The Book of Luke, Psalm of Simeon and the Announcement of Anna, Part II - Lesson 18
Luke 2:25-35, And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. 33And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 34And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
We are told that Simeon was just and devout (v. 25), which speaks of his personal walk with God and his integrity among men.
He was further a man of faith and hope, for he “looked for the consolation (deliverance) of Israel,” which expresses the faith of the Old Testament saint in the promises of God concerning the restoration of Israel through the coming of her Messiah.
The saint of old was jealous for the Israel of God.
The Israel of God should be free to serve God and not be under the domination of the heathen.
Simeon looked for the Messiah for deliverance and God rewarded his faith.
We are told that Simeon was a man who was filled by the Holy Spirit.
In the days of the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was not a given in the lives of belivers but was given for specific purposes and specific missions.
It was the Holy Spirit who had revealed to Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ (v. 26), God’s Anointed One, Israel’s Messiah.
So Simeon lived with anticipation, as all believers should.
It was also the Holy Spirit that directed Simeon to the temple on the particular day and time that Jesus’ parents brought Him to be presented to the Lord.
Finally, in some way not revealed, it was the Spirit of God who revealed to Simeon that this child indeed was the Messiah.
The Holy Spirit was in charge and this is one example of how the Holy Spirit accomplished the Father’s will.
Certanly the name Jesus given to the baby revealed something to Simeon but evidence of this sort was not needed because we are told that the Holy Spirit directed Simeon that this was the Christ.
The direction that Simeon received from the Holy Spirit would keep the the promise to him that he would see the Messiah before he died.
Luke does not dwell on this but dwells on the fact that God chose a man to witness the babe as the Christ, a man who was a godly man, a man filled with the Spirit of God.
Recognizing Jesus to be the Messiah, this elderly man took the child in his arms and blessed God.
Simeon was a man who had sought the Messiah for much of his life and now God gives him the desire of his heart and keeps the promise made to Simeon.
This shows us that if your desires are within the will of God, God will see to it that your desires are realized.
The passage expresses to us the great joy that was Simeon’s at this moment in time.
God tells us that he holds us in his great arms and now we are given to witness a man holding God in his arms.
The all-powerful God is a tiny baby, seemingly at this time without any power at all.
Simeon’s words of praise express the deep joy that was his at this moment, a joy which so utterly filled and completed his life he was now ready to die: for what other purpose was left to fulfill?
Luke 2:29-30a. Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Jesus means “the Lord’s salvation”
The salvation which Simeon saw, was not seen by him alone, however, and so he hastens to add that it is a salvation that will be seen and shared by many:
Luke 2:30-32, For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
The things to which Simeon was a witness were not hidden from other men. Simeon was not alone.
Others may not have recognized them as the work of God, but all Jerusalem, we are told by Matthew, knew of the Messiah which the wise men sought, but rather than to rejoice the people were “troubled” (Matt. 2:3).
So far as we are told, no one from Jerusalem made the relatively easy trip to Bethlehem to see the holy child that was born, which was testified to by the star in the east.
So Christ brought division even as a babe in Bethlehem.
Remember He questioned his disciples in their possible supposition about his mission on earth.
Luke 12:51, Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
Peace on earth to men of good will! There will be no peace to men not of good will
So Division took place in Israel even at his birth!
The people of Jerusalem were troubled but Simeon had great joy.
Simeon saw the babe’s coming as great benefit to Israel; but not only to Israel but to all the world.
The Messiah, as Israel’s King, who would “sit on the throne of His father David,” was Israel’s glory, but Messiah was also a A light to lighten the Gentiles which means a light of revelation to the Gentiles.
Jesus is the light of the world. The world lies in darkness but Jesus Christ is the only light.
That is, Messiah came as God’s salvation to all men, not just to the Jews.
This truth was taught in the Old Testament, and Simeon’s words seem to reveal his knowledge of such Old Testament prophecies of a salvation for Gentiles as well as for Israel.
For example, consider these texts, with which Simeon was likely familiar, and to which he may have been alluding in his praise:
Ps. 98:2-3, The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Isa. 42:6-8, I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; 7To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. 8I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
Isaiah 49:6, And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
Isa. 52:10, The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
Isa. 60:1-3, Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
Imagine the impact which the actions and words of Simeon must have had on Joseph and Mary.
Luke simply summarizes this with the words,
Luke 2:33, And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.
Joseph and Mary now had this to add to the:
marvelous birth of John,
the witness of Zachariah of his angelic visitor,
the angelic announcement that they had experienced before the birth of Christ,
and the visit of the shepherds who had given witness of the announcement of the angels.
They had yet to experience the visit of the wise men or the command by the angel to take the baby into Egypt to escape the forces of Herod.
So they were now amazed when they heard the prophetic utterances concerning the significance of this child for both the Gentiles and Israel.
Verification kept coming from all directions that this is no ordinary child, but that this is the Savior of the World!
And now a total stranger walks up and proclaims your child, a child who looks like any other six-week old boy, to be the Messiah of God.
Perhaps in response to the amazed look on the faces of Mary and Joseph, Simeon went on to bless them, and to direct a very specific prophecy to Mary:
Note this first phrase: And Simeon Blessed them and said to Mary
And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. Luke 2:34-35.
Notice that Simeon spoke only to Mary as he spoke of the sword piercing through her soul and did not include Joseph.
Joseph’s last mention as being alive in scripture is where he and Mary search for Jesus when he was in the temple at age 12.
John is told to take care of Mary by Christ while on the cross so most likely Joseph had died sometime between the period of Jesus at age 12 and the crucifixion so Joseph’s heart would not be pierced because he was not alive at the time of the crucifixion.
Up to this point in time, all of the inspired utterances pertaining to the Lord Jesus have been very positive, speaking with reference to His ruling on David’s throne, setting right the things which are wrong, and bringing peace and salvation to men.