“That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!” Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.””
Luke 2:27-35 NLT
He held onto the promise and he did not let it escape his heart!
I don’t know how long it had been since Simeon had received that promise from God, but at some moment on Simeon’s timeline the Lord God had told him that he would see the salvation of Israel come to pass in his lifetime.
“The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.”
Isaiah 52:10 NIV
Was it when Simeon had been reading through the prophecies Isaiah? The bible doesn’t state when God promised Simeon that he would see the salvation of God in the land of the living. God had promised Simeon he would not die until he had seen the redemption of Isreal. I do not know how old Simeon is when Jacob and Mary enter the temple courts with the Baby Jesus, but when Simeon saw the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, Simeon recognized the fulfillment of the promise God had made to him once upon a time.
So many questions are raging through my thoughts at this moment. How many promises have I let escape out of my heart because they took too long to transpire? How many promises has God kept in my life and I was just too self-absorbed to recognize them? For that matter, how many promises has God made me and I just ignored them thinking that was just another verse to read? My heart is aching over my self-centered thoughts and all the promises and fulfilled promises I have let slip away or go unnoticed.
According to Strong’s bible dictionary a spiritual life is a life animated by the Holy Spirit. A life brought to activity by the Holy Spirit of God, that is how I see Simeon. Every action, every word spoken is moved and controlled by the Holy Spirit who is filling him. Seriously, what person walks up to a young mother and just takes her baby out of her arms and lifts the baby into their arms. That takes a lot of moxy. The bible never says that Simeon asks permission. The verse just seems to go from point A – in Mary’s arms – to point B – into Simeon’s arms. Can you even imagine that encounter? Actually I can. I was sitting by my 5 yr old grandson at the Pittsburgh game a couple of weeks ago, and the guy in front of me began to think of Lucas as a good luck charm, I guess. Every time the Steeler’s scored he wanted to high 5 Lucas. Then of all things this guy had the audacity to ask me if he could pick Lucas up. I said. “NO!”
So now as I read, “he took the child in his arms” I get a little anxiety going on. I don’t know Mary’s initial reaction. It is not recorded for us in scripture, but I know both Mary and Joseph’s final reaction, they were shocked out of their senses. Their mouths were agape, not because Jesus was taken from their arms, but because of the words that Simeon spoke over their son, their Savior. No one else knew. No one else had been in on the secret. The angel Gabriel had revealed who this child was first to Mary and then to Joseph. The Holy Spirit had let Elizabeth and Zachariah in on the true identity of this Baby. Now, to Mary and Joseph’s knowledge that was the extent of the list. No one else knew this child Mary was carrying was their long awaited Messiah. And now this man from seemingly nowhere shows up and recognizes the Christ, Israel’s Messiah, the Anointed One, wrapped up in the form of the baby. Come to find out, this man had been waiting all his life for This Promise to intersect his timeline.
Simeon, animated by the Holy Spirit of God, spoke words over Jesus that could only have come pouring out because they had been revealed to him by God Most High. Simeon looked past the physical and saw more than a baby. He saw his promise come to past. He looked into Jesus’ eyes, and I mean he really looked. He looked deep into those Eyes of Love and Mercy and he saw the light, the true light, that would reveal who God really was to the nations. Simeon saw in Jesus that the Glory of Israel had returned. How could Simeon look so deep? How could Simeon look past what looked like an ordinary baby and see his Messiah. He was animated by the Holy Spirit of God. God’s Holy Spirit, filling Simeon, had helped him cleave to the promise God made him once upon a time.
Simeon took “THE PROMISE” in his arms and he recognized the fulfillment.
Though Jesus was just a baby at this moment when Simeon held him Simeon knew…
I am going to quote the chorus to Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “This Baby”
When Simeon held Jesus in his arms and because he was filled and animated by the Holy Spirit of God, Simeon knew…
“This Baby made the angels sing, this Baby made a new star shine in the sky, this Baby had come to change the world, this Baby was God’s own son, this Baby was like no other one, this Baby was God with us, this Baby was Jesus.”
So much I want to say here. So many lessons I get out of the few short verses we get about this man named Simeon, but the one I want to camp on, the one I want to shout out as a warning to myself and to all others, DON’T LET THE PROMISES OF GOD ESCAPE FROM YOUR HEART NO MATTER HOW LONG THEY TAKE TO COME TO PASS!!!! ONE DAY YOU WILL HOLD YOUR PROMISE FROM GOD IN YOUR ARMS!!!!!!!