Giving Simeon space (Luke 2 v 21-32)
Simeon rarely gets a look-in at Christmas, even in churches (and never in Nativity plays!). But Luke devotes more space to him than to the shepherds or the angels. So it’s right that we give him some time over the next couple of days.
But before we get to Simeon, Joseph and Mary need to get to Jerusalem…
A child of Israel
Read Luke 2:21
• What do Joseph and Mary do:
• when Jesus is eight days old (v 21)?
• when Jesus is 40 days old, and Mary is able to enter the Jerusalem temple again (v 22-24)?
All firstborn children were dedicated to God; an animal was sacrificed in their place and they were to serve God all their lives. Jesus’ earthly parents did all that members of Israel should do for their firstborn. He was, and lived as, a member of God’s ancient chosen people.
Saving Israel and more
Read Luke 2:25
• What kind of man was Simeon (v 25)?
• What did he know (v 26)?
And he recognises, in the baby in Mary’s arms, what he’s been waiting all his life to see!
• What does Simeon see in this child (v 30)?
• How else does he describe him (v 32)? What do you think he means by these phrases?
In the coming of the Christ, God’s glory came to Israel, to His ancient chosen people. And glory was offered to Israel; the opportunity to be at peace with God finally, eternally (2 v 14).
But Simeon says Jesus has come to do more than save Israel; He’s come to reveal God to non-Jews, to the Gentiles. In Luke we’ll find Jesus continually reaching out to those beyond “good Israel”; to Jews who’ve lost their way, and to Gentiles
who have never known the way.
This would have been surprising to many Jews of Jesus’ day. Surely God’s Christ would want to spend time with, and be of
help to, His people, and particularly His people who were obeying His rules?
It’s easy for us to miss the modern-day challenge of Simeon’s words here.
Who are the people who live around us who we make no effort to reach with the news of Jesus the Christ? Are there “types” of people who you never see in your church, and who your church never deliberately seeks out with the gospel?
• How can we as Christians seem like rule-keepers, who look down on rulebreakers?
• How does this challenge you as an individual, and as a member of your church?
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