Summary: Like Simeon we need to realize that if all we had was Jesus Christ, that would be enough; with Jesus, our life is complete and we can be content.
Children often dream about things they would like to do in the future. I suspect traveling in space as an astronaut, playing football in the NFL, making the Olympic figure skating team, or driving a $100,000 sports car are some of the more popular ones. When I was growing up, I dreamed of being the first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles and of being a United States Senator from Wisconsin. I didn't want to be both at the same time, but those were a couple of my dreams. Now, unless some things change rather significantly in my life, neither is likely to come true. Oftentimes, our childhood dreams fade away as we get older. But this morning we are going to talk about Simeon, a man whose dream did come true and when it did, it was even more wonderful than he ever imagined. Today it is my hope that Simeon's dream would also come true in each of our lives and bring us more joy and hope than we have ever imagined. Let's pray that God would make that happen today.
Let's look at the story of Simeon. Our text today is Luke 2:21-35. The first twenty verses of this chapter are very familiar to most folks. There, Luke tells about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the angels' announcement to the shepherds of that birth, and the visit those guys make to see the Baby Jesus. In Verse 21, Luke tells us that eight days after the Baby was born, He was circumcised and given the name "Jesus," just as the angel had said. Then in Verse 22, Luke apparently fast forwards to forty days later, when Mary and Joseph go to the temple. They make the five-mile journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem with Jesus, to go through two ceremonies. The first was Mary's purification rite following childbirth, which is described in the Old Testament in Leviticus 12. There, a sacrifice was to be made. Often a lamb was sacrificed, but if the individual could not afford a sheep, two doves or pigeons could be offered instead. Apparently because they didn't have much money, Mary and Joseph bring two birds. The second reason for coming to the temple was to consecrate, dedicate, their firstborn son to God, just as had been done in Exodus 13, and much like we do in our church today when we dedicate a baby to the Lord.
While Mary, Joseph and Jesus are at the temple, Simeon's dream comes true. He sees the Messiah. We don't know a lot about Simeon. He is not mentioned anywhere else in Scripture, but we know that Luke 2:25b He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Simeon's dream is that someday he will meet the One whom God sends to be Savior of Israel. This is not something which he dreamed up in his own mind. It doesn't say exactly how, but 2:26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. The people of Israel had waited hundreds of years for the Messiah to come. God promised Simeon that he would see the Christ in his lifetime. And when Simeon sees the Baby that Joseph and Mary have brought to the temple, he knows it's not just any infant. Now, Jesus did not have a halo above His head, He looked just like any other six-week-old boy. But God revealed to Simeon that this was the Messiah. And so, 2:28-32 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." When Mary and Joseph hear these words, they 2:33b ...marveled at what was said about him. Mary and Joseph know there is something very special about their son. The miraculous virgin conception, and the visits of the angels had not been forgotten. But, it's still sinking in who this Jesus really is.
Then Simeon speaks words to Mary. He reveals to her in more detail what Jesus' role as the Messiah will include. Simeon has a rare, God-given insight. He tells Mary that Jesus will not receive a hero's welcome as the Messiah. Most Jews expected the Messiah to be a political savior, to rescue them from Roman occupation. If Jesus would have done that, He probably would have been crowned king of Israel and had the highest popularity rating ever. But, Simeon knows this will not be the case, Jesus will be a very controversial, divisive Messiah. He will raise up those who trust Him, but be a stumbling block to those who oppose Him.