29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
These few short verses brought about the Song of Simeon or the Canticle of Simeon. The Canticle of Simeon, is a canticle taken from the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, verses 29 through 32. There is a rich tradition herein but I will not drag you through that right now. You can google it, it makes a good read.( a hymn or chant, typically with a biblical text, forming a regular part of a church service.)
Simeon was a righteous and devout man living in Jerusalem and was at the Temple when the parents of Jesus brought him there as was Jewish law for every newborn male. Simeon was looking forward to the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit rested on him. The Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. Simeon was able to hold the baby Jesus, looking upon him he raised his eyes and voice to praise God, uttering the verses above. Here is one of the wonders of the faith….all things happen in God’s time. There was of course the journey made necessary by the decree of Caesar Augustus that a census should be taken. Because he belonged to the house and the line of David, he and Mary who was betrothed to him, she with child, had to also make this journey. So Joseph went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judaea, to David’s town, which is called Bethlehem, from Nazareth to Bethlehem was eighty miles. Here in time Jesus was born, All in God’s time. In Luke 2:21-24 in the Temple, Jesus undergoes three ancient ceremonies every Jewish boy must undergo.
(2) The Redemption of the First-born.
(3) The Purification after Childbirth.
It is here that the dream is realized and Simeon sees God’s instrument of salvation. (vv. 25-35)
There is a back story here we need to know so that all this fits into place. Simeon is present and sees God’s revelation to the world. In the last few verses of this passage lies the back story.
‘His father and mother were amazed at what was said about him. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Look you, this child is appointed to be the cause whereby many in Israel will fall and many rise and for a sign which will meet with much opposition. As for you – a sword will pierce your soul – and all this will happen that the inner thoughts of many hearts may be revealed to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (NRSV)
While the Jewish people regraded their nation as that of the chosen people, they still were able to recognize that they could never rise in the world to the greatness which they believed to be their destiny on their own. They believed that because the Jews were the chosen people they were bound someday to become masters of the world and lords of all the nations. There were some who believed there would be another like King David or someone of celestial origin would come down and the glories of earlier days would reappear again. Then there were those that waited quietly and patiently upon God. They did so in prayer, in worship and with humble and faithful expectation. They waited upon the Lord for the day he would comfort his people, enter Simeon. God had promised Simeon through the Holy Spirit that before he died he would see God’s anointed king. His earlier words in vv. 29-32 would later become one of the great hymns of the Church. We then find in 34 a summery of the work and fate of Jesus.
(1) He will be the cause whereby many will fall.
(2) He will be the cause whereby many people rise.
(3) He will meet with much opposition.
What about that Godly Gift? We find it in verse 32…..
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”
So long ago, so meaningful today all in ‘God’s Time.’
Be patient and wait upon the Lord in faith, better days are ahead.
Life is Good