12.17.2011

Jesus, Our Light - Day 5

Within days of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, his parents Joseph and Mary obeyed what all Jewish parents of firstborn sons were to do:  present him to the Lord in dedication at the Temple a few weeks after his circumcision.

Meanwhile, God was watching the heart of a certain elderly man in Jerusalem--nobody special--whom the Bible says was "just and devout."  This man Simeon was not only a passionate seeker of God, but he was waiting for the "Consolation of Israel," a beautiful phrase describing the Messiah.

Now I find it surprising that the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders were not on high alert at this time.  It is not hard to calculate by the prophecy of the coming Messiah in Daniel 9:25-26 that the Messiah was going to appear any minute. (That's a great Bible study right there.)

So I wonder if maybe Simeon had figured this out, had maybe been asking God about it, pouring out the longing of his heart to see God's promise come to pass.  Luke 2:26 tells us that the Holy Spirit gave him a very personal revelation--he would get to actually see the Christ before he died.  Then he was directed to go to the Temple.

What a scene!  There he was at the Temple, waiting, and here came Joseph and Mary to dedicate their new little son.  Simeon sees the baby and knows--this is the One!  Like Zacharias in our story yesterday, Simeon bursts into prophetic praise:

"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."
(Luke 2:29-32)

What I love about Simeon's words is the direct promise that God's salvation would not only be for Israel but for the Gentiles--just what God had promised Abraham at the beginning.  He's never left us out.  His light is for everyone!

God, may my heart be like Simeon's, prepared for You.

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