|“Simeon took him in his arms and praised God…”|
On the eighth day after Jesus’ birth, since they were only five miles south of Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph took their week-old baby to the temple to have the rite of circumcision performed. There they met two magnificent saints of God: Anna and Simeon.
Dr. Luke tells us that a devout and righteous man named Simeon was prayerfully waiting for the Messiah to come. Luke also tells us that the Holy Spirit was upon him.
We must understand that this time frame pre-dates the giving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost after Jesus ascended to heaven, some thirty-three-plus years later. While we have a number of instances where the Holy Spirit made Himself known to people in the Old Testament, He did not fill all believers as He has done since that day at Pentecost. So, to have the Presence of the Holy Spirit made Simeon a very special servant of the Most High God.
Upon holding Jesus in his arms, Simeon prayed this prayer, recorded in Luke 2:28-32:
Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
For those of us who are not of Jewish heritage, this is a critically important acknowledgement that we Gentiles will be grafted into the family of God’s chosen people. Jesus would, indeed, be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.” In fact, the faith we have today stems from this important truth. God has revealed Himself to the entire world—to all peoples from every nation whom God, before the foundation of the earth, has chosen to belong to Himself.
As we begin another day, let us keep fully in our mind that we belong to God through His one and only Son, Jesus. He has marked us with the indwelling Holy Spirit. He longs for us to follow Him with obedience, as we bend our sinful, selfish wills to His own perfect will.
Let us rejoice at the salvation that Jesus has brought to us through His shed blood. Let us praise Him that because He conquered death through His resurrection that we, too, will spend eternity with Him.
And, let us be quick to tell those we meet what God has done through His Son. Let us become, more and more, a reflection of His love and grace.