across Israel were silent.

Yet in the midst of such cultural, society, and spiritual darkness, there were a few true believers, and Simeon was one. And they weren’t all men, either. Remember Elizabeth and Mary, and Anna, who is about to be added to the roll of faithful and true followers of God. Verse 38 suggests that there were, in fact, many “silent servants” living in Jerusalem:

Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:38)

Sometimes, we may get the feeling like we are all alone. It may feel like God’s people are all some place else. But rest assured, even in the darkest of hours, God has His people, and they are waiting and praying for Him to act according to His will.

But where sin increased, grace increased all the more… (Romans 5:20)

It may seem like sin is always getting the upper hand, but remember, when you see sin apparently increasing, grace is increasing all the more, in large part because of people like Simeon, faithfully waiting and praying.

He was moved by the Holy Spirit

The text does not say that Simeon was “filled” with the Holy Spirit, but he was definitely open to the moving of the Holy Spirit! Somehow, in a way not explained to us, the Holy Spirit communicated to Simeon that he would live to see the promised Messiah. Maybe he had a dream or a vision or maybe God’s Spirit spoke audibly to him. God never has a problem communicating to anybody who is listening for Him to speak.

No wonder Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as a “comforter.” If ever any people needed comfort, it were the true believers living and serving God in Jerusalem at this time. The Holy Spirit is your comforter, too. No matter what may be going on in your life, no matter how depraved and degenerated our culture may have become, the Holy Spirit is your comforter; He comes “alongside” you to be lead you and guide you in God’s perfect way.

It’s interesting to note that there is a direct correlation between having the Spirit resting on you and you waiting on the Lord. Simeon waited and prayed, and the Spirit rested on him. Maybe you feel as though you’re not experiencing the fullness of the Holy Spirit. That may or may not be true, but if it is, maybe it’s simply because in the hustle and bustle of your life, you’ve forgotten to wait on Him, being still in His presence.

2. His testimony

That same Holy Spirit that had revealed to Simeon that he would live to see the Messiah, now led him into the Temple courts where he would meet the Messiah. Mary and Joseph wouldn’t have been the only parents in the Temple courts that day. Other families were there, for the same purpose. Like Mary and Joseph, they were waiting to give the priests their offerings. And it into that crowd  Simeon came, found Jesus and His parents, and proceeded to praise God. Apparently not many saw or heard, only Anna.

Simeon found Christ as the salvation of God

All who seek Christ, will find Him just as surely as Simeon did, and when they find Christ, they find salvation.

For my eyes have seen your salvation… (Luke 2:30)

This was the moment Simeon had been waiting for all his life; seeing the Baby was the climax of a lifelong quest. No wonder he started praising God! His physical eyes saw a little Baby, but prophetic insight saw the salvation of the world. How different Simeon was from most other Jews, who were looking for a towering, political Messiah who would bring lasting independence and prosperity to Israel. But Simeon knew better. He saw this Messiah as Savior. Simeon knew that man’s greatest need was salvation; not just salvation for his own people, the Jews, but the world itself was and is in dire need of saving.

Simeon found Christ as the Light of the Gentiles and the glory of Israel

This man had a depth of understanding the religious leaders never dreamed of. Simeon saw in the Baby Jesus the salvation of Israel and the Light of the Gentiles. Typically Jewish, Simeon saw two classes of people on earth, Jews (God’s people) and Gentiles (not God’s people). Yet Simeon saw that the hope for both of these groups of people rested in Jesus Christ. To the Gentiles, salvation was “light.” The Gentiles, not part of any Covenant, were truly living in spiritual darkness. Gentiles had no access to the Word of God. They needed light! They needed to be pointed in the right direction.

But to Israel, the Messiah would be “the glory.” When Jesus was born, what the Jews needed was glory – all they had was oppression and humiliation. Simeon had spiritual insight to know that what all men needed was wrapped up in the Baby Jesus.

Like no one else of his day, Simeon recognized the true sovereignty of God. He knew that God’s Messiah was the Messiah of all people.

3. Mary and Joseph’s reaction

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. (Luke 2:33)

In the birth narrative, there seems to be a lot of “wondering” and “marveling” going on! What was it that amazed Mary and Joseph so much? Was it Simeon’s words of clairvoyance? It was what Simeon said about Jesus.

The angel Gabriel had said some stunning things about the Christ Child. The shepherds, too, told of the amazing things they saw and heard surrounding the birth of Jesus. But Mary and Joseph had now been told something they hadn’t understood before and never considered: in their Son rested the destiny of all mankind, not just of the Jews. Jesus Christ was and remains the only hope for all lost people.

And most marvelous of all, this news came from a stranger, a silent servant named Simeon.

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