Summary: You can never be the same once you’ve experienced the living Christ. By faith Simeon kept on waiting for the Messiah and one day He got a surprise. There are 5 ways you can know whether you’ve met the Lord Jesus Christ.
Place: Jerusalem (vv.21-22) They brought him to Jerusalem. The purpose was to present him to the Lord according to the law of Moses. (v.21) His name was called JESUS , a name given by the angel and this was made clear again on the 8th day of his birth at his ceremonial circumcision. (v.22) According to Mosaic Law every Hebrew male child is to be presented before the Lord. This took place in Jerusalem after 40 days. The background passage is Leviticus 12.
Time: The time would put us about 40 days after Jesus was born. Joseph and Mary’s offering would be either a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. This was the offering from folks who were too poor to give a lamb. Their offering would have been a lamb had the wise men made a visit to them. The treasures given by the Wise Men would not have exactly made them poor. We know the wise men came later. According to Matthew 2 the wise men came to the house where Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus were staying in Bethlehem. What we are reading here in Luke 2 happens before the visit of the Wise Men. If you notice in Luke 2:39 "they returned into Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth". Luke does not include Herod sending soldiers to kill all the babies age two and under as you read in Matthew 2. Also, Joseph is warned in a dream to take Mary and the baby Jesus to Egypt to escape the death threats from Herod. In another dream Joseph is told that Herod has died and he then returns to Galilee to the town of Nazareth.
What was on people’s mind: (v.25) It is said of Simeon that he was waiting for the consolation of Israel. This is a title of the Messiah. (v.38) Anna speaks to everyone who was looking for redemption in Jerusalem. Maybe not from everyone, but at least there was some sense of the coming of the Messiah by the Jews. The Messiah came and sadly, they missed him. He grew up in their land and walked in their streets. He taught in their temples and performed miracle after miracle, but they did not receive Him as their Messiah. It is as John 1:11,12 says 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Not everyone recognized the baby Jesus as the Messiah. How did Simeon come to see the baby Jesus as the Messiah?
1. Simeon believed in Jesus. The Bible says in v.25 he was righteous and devout. Notice the order of the words: "righteous and devout". The word "Righteous" comes first and it speaks of his inner life and the word "devout" comes second and speaks of his outward devotions and service to God. A person may be devout, or religious and not be righteous. His devotions can be about the wrong things and to the wrong god. The Nigerian man who tried to blow up that plane in Detroit a few days ago was no doubt devout in his belief, but you can’t say he was righteous. The terrorist may have the greatest devotion to his cause. He is devout but not righteous. He is not right. But Simeon was righteous. His righteousness was not a self-righteousness. It was an imputed righteousness. He knew the scriptures that said this of Abraham:
Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
By faith Abraham saw the salvation of the LORD in the distance. Abraham told his son, Isaac, that the Lord will provide himself a Lamb. The Old Testament saints looked by faith forward to the coming of the Lamb of God. Simeon was among those Old Testament saints who embraced the baby Jesus and looked forward to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. He says to Mary "…(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." He looks forward to the crucifixion of the Savior.
Simeon could say my eyes have seen your salvation. He was a believer.
To see Jesus for who He really is, you must be a changed person. You must come to have a righteousness that brings you into a right relationship with God. You must place faith in Jesus Christ. Only from Christ do we receive an imputed righteousness that makes us acceptable before God.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2Cor. 5:21)