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Arthur Manning

Jesus Presented at the Temple

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 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 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. 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. 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, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,

according to your word;

for my eyes have seen your salvation

that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

a light for revelation to the Gentiles,

and for glory to your people Israel.”

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 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 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

The words of Simeon have become part of the Latin liturgy, called the Nunc Dimittis for Simeon’s first words in the Latin  Vulgate: Nunc dimittis servum tuum, – Now let Your servant …

Luke provides a brief backstory of Simeon. He was “righteous” and “devout,” “waiting for the consolation of Israel.”

He knew of the promises for Israel and for the rest of the world, as should be true of anyone that has studied the Bible, beginning in the book of beginnings – Genesis.

The promise was first alluded to in the curse upon the Serpent in Genesis 3, where the offspring of the woman would crush his head:

Genesis 22:18: “and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

The promise made clearly to Abraham after he demonstrates his obedience to God. Abraham had just proven his faith to by his willingness to offer his only son, Isaac, upon the altar he and his son had built together, for which Isaac had even carried the firewood for the offering.

Genesis 22:18:  “and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

How many before Simeon had also longed for the promised Messiah? As with many good Jewish children, Simeon had been taught the scriptures that there was to be coming the One that would be the light to the nations and Hope of the people of Israel, as Isaiah had also written (Is. 42:6, 49:6).  They did not know exactly what form to expect the Deliverer, though Bethlehem was mentioned as His birthplace. Some scriptures spoke of victory, while others of a suffering Messiah (Is. 53).

God’s Promise to Simeon is Finally Fulfilled

The Holy Spirit prompted Simeon to make his way to the Temple, but what was he to find? Was he expecting a joyful crowd led by the mighty One, boldly entering the gates of the city to overthrow the Roman government? Surely there would be a dramatic event at the temple to where God was leading him!  Yet when he arrives, there is the customary group of worshipers, and soon to be among them a new couple.

We are not told how long he waited excitedly in the Temple, perhaps watching for the dramatic appearance, until a humble pair from Galilee enters. The husband is older, with the look of a carpenter, assisting his young wife bringing in their 40-day-old newborn for the customary ritual of dedication after the mother’s purification.

Exodus 13:13b-14: every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, “What is this?” then you shall say to him, “With a powerful hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery.”

The Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that this was the One! Imagine Mary’s startled expression as this white-haired man approaches them excitedly, first gently touches their child, then requests to hold him in his arms, then begins praising God!  What a spectacle for those reverently gathering in the temple courts, which must have caused a stir among the priests as well!

Thus the promise given by the Holy Spirit to this faithful man was fulfilled, and as he gazed on this Child, he also lifted his gaze upward, praising God for the light to the Gentiles.  Simeon was now at peace, ready to “depart,” now that he had seen the Lord’s Christ!

Three Ways the Holy Spirit Affected Simeon

God, through His Holy Spirit, was “upon” Simeon as a blessing for his life of devotion.  Simeon was used by God to fulfill His purpose in bringing a blessing to Mary and Joseph at the time of the special ritual of redemption for the One that would be shown to all as the promised Redeemer.

The Holy Spirit revealed the special promise to Simeon that he would behold the Lord’s Christ.  This One would be the Light to the Gentiles, ALL the nations.  As God had commanded light out of darkness, the people living in darkness now had the Light among them, and He would shine in the hearts of any that come to Him by faith, revealing the light of the  knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ! (2 Cor 4:6) The Holy Spirit brought Simeon to the temple on that day.  In obedience to the Spirit’s guidance, Simeon stopped whatever he was doing and made his way to the gathering place of Jewish worship.  There he would encounter the promised One and have the privilege of tenderly embracing the Christ-Child!

His Spirit is Still Active in His People

Jesus promised the Comforter to His disciples, bringing blessing of sins forgiven and victory over sin and death to those that put their faith in Him.  He reveals the light of His Word to darkened minds.  His Spirit compels us to take this message to the world!

Posted by Arthur Manning

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