Summary: Countering our tendency to feel as though we are simply a "face in the crowd", this series focuses on several characters in the gospel story that were mentioned only briefly and yet they were used by God in amazing ways.
"Faces in the Crowd: Simeon"
Opening Question: “Has there been a time or period in your life where you felt as if you were simply a face in the crowd – insignificant, unimportant? Would you say that at one time or another in your life, you have struggled sensing your worth or your role in the big picture of God’s plan?”
This series is for the purpose of challenging our thinking regarding whether God can use each of us. To do so, we are going to travel through the Gospels, and we are going to highlight just a few of the characters that we find – characters whose names are often not mentioned, or if they are, they appear and then in a moment they are gone. Essentially, we are going to study just a few of the “faces in the crowd” amongst the names we know so well in the Gospels, and as we study these individuals – I pray that we will be challenged to sense our worth, our value, our unique gifts that God can use in His church and for His glory.
Invitation: So I am going to invite you to join with me on this journey – and as we travel through the lives of these individuals, I want to invite you to be challenged to accept God’s invitation to serve Him boldly according to whom God has uniquely made you to be.
Today we are going to catch a glimpse of the life of Simeon. Now I know that there is sort of an unwritten rule that the early chapters of the Gospel of Luke are only to be read at Christmas, but we’re going to break that rule this morning as we study this “face in the crowd”…Simeon.
I. Simeon believed that God was the author of his story.
Writing your Story: Imagine with me for a moment that you receive a call today from a well-known publisher with this invitation, “We’d like for everyone to read your life’s story, but we’d like one of your family members to write your biography.” Who would you choose? Would it be your spouse, a son or daughter, or maybe even a parent?
But more than that, what would you expect to find as the final product of your biography? Would it be good, bad?
As we read these first verses, I’d like to suggest that Simeon’s life story was being written – but it was being written by God. And the reason that I suggest that to you this morning is because Simeon was a man who allowed the Holy Spirit to direct his every step.
Luke says that Simeon was “…just and devout.”
What Luke was communicating here was that Simeon lived his life… “in accordance with God’s compelling.” As God led, Simeon followed.
But then Luke goes on to say that Simeon was…
“Devout”. This carries the same idea of our “being devoted”, but as it related to Simeon, it reveals the fact that He understood the prophecies of a coming Messiah, and he was devoted to that hope!
So this “just and devout” man was waiting in expectation. And that expectation as Luke records it was of the Consolation of Israel.
But these words that describe Simeon go so much deeper than a desire for a political king. Instead, Simeon joins a short list of individuals in the gospel narrative that actually understood the purpose in the coming of the Messiah.
Elsewhere in Luke’s gospel we read of Anna, who is mentioned here in chapter 2, and Joseph of Arimathea in chapter 23 - two other examples of individuals that were awaiting the news of the one that would deliver mankind from our sin.
Simeon was privy to the greatest announcement to ever be shared – that He would see the Messiah. And because Simeon was a man that was “just and devout,” he was obedient in hearing that announcement and prepared his life for that encounter.
But not only did Simeon receive some general revelation of something that was to come later in his life. The Spirit also spoke directly to him revealing to Him the very day when this announcement would be confirmed in person.
Simeon believed that God was the author of his story. And as the Spirit spoke, Simeon obeyed.
We have been given God’s instructions for our lives. Those instructions are found here in His Word.
But as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have an option – we can choose obedience and conformity to God’s plan….or we can choose to forge our own path.
Simeon chose to allow God to write his story – and as Simeon was obedient to God’s invitation, Simeon received a great blessing.
The question then becomes, “Who is the author of your story? Would it be said of you that you are an individual that yields your life to the leadership of the Holy Spirit? OR would it be said of you that you depend on no one besides self?”