Summary: baby jesus meets Simon.
Text: Luke 2:25-33, “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.”
The singing of Silent Night is over
The time of placing gifts under the tree is over
The time of last minute shopping is over
Already merchants are getting ready for next year, already children are preparing their Christmas list for 2003
This is the week after Christmas
But my text this evening focuses not upon our modern Christmas’ but rather the Christmas of 2000 years ago when the Christ child was born in the town of Bethlehem. Luke and Luke alone provides us a picture of the event. Luke with his prolific pen captures not only the exaltation of the Lord’s birth in a barn but continues to follow the story as Joseph, in strict adherence to local custom and law, relocates Mary and the child to the city of David, the capital of Jewelry, Jerusalem. It is there in Jerusalem that Luke details the “mysterium tremendum”, the mysterious hand of God as it moves once again to fulfill Old Testament prophecy concerning the arrival of the messiah.
This is the subject and context of our textual environment this evening. Allow me to introduce to you the man that the Bible calls Simeon. If there ever was a man who could exemplify waiting on God – it’s Simeon.
He is a temple priest who is called a devout man. He has been waiting on the favor of the Lord – after all he was caught up in that inter-testamental a period along with everyone else of his day. For 400 years, the period between the concluding words of the Old Testament, to the opening of time in the New Testament. The children of Israel had suffered as a political volleyball first from the Syrians and now to the Romans. Over the last 400 years the people of Simeon had seen leadership shift from Mathias Maccabee and his sons, to the Hasmonean Dynasty that had included John Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. In recent years they had watched an Edomite family by the name of Herod marry into the royal lineage and become kings themselves.
Yet in the midst of the political unrest and strife, Simeon and others like him had patiently waited on the Lord to send his favor and true king to the people. Simeon had lived his entire life waiting on God to move just as he said he would.
Through the guerilla fighting of the Maccabees, Simeon waited on God
Through the political maneuverings of Johnathan and Jude, Simeon waited on God
Through the crafty manipulations of politically ambitious families, Simeon waited on God
Through the topsy turvy economy of the Jews, Simeon waited on God
Through the cultural transition from Greek Hellenism to a world dominated and controlled by Roman Caesars, Simeon waited on God
Sometimes saints you have to wait on God through all that you are going through. As we approach these waning moments of 2002 somebody here is waiting on God to move and do just what he has promised to do in their lives.
God has shown favor Simeon. He was a "just" and a "devout"
man. He was a man who was righteous, observing divine laws and he was one who reverenced God and was pious.
It is this same Simeon who lived in the New Testament age but was still under the Old Testament paradigm. Note that the Bible says two things about him. First, he was waiting for the consolation of Israel. He was waiting for the comfort, solace and consolation that only God can bring. Somebody here needs to understand that the world can bring you some pleasure – but there are only some things that God can bring you.
The world can give you advice – but God can give you direction.
The world can give you a high – but God can give you joy.
The world can give you a temporary hug – but God can wrap his arms around you.