Simeon lived with a promise… that before his death his eyes would see the promise of God’s Messiah. We do not know how long Simeon lived with this promise. We actually do not know much about him. Luke tells us only the essentials in the later portion of Chapter 2 of his gospel.
We do learn that Simeon was expecting, waiting with great hope. He may have been an old man, but he was not dwelling in the past, but leaning deep into the vision of God’s future.
Because of his faithfulness and through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, Simeon recognized God at work in a small little peasant family when they entered the temple in Jerusalem.
Simeon’s response to the baby Jesus was a glorious song! “Master, now you are dismissing your servant 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 for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)
Many churches sing this as a benediction at the close of their evening worship services. Perhaps there could be no more fitting blessing for the end of the day, “Now let thy servant depart in peace… for I have seen thy salvation.” As a pastor I wish all worshippers might make such a bold claim as they depart from worship! I hope each of us might know we are ready to depart, because we have truly taken hold of God’s free gift of Jesus, and are confident in God’s love for each of us.
But when Simeon spoke these words, they were not just a closing prayer for worship or the end of the day. This was Simeon’s benediction to his life!! He was ready to die. But all he has seen was a baby, you say?! Well, yes. God’s Messiah in a vulnerable infant.
Notice that Simeon did not get a visit from an angel like Mary. He did not hear an angel chorus like the shepherds. There was not star for him to follow. Simeon had a conviction deep in his heart and was prompted by the Holy Spirit. When he saw the Babe of Bethlehem, he believed. May we have such conviction as we approach the cradle of our King!
See you at the singing place,