Simeon: A Lesson in Waiting for the Promise of God
Just the other night, I was watching a Christmas movie on GMC. ‘Tis the season for Christmas movies on a number of channels! The movie was not very interesting, to be honest, but I kept flipping back to it because there was nothing else on TV worth watching. There came a part in the movie where an older gentleman read the Christmas story while a young girl acted out various parts. Once the play was completed, he said one of his favorite parts of the Christmas story was actually a part that was seldom read – the part about Simeon. He then proceeded to the following passage in Luke:
“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 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. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
‘Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.’
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’” Luke 2:25-35 NKJV
Hearing this made me pause to think: What would it have been like to be Simeon? That’s when I knew I kept switching back this movie for a reason. This was the part that God intended me to hear. He wanted to get a message to me, and to you.
Now, the Bible doesn’t tell us WHEN it was revealed to Simeon that he would see Jesus before he died. What if the Holy Spirit spoke that to him when he was 30 years old? He could have taken that one of two ways: either Christ is coming soon and I’m going to die young, or I’m going to have to wait a LONG time for this promise to be fulfilled.
At first glance, neither prospect seems “fun”, I have to admit. Simeon heard the voice of the Holy Spirit give him this wonderful promise… but how would he know when “the time” had come? I believe that as the years went by, he continued to practice hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit. Each time the Spirit spoke, Simeon obeyed. Simeon probably figured that when the time came for this promise to be fulfilled, he didn’t want to second guess that is was God who had spoken to him.
When the Spirit led him to the temple at the appointed time, it turned out that he was being led there not only so he could see the Lord’s Christ with his own eyes,
but so he could release words of blessing over Jesus and also Mary and Joseph. In fulfilling His promise to Simeon, God used him to bless Jesus’ earthly parents and communicate a specific message to them.
God is a connecter and a multiplier. Allow the story of Simeon to sink deep in to your heart, pondering how it applies to you and how it applies to the promises God has spoken to you.
But, Simeon was “just and devout”, you might say. So are you, if you’ve been washed by the Blood of Jesus, accepting Him as your Lord and Savior.
“But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” 1 Corinthians 1:30 NKJV
Now that we’ve got that point settled, consider what it is that the Holy Spirit has been speaking to you. What has God promised to YOU? Are you waiting expectantly for it? Are you endeavoring to follow the Holy Spirit in your daily walk, fine tuning your listening skills?
Are you willing to do what it is He says to see the promise come to pass? Like Simeon, will you follow the Holy Spirit as He leads you to the temple, or wherever that place is for you? At the exact day and in the exact hour? Will you be ready, in the midst of the fulfillment of His promise to you, to reach out and be His hands and His mouthpiece to bless others?
The promise that God made to Simeon may seem extra special, because it involved the birth of His Son, Jesus. But as sons and daughters of God, He treats each and every promise He makes to us the same way. It is important to Him that they come to pass in the right way, at the right time, and that we are prepared to receive them.
Listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit is vital. Reading the Word of God is vital. Prayer and worship is vital. It strengthens our relationship with God, which allows us to trust Him more fully and deeply. It gives us a certainty that can be obtained no other way.
Jesus came, as is said in Luke, to be “a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” Allow that light and that glory to penetrate your heart afresh and anew this Christmas.
The story of Simeon is my story. It’s your story. It’s the story of a person who dared to trust God.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Celebrate Your Faith!