Robert Griffith | 23 May 2024
Robert Griffith
23 May 2024

 

Despite being one of the lesser-known figures in the Christmas story, Simeon had a deep encounter with God. God not only told Simeon that he would not pass away until he had seen the Messiah, but He also provided Simeon with spiritual vision into the baby Jesus’s future, which astounded His parents Mary and Joseph when they brought Him to the Temple!

Luke 2:28–35  “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.’ The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. 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, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

I’ve often pondered whether Mary’s heart was touched by Simeon’s words as she sobbed at the cross.  When Jesus was born, she had no idea how the sword would stab her heart so severely years later.  How could Simeon be so spiritually perceptive?  He was neither a priest nor a prophet.  Luke describes him as a virtuous and pious man in verse 25.  “… a man who lived in the prayerful expectation of help for Israel,” reads one version.

The Holy Spirit was upon him as well. That’s the secret of spiritual understanding.  We need to be Spirit-filled people of prayer if we are to comprehend God’s will and purposes. The Bible says that the Spirit explores everything, including God’s deepest mysteries (1 Corinthians 2:10–12). Because no one knows a man’s ideas better than the man’s own spirit? In a similar vein, only God’s Spirit is aware of God’s thoughts. We have been given the Spirit of God, not the spirit of this world, so that we can make sense of what God has freely given us.

Simeon prayed in faith, trusting that God would send deliverance for Israel, and as a result, the Holy Spirit started to disclose God’s plans through the coming Saviour.  Simeon had an amazing prophecy regarding Jesus!

How often must Mary and Joseph have thought back on what Simeon had told them as they saw Jesus grow up?  In Israel, he would cause many to fall and rise.  He would represent a symbol of disapproval as He disclosed the thinking of many hearts.

Every one of these prophecies is realised in the ministry of Christ, as you will see when you read the Gospels. The Holy Spirit descended upon Simeon, and He continues to abide in the hearts of all sincere followers of Christ.