Jesus Presented in the Temple
22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Have you waited for something? Waiting is so hard a thing to do. Waiting can be stressful. Let’s learn from Simeon, who spent a long, long time waiting for something very, very important, or rather, someone very important.
Simeon was a righteous man who loved the Lord. The Holy Spirit told him that he would not die before he had seen the Saviour—the Messiah of Israel. He waited and hung on to this promise.
One day, Simeon was moved by the Spirit to see what he had been waiting for—that is the Messiah. He came as a baby.
Can you imagine his joy? He must have been so moved with gratitude that God had done what He said He would do. After years and years of waiting, he finally saw the Messiah with his own eyes. Gently and joyfully, he carried baby Jesus in his arms. The years of waiting has ended! The Savior of the world had come into the world. The Saviour of the world was born. The hope of the world had come! The light of the world was shining in the darkness!
The joyful Simeon burst into a song. It consists of a few elements: worship, victory, missional, prophecy.
It is a worship song because He praised and blessed God for keeping His promise and sending the Messiah to us. He praised God for giving him the privilege to see Jesus Christ with his own eyes.
It is a song of victory because he said he had seen the salvation of the Lord (Luke 2:30). He was ready to die because what he had been waiting for had finally come. It is a song of victory because death is not scary for us Christian. We have victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ. Death is only the entry into eternal life with Jesus Christ forever in His Kingdom that never ends.
Simeon’s song is a missional song because he already could see salvation going out to the Gentiles. Jesus the Messiah did not come just for the Jews but He came for the peoples of the world—regardless of races, nationalities and cultures. Jesus brought light to the Gentiles so that all who believed will be saved (Luke 2:10). If you read through the Gospel of Luke, who was written by Luke, a Gentile, you will see the missional heart of Jesus Christ. His salvation is to the whole world.
After that, this song turns into a prophecy (Luke 2:34-35). He used 3 images in his prophecy: the stone, the sign and the sword.
(a) The stone
In the OT, the stone is an important image of God (Gen 49:24; Psalm 18:2; 71:3; Deut 32:31). The Messiah would be a “rejected cornerstone” (Ps. 118:22; Luke 20:17-18; Acts 4:11) and the nation Israel would stumble over Him (Isa 8:14; Romans 9:32). Because of Jesus, many in Israel would believe in Him, yet there are those who do not understand that Jesus Christ is their Rock (1 Peter 2:1-6).
Jesus is also the “touchstone” that exposes the hearts of people. The Pharisees, the teachers of the law, would not believe Jesus was the Messiah (Matthew 22:42).
(b) The sign
Jesus, was the sign that God is with us. He was a miracle for us. Unfortunately, people attacked Him. He performed miracles and yet people accused Him of doing that in the power of Satan. People criticised Jesus for having character problems by befriending sinners. People did not believe He is the Son of God. He was ridiculed, beaten and mocked on His way to death for us. After His death, His own disciples did not believe He had risen from the dead. Today, people too did not believe Him or doubted His second coming.
(c) The sword
The imagery of the sword was more for Mary, the mother of Jesus. It referred to the suffering and sorrow she would have as the mother of Jesus, the Messiah. The Greek word for this term used for this word was a large sword, such as the one used by the giant Goliath (1 Sam 17:51) and this sword would not only pierce Mary once, but would “constantly pierce” her.
We see this prophecy when Mary stood by the cross when Jesus Christ was nailed on the Cross for our sins. It pierced her when she saw Him suffering and dying (John 19:25-27).
After Simeon’s song, Mary stored up all these things and pondered them (Luke 2:19, 51). I am not sure how much Joseph and Mary understood what would be happening. When Jesus was growing up, there were times she had misunderstood Him (Mark 3:31-35) but after His death, she was praying in the upper room with the other believers (Acts 1:14). That was the last time Mary was mentioned in the Bible.
The imagery used to describe Jesus was not how we usually describe Jesus. We all know Him as the Good shepherd, the Saviour of the world and so on. May this Christmas season, allow us to experience more of Him and to know Him at a deeper level. He is our Rock, He is God’s greatest miracle and love for us.
Jesus is worth the wait. He is coming back for us. When He returns again, may be too, find us faithful.