Insert text here.
When Joseph and Mary brought their baby to the temple in Jerusalem, Simeon was waiting for them. In fact he had been waiting all his life for them!
When the days of Mary's purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they [Joseph and Mary] brought Jesus to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord, and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."
There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. He came by the Spirit into the temple.
When the parents brought in Jesus to do for Him according to the custom of the law, Simeon took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to your word. For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel."
Joseph and Mary marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, "This Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Luke 2:22-35 NKJV, condensed
Simeon's Grand Finale
Simeon, how long can you wait?Mary, are you still feeling blest? Joseph, how's it going, man?
Good, faithful people on separate paths, They were bound to meet, their lives pulled together by the child, still a babe. Joseph and Mary were doing everything according to the law laid down by Moses so long ago. Simeon was a devout old man living under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Their lives converged one day in Jerusalem. Simeon was expecting them, more so now than ever. He was getting very old and God still had a promise to fulfill. Mary was young, Joseph so poor he could only bring an offering of two young pigeons. But there they were, bringing their priceless child, God's only begotten Son. It happened in the usual way, according to custom, presenting their firstborn to the Lord.
They came together at the temple, the center for worship. Simeon knew at once; here was the one he had been looking for, the one God promised he would see before he died. Joseph and Mary didn't know any of this and were taken by surprise, again.
Baby Jesus was in that old man's arms in an instant. Although puzzled, Mary did understand something, the look of joy on Simeon's face. She had seen it just a few months ago when she visited Elizabeth. Joseph could see the joy overflow from Simeon to Mary and it was coming his way.
Words were filling the air. Simeon was boldly proclaiming he has seen God's salvation and could now die in peace. He was holding the child who would become a glorious light revealing the true pathway to God, even for Gentiles! Now as in the beginning, God was once again saying--let there be light. With this pronouncement, Simeon was "spreading out the corners of the tent" to include all nations. Jesus would be, not only the savior of Israel, but a beacon to the whole world!
Jesus would also be the glory of Israel. The descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob distinguished themselves as the people of the one true God. Since the days of Moses their laws and their prophets have instructed and inspired many nations. Always a small remnant in Israel kept the candle burning and held it high throughout every dark night of history. And now God is doing a new thing. Out of Israel has come the morning star of heaven and the dawn of a new day on earth. His name is Jesus.
Joseph and Mary marveled at Simeon's words, at the magnitude of his message. Then Simeon blessed them. We could wish the scene had ended here, but wouldn't you know it, there's another side to this story. Simeon continued with some disturbing insights for Mary. There will be controversy and turmoil. Jesus will set up a standard which many will attack. People will fall and rise because of him. The savior and "consolation" of Israel will cause pain and discomfort! Simeon did not hold back; his death was near, the hurtful part must also be told. "Mary, sorrow like a sharp sword will pierce your heart and soul also." At these words, the dagger struck. The flip side lay exposed. There will be enemies, detractors. A day is coming when clouds, like dense fog, will overshadow God's holy child. Mary was getting a more complete picture. Simeon had added an untold dimension; there will be bitter with the sweet.
Stunned and with their baby held close Joseph and Mary completed the ritual for Mary's purification. The truth concerning their child was coming out in bits and pieces, giving them time to absorb it and adjust their expectations. Joy and sorrow, blessing and suffering, love and heartache. The light of their salvation will someday wear a shroud.
Use the following questions for small groups, journaling, further study or reflection.
Icebreaker: What stories have you been told either about your birth or something that happened to you before you were old enough to remember?
If you attend church regularly, you cross paths frequently with the same people again and again. Describe some of your favorite "church" people. Does anybody stay in your mind and have a positive impact on your life throughout the week?
The overriding purpose or goal in Simeon's life was that he would live to see the coming of Israel's Messiah. He believed God had promised him this. How could Simeon continue to believe such a thing all his life? Are there any promises in the Bible which you claim for yourself? What kind of lifespan do these promises have?
Simeon was living in some dark days when many of his peers had lost hope that God would ever remember them. God had been silent for too many years. Is it true that God is sometimes silent? Did you ever doubt your faith in God? If so, how was that resolved?Simeon lived in expectation. What are you expecting? From life? From God?
Like a roller coaster, we rise on the good news and drop on bad news. I love you, but . . . You did a terrific job, but . . . The vital signs are good, but . . . Have you learned anything in life that helps you deal with bad news? Are there any good techniques for delivering bad news?When Jesus was a boy and Mary reminisced with him about their visit with Simeon at the temple, what do you think she told him?
Mary and Joseph had received both good and bad news from Simeon. Which do you think weighed more on their memory? Why? Should Simeon have included the part about the piercing sword?How did you first learn that life is a coin with two sides, both bitter and sweet? Does the bitter or the sweet dominate your thinking more?
Henri Nouwen wrote, ". . .among the best things we can give each other are good memories: kind words, signs of affection, gestures of sympathy, peaceful silences, and joyful celebrations." What were some good memories Mary was storing in her heart? Consider how good memories can be a gift, both to you and from you? Have you been making any good memories lately?