In the Temple Courts: Simeon's SongTuesday, February 28, 2012
"Simeon with the infant Jesus" by Petr Brandl, ca. 1725.
“Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God” (Luke 2:27-28).
Forty days have passed since the birth of Jesus. Here come Mary and Joseph into the temple precincts, ready to present their firstborn son to the Lord. There was nothing outwardly to distinguish them, no marks or signs that indicated they were anything other than another poor young couple coming with their newborn son.
At this point Simeon enters the story. Aside from what we are told in Luke 2, we know nothing about him. We don’t know his background, his hometown, his education, or even his occupation. He simply appears on the stage of history as a bit player in the drama surrounding the birth of Christ. After his part is over, he fades from the scene, never to be heard from again.
When Simeon held the baby Jesus in his arms, he called him “a light of revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32).
This is a huge piece of good news.
He’s not just for Israel. He didn’t come just for their benefit. He came to shine the light of God into every nation, every tribe, and every culture. The Jews couldn’t say, “He belongs to us and you can’t have him.” Nor could they say, “You have to become a Jew to enjoy Messiah’s benefits.” No! Doubtless that’s what some Jews expected. But Simeon’s words explode forever that narrow nationalism.
He’s the Savior of the whole world. Rich and poor, young and old, black and white, Jew and Gentile, American and Japanese, healthy and handicapped. All people are included in his coming. He didn’t come for a small group. He came for the whole wide world.
It’s true that our Lord was a Jew. But he didn’t come just for the Jews.
He met a Samaritan woman at the well, and he forgave her.
He met a Roman centurion and said, “I have not found such great faith in all of Israel.”
He met a Canaanite woman and healed her daughter.
When he was crucified, it was a Roman centurion who said, “Surely this was the Son of God.”
By sending his Son to the earth, he is not only fulfilling his promises to Israel. He is also bringing to the world a Savior for all people everywhere.
I received a phone call from a dear friend who was watching a loved one slowly die. When my friend called me, he made a very telling comment: “At a time like this you realize what’s really important. When you watch someone die before your eyes, you realize that the things of the world aren’t that important. The money and the power and the big career, they all just wash away. At the end the only thing that matters is to know Jesus Christ.”
He’s the Messiah of Israel.
He’s the Savior of the World.
He came for you. Do you know him?
Lord Jesus, nothing is more important than knowing you. Open my heart to welcome you as my Lord and my King. Amen.