Summary: At what point in your life are you ready to let go and meet your Savior?
When will you be content to die? This is a strange theme the Sunday after Christmas. Who wants to talk about dying, the day after Christmas or any day for that matter? And to answer the question when will you be content to die? When I asked this question around home and the office the response was b pretty much the same never. But even though this is not a popular conversational topic we will try to tackle it any way.
Is anyone ever ready to die really? In a modern study of death it was discovered that at one stage of dying there is acceptance. People who are dying reach a point where they just stop fighting and decide it is time to accept that fate.
A promising businessman in his 40’s was stricken with cancer. For many months he fought death, but finally late one night he told his wife that he guessed he would have to let go. The next day he died. He accepted his fate, he was content to die and he did.
This concept of being content to die is the topic of our gospel lesson for today. In our gospel lesson we have the story of Simeon. He did not want to die because he wanted to see the Messiah. When he did see the Messiah, he accepted death. Which brought about that beautiful sentence, "Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace." Can any of us be ready, willing and peaceful unless we have seen and known Christ our Messiah? Today we look a little more closely at this ideal of being content to die.
Most people would agree that if they had to decide on when they would be content to die one factor would be once they have fulfilled their life’s ambition. For Simeon that point in his life was when he had seen the Messiah. Our gospel reads, "It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ." What a wonderful idea that we would not die until we had seen the Savior. Simeon’s life ambition was to see his savior before his death. What is your life ambition? What goal do you want to fulfill before you die? Is it to serve you Lord faithfully, be a witness, or a servant of the Word? Or is it something more along the lines of have enough money stored up to live comfortably? Many people live their whole lives with the wrong ambitions. Then they look back at their lives and feel a huge void in their lives. The money, house, and cars, just doesn’t satisfy them. Some of the most miserable people in the world are the rich and famous. Worldly possessions are not the key to happiness or contentment.
Our text tells us a little about Simeon, "Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout." Simeon was a Spirit-possessed man. He did not wait until Pentecost to get the Spirit. We don’t now how or even when Simeon received the Spirit, but we know he had it. We also know that the most important thing in his life was to see his savior, Jesus Christ. We know this because once he saw him and held him he said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace." He didn’t say "Lord, not let me depart once I have gotten my degree, bought my dream house, gotten my dream job, and married my dream spouse." Simeon’s life ambition was to see his savior and it at that point that he was ready to accept death. What do you need to be ready to accept death? What will it take for you to be content to die?
For the Christian we can relate to Simeon. I think if we all where sure beyond any shadow of doubt that if we die we would go to heaven most of us would be content to die right now. If we could see our Savior and hold him maybe we would be content to die. If we could hear from our savior’s mouth that when we die we would be with him in paradise maybe then we would be ready to let good. It comes down to that old saying that, "a bird in the hand beats two in the bush." We know what we have down here on earth. But there is a degree of uncertainty in the hereafter. But you see we have seen Christ. We have seen Christ as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. We have seen him take up his cross and carry it to Calvary. We have seen him rise again on Easter Sunday morning. We have seen him descend back up to heaven. And we will see him come again in glory. We have seen the life of Christ through the eyes of the prophets. We have seen our Messiah by faith. And today the savior is holding us in his arms. He has promised to be with us always. We like Simeon have seen our savior. We have placed our hands in the master’s hands all by faith.