by Dr. Stephen Rummage on February 04, 2021
April 08, 2021
Today we look at the response of a man who saw God’s peace-child, Jesus, for the very first time. A man named Simeon who took young Jesus in his arms, held Him up in the temple, and immediately gave praise for what he saw in that child: personal peace for himself, and salvation for the world.
“And [Simeon] came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he 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” (Luke 2:27-30 ESV)
The question we must look at is this: What did Simeon - and later a woman named Anna - see in this child Jesus? Thankfully it is the same thing we can see as we look at God’s peace-child.
First, we see Jesus…
1. Fulfilling the Law of God (vv. 21-24)
In verses 21-24, the Bible shows how carefully and faithfull Mary and Joseph followed God’s Law in Jesus’ infancy. “He was circumcised,” marked Him as a son of the covenant, symbolized the Jews’ separation from the Gentiles, showed their unique relationship with God, and also reflected the uselessness of the flesh in pleasing God.
How did Jesus fulfill God’s Law, even during the earliest days of His infant life? In addition to His circumcision, His mother completed the time of purification. Leviticus 12:1-4 shows us that for 40 days after the birth of a son, God’s Law said that the mother was ceremonially unclean and would be unable to enter into the temple; His parents did so. Secondly, He was presented to the Lord in the temple. Exodus 13:2 and Numbers 18:15-16 show God’s Law commanding the firstborn child to be presented to God in the temple; His parents did so. And lastly, His parents offered a sacrifice. Leviticus 12:6-8 shows how God’s Law required a woman’s purification to come with a sacrifice. His parents did so.
Next, we see Jesus…
2. Keeping the Promises of God (vv. 25-29)
While they were in the temple, Mary and Joseph met a man named Simeon. We don’t know his age, background, occupation. But we do know that he lived in Jerusalem and was “righteous and devout.” Simeon was a man who loved and sought to please God, but also was waiting for the “consolation of Israel,” meaning he was eager for the Messiah’s arrival.
That day, among all the people who would have been in the temple, the Holy Spirit directed Simeon to Mary and Joseph, and the child Jesus, just as they were coming to present Him in the temple. Simeon would bless God with the deepest praise of his heart, and exclaimed, “Lord, now you are dismissing your servant,” or “Lord, now you are releasing your servant.” Simeon was simply saying: “Lord, I am ready to die. I am ready to be done here. I am ready to come home.” Why? Well the next words are so significant: “according to Your Word.” By sending Jesus the peace-child, God had kept His promises, and that was all Simeon needed.
Next, we see Jesus…
3. Delivering Salvation from God (vv. 30-32)
Moving onto verses 30-32, Simeon begins to talk about why he can now “depart in peace.” Simeon saw Jesus, and in seeing Jesus, he saw salvation. The most notable thing in Simeon’s response is that he sees how far God’s salvation is extended. Salvation in Jesus expands like ripples in a pond. He was first sent to Israel, and His birth brought God’s glory to them. Yet His salvation was prepared not only for the nation of Israel, but rather “in the presence of all peoples.”
Jesus delivered God’s salvation for everyone - Jew or Gentile. People who seem close to God and people who seem far from God all need salvation. And thankfully because of Jesus, all can receive salvation. Praise God that includes you and me!
Next, we see Jesus...
4. Revealing the Purpose of God (vv. 33-35)
The words of Simeon amazed Mary and Joseph. Perhaps because they had not yet comprehended that their son would bring salvation to the entire world. But then, Simeon turned to Mary specifically….
“Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Both those words “fall” and “rising” are strong and very spiritual. Simeon is saying that Jesus will bring people to the point of making an eternal, moral, and spiritual decision. The greek word for “fall” means “collapse,” and the greek word for “rising” means “resurrection.” Therefore, reject Jesus, and you will fall. Receive Jesus, and you will be resurrected. That’s exactly what happened with Israel. The Jewish people as a whole rejected Jesus as their Messiah, and they fell.
That is the God’s purpose revealed in Jesus Christ. He will receive the thoughts of every human heart, and the falling and rising of every human soul for all eternity based on this one thing: How do you respond to Jesus?
Finally, we see Jesus…
5. Inspiring Thanks to God (vv. 36-38)
In verses 36-38 we meet a woman named Anna. As with Simeon, we are given very few details concerning her and her background. We do know that she was a prophet, which meant she was very close to God, and had a gift of understanding and declaring God’s message. But we also know that Anna was a widow. Widows didn’t have an easy time in this day; often they were neglected and exploited. But Anna had been a widow most of her life, never remarrying, and concentrating her life on prayer. Unlike Simeon, none of the words she spoke were recorded in scripture.
But when she saw that baby, she knew exactly who He was. And she “gave thanks to God,” and she told others that the Messiah had finally come. His presence demanded a response.
Have you responded to the presence of Christ? If you have any questions about what that may look like, or if you have any questions at all concerning faith, please call (405) 302-3030, or you can text your first name to (405) 256-4701. We would love to connect with you.
Watch the full sermon here.