THE LIGHT AND GLORY OF GOD
Simeon was promised he would not die before seeing the Messiah. (25-27a)
In Luke 2 we are introduced to a righteous man named Simeon. He had been promised by God that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. On the eighth day following Jesus’ birth, that promise was fulfilled as Mary and Joseph presented their child at the temple.
This is another reminder that what God has promised, He will perform. In the book, “All the Promises of the Bible,” author Herbert Locklear lists 7,147 promises from God to man. Hebrews 10:23 encourages us to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”
“All the promises of God find their Yes in Christ” (2 Cor. 1:20).
Simeon prophesied Jesus would bring light to unbelievers. (27b-32)
As Simeon was led by the Spirit of God he prophesied about Jesus. He said Jesus would be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to your people Israel” (v. 32). As we observed in the Dec. 12 session, Jesus came as the Light in the darkness. “In Him was life and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness and yet the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:4-5).
Light illuminates. Light reveals. Light attracts. In the case of evil men, light repels and divides. Light is an apt description of reactions and responses to Jesus.
It is interesting to note that in his prophetic message, Simeon did not limit the ministry and impact of Jesus to just the Jewish nation. The revelation to the Gentiles would be that Jesus had come on heaven’s search-and-rescue for everyone, not just a select few.
Until now, the Jews believed that, as God’s chosen people, the Messiah would come for only them. The message of the gospel is Jesus has come for everyone who will believe and receive Him. That message would be reinforced with Peter’s vision and in the ministry of Paul to the Gentiles in Antioch.
After Simeon blessed the child, he told Mary that Jesus would cause the “rising and falling of many in Israel” (v. 34).
Simeon prophesied that Jesus’ life and death would change the world. (33-35)
From words of blessing, the tone of Simeon’s prophecy turned to the ominous as he warned Mary that response to the revealing ministry of Jesus would also be divisive. Simeon said Jesus would be spoken against and would reveal the thoughts of people’s hearts. Those who opposed the message of the Kingdom would violently react and it would be like a “sword to pierce her heart” (v. 35). This prophecy was one of the many Mary “treasured and pondered in her heart” (2:19).
I can only imagine those words coming back to Mary as her Son was pierced and nailed to a cross.
Each person must answer the question Pontius Pilate asked the crowd in Matthew 27:22: “What shall I do then with Jesus?” Every person must decide how they will respond to the claims of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness and new life He offers.
By Don Fugate
Fugate is senior pastor at Foxworthy Baptist Church in San Jose, California.