Simeon: An Advent Reflection

simeon

And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking 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. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”” (Luke 2:25–32, NASB95)

As I contemplate Christ’s birth I’m  keenly aware of how incomprehensible God’s timing is to us who live in this modern age. Think about this.

The first messianic prophesy is in Genesis and was written by Moses. And while there is a great deal of debate on the exact date of the writing of Genesis, let’s just say Genesis is where everything begins. Now consider this. The last prophesy of the Messiah’s coming appears in Malachi. That book was written around 430 BC. The point is this. Literally from beginning to end, the Old Testament speaks of the Messiah’s coming. For millennia, God revealed things about Himself, His plan and His Christ through His inspired Word to a people who were waiting. Generation after generation waited and hoped for the Messiah’s coming, but from the greatest to the least, from the most righteous to the most vile, none would see prophecy’s fulfillment during that time. Wouldn’t it would have been easy for each successive generation to say, “Not that old prophecy again! People have been talking about that one for millennia. That’s just soooo yesterday.”  Don’t you suspect people would have been prone to doubt the promise of the coming Messiah. Perhaps that’s one reason why Israel had such a hard time keeping their covenant with YHWH. But then there was Simeon. In a time when God had not spoken openly to His people for some four hundred years, Simeon remained a man who never doubted the Messiah would come. And because he remained steadfast in this belief, God blessed him with the promise that he wouldn’t die before he would see the Messiah. Indeed, on the day of Jesus’ circumcision, Simeon held the Christ child.

What about us. Not only have we been given the blessing of being able to receive the prophecy of the first coming of the Messiah just like the people in Isaiah’s day, we have also been further blessed with the historical record of it. While we may not be able to hold the infant Jesus physically in our arms as Simeon did, we can certainly let Jesus hold us in his arms. Wow! When it comes to messianic prophesies, we are more blessed than the people who lived in the Old Testament. And here’s the kicker. We have also been blessed to receive the prophecy of Christ’s second coming. As you meditate on Christmas, let Simeon provide you with the ultimate example of how we should live our lives in anticipation for the second coming of Christ. Just as God promised Simeon that he wouldn’t die until he had seen the Christ, he has also promised us that we will see him.

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. ” (1 John 3:2, NAS)

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