Summary: Sometimes the waiting in our lives is like a winter of unending anticipation.
In his book The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis tells how a young girl, Lucy, enters the wardrobe in the spare room of the Professor’s house and is unable to find the back of the cabinet. Instead she works her way through fur coats and steps into a forest with snow crunching under foot.
The first person she sees there is a faun named Tumnus. From him she learns that the winter has lasted for time out of memory, years and years. It is the result of the reign of the White Witch who represents Satan in Lewis’s Narnia books. The only thing that can end the winter is the coming of the true king, Aslan the lion. Like Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Aslan will defeat evil and bring warmth and life back to His people. Let us see how this story worked out in real life, among the people of Israel.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Luke 2:25 (NIV)
Eight days after the birth of a boy his circumcision was required by law. Since Jesus was born in Bethlehem, to do this in Jerusalem was an easy trip. At the same time, a purification ritual for Mary was in order, so they brought a sacrifice and went to the Temple.
There they ran into Simeon. Like many prophets, we know little about Simeon. The thing for which he is remembered is that he had been promised by the Holy Spirit to see the Messiah before he died. In the mean time he waited.
When he saw Jesus, he prophesied about Jesus’ message, His death, and the global effect of His ministry. He even told Mary a disturbing thing:
"the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too." Luke 2:35 (NIV)
Many have understood this to be the grief Mary would suffer at Jesus’ death. I believe Simeon is saying that the same way that Jesus would lay bare the thoughts of other hearts, hers would not be exempt.
Mary’s own spirit would be tested by the ministry of Jesus and she would be required like all others to make a choice.
That choice was required of her. At one time she thought Jesus was going crazy and brought His brothers along to take Him home. He expressed a willingness to reject his family and follow the truth. However, by the end, she saw the reason for His behavior and embraced it.
Like the whole nation, Simeon was waiting
Simeon had the incredible promise that he would see Israel’s Salvation before he died. And he got his promise.
He was the last in a long line of waiting people. God had promised a savior centuries before and the people had been waiting ever since. God’s deliverance through the anointing of a savior, the choosing of a messiah, happened again and again.
When we name Jesus, we often include His title, Christ. Christ is the English version of a Greek word, Kristos. That Greek word is the translation of a Hebrew Concept, Messiah which means Anointed One.
Throughout Israel’s history, God used anointing with oil to consecrate leaders of different kinds: