It has been a hectic time – Christmas gifts to buy, decorations to put up, celebrations to attend, food to bake, gifts to unwrap, trash to recycle, extra pounds to lose, OK I’ll stop there. Did you feel at “Peace” this Christmas?” I wonder if the first family of Christmas found much “Peace” that first Christmas.
It was just 40 days after the Birth of Jesus and the young family was back in the temple again. This time it was for the sacrifice of purification and the dedication of the Christ Child. Having been the firstborn boy, the Law of Moses called for his dedication to the Lord as Holy, in memory of the rescue of the firstborn in the Passover. While they are there they come upon an old man, Simeon, who had spent many long years in the temple. Simeon was waiting on a promise that had been given him by God. This promise said that he would not die before he saw the Lord’s Christ.
I imagine that some of the others had differing opinions as to the antics, and all his talk about Messiah. Even on this day they probably shook their heads when they saw him hurry after this poor young couple. Messiah? This couple couldn’t even afford a proper sacrifice, they were getting by with the minimum prescribed in the law for the poor. Luke tells this account in the second chapter of his Gospel:
22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he 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, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Luke 2:22-35 (ESV)
How is it that Simeon could leave this place in peace today? Three reasons;
- He was declared “Righteous” (vs. 25)
- He was given a promise (vs. 26) and it was fulfilled (vs. 30)
- He was led by the Holy Spirit (vs. 27)
I can only imagine his joy over meeting the Messiah. All it took for him was a glimpse and he had seen enough. He did not live to see Jesus grow up, to become a Rabbi, or to die and rise from the dead. The promise and the prompting of the Spirit that it was now fulfilled was enough.
How can we find peace like Simeon?
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