Christmas through the Eyes of Simeon
December 24, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
Can you imagine experiencing the Christmas story as Simeon? Sure, he doesn’t come into the story until after Jesus was born. 40 days after the birth of Jesus, to be precise (see the purification laws in Leviticus 12). Simeon, however, gives us a model of how a follower of God responds to the coming of Christ. Let’s learn from him.
1. “Simeon was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him” (Lk. 2:25). This is such an amazing description of a man. I would like to be described like this by those who know me. What’s behind this description?
- Simeon was a man of Scripture. When he takes Jesus into his arms (v. 28), he speaks a prayer to God that is full of Old Testament allusions (compare with Gen. 46:30; Is. 42:6; Is. 49:6). While he is not directly quoting the Old Testament, the Scriptures have shaped his prayers, revealing a heart and mind steeped in the Word. God is honored when we allow His Word to shape our prayers. And our prayers begin to reflect God’s heart as our own hearts are renewed by Scripture meditation.
- Simeon was a man of faith. The words “devout” and “waiting” are Old Testament terms to speak about one’s faith. Simeon was faithful to trust the Lord for his every need. Isaiah 40:31 would have encouraged Simeon, “they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.” Luke tells us that Simeon was specifically waiting for the “consolation of Israel.” God’s future intervention for his people was called consolation or “comfort” (see Is. 40:1; 49:13; 51:3; 52:9; 66:13). This is the essence of faith: being satisfied with, resting in, trusting in God’s provision of deliverance. Certainly Simeon’s biblical habits fed his “waiting” on the Lord.
- Simeon was a man of the Spirit. Even before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was active in the lives of believers. God chose to give his Spirit in special measure to different people of faith. Simeon appears to be such a person God anointed with the Spirit. God chose to use Simeon as a beacon of hope to all who would listen. Simeon would not die until he saw the Christ (Lk. 2:26). While this certainly encourages Simeon in his faith, it also encourages all he speaks with. And so it is with believers in the church. We may not receive special revelations from the Spirit, but every believer has been anointed by the Spirit and gifted to bless others in their longing for Christ.
2. Simeon finds peace and joy at the coming of Christ. Since Simeon’s life was defined by waiting for the consolation of Israel, when he sees the realization of that comfort, his life is complete. This is how Christians should celebrate Christmas and how we should look forward to the return of Christ. Jesus is the fulfillment of all we ever long for. Paul says, “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:4). John says, “We know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn. 2:2). Peter says, “Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13). Simeon celebrates that grace in Luke 2:29-32. May we set our hope fully on the grace of Jesus Christ, already revealed and yet more to come!