Summary: Simeon said Jesus was to be a light for the Gentiles. What exactly did that mean? And why should I care if He was or not?
A Sunday School teacher had given her class an assignment to read Isaiah chapter 9. The next Sunday she asked the class how many had remembered to read the chapter. Every hand went up.
“Wonderful! she said, I’ve got a piece of candy for anyone that complete the 2nd half of this verse: ’The people who walked in darkness...’"
Instantly she was besieged by answers!
· "Use less electricity!"
· "Stub their toes a lot!"
· "Spend most of the time sleeping"
· "Are usually burglars"
· "Could really use a flashlight!"
Obviously, those answers weren’t right.
But does anybody HERE know what Isaiah 9:2 says?
“The people who walked in darkness... have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
APPLY: No one knows how old Simeon was when he met Joseph and Mary in the Temple court.
The Bible simply says: “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ…”
And when Simeon saw Jesus he said "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.” Luke 2:26 & 29
There’s just something about how this was said that has always led me to believe Simeon was getting up there in age. But the fact of the matter was: God had made this man a promise. He was NOT going to die until he had seen the Messiah. God had promised!
So he actively LOOKED for the Messiah.
You can almost see him prowling the Temple… searching the face of each person who came through the gates. He just knows that he’ll encounter the Messiah right here in the temple. And much to his surprise, when he sees this 8 day old baby boy being carried by Mary, HE KNOWS – this is the one. The Spirit of God tells him this is the child, born to be a King.
And led by that same Spirit, Simeon tells the boy’s parents what this boy was going to do. He prophecies about what the Messiah was to accomplish.
Now, this Sunday, we’re going to focus on just one small phrase in that prophecy.
Simeon said this Messiah would be “… a light for revelation to the Gentiles...” Luke 2:32a
Now, what does that mean?
Why would Simeon say this?
Simeon said this because that was what God had said about the Messiah in Isaiah 42. God promised the Messiah: "… I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a LIGHT for the GENTILES” Isaiah 42:6
And then, in Isaiah 49, God says it again: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will ALSO make you a LIGHT for the GENTILES, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." Isaiah 49:6
In the book of Acts we read about the time when Paul was preaching to a group of Jews about Jesus, and they rejected his message. So Paul quoted Isaiah 49 to them saying that since they rejected Christ, he’d now turn his message to the Gentiles. He said:
“We now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ’I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’
When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” Acts 13:47
These Gentiles became Christians because they realized that Jesus had come – not just of the Jews – but for them TOO.
Now, a couple questions need to be answered here.
1st – what’s a Gentile? (ask for response)
A Gentile is anyone who’s not a Jew.
A Jew was someone who was born of the tribe of Judah (Jews=Judah).
If you weren’t born of that tribe you weren’t a Jew… you were a Gentile.
Now, in the day of Jesus, the Gentiles were hated by the Jews. They’d have nothing to do with them. They wouldn’t eat with them, wouldn’t talk with them wouldn’t pass the time of day with them. In fact, if a Jew bought something from a Gentile merchant… he’d take it home and wash it. If they bought a table or a chair, they’d dip it in a pool. They were washing away the filth of the Gentile from their new possession.
They even had a name for the Gentiles. They called them “dogs”. Not puppy dogs. Mongrels, strays, rabid animals. The Jews considered the Gentiles losers… outsiders… worthless.
Now, there was a reason why the Gentiles were considered outsiders and losers. That’s because that’s what they were. Gentiles were NOT part of the family of God!!