We are in a verse-by-verse study of the Book of Luke. Last times we looked at Luke 2:1-20, which tells us of the birth of our Lord. Today’s text tells us what happens 8 days after the birth of our Lord. The main passage is known as the Song of Simeon. And studying this song this past week has brought to my mind many other songs, as well. For example, given the fact that Mary’s child is called “Jesus,” which means Savior or Deliverer, I reflected yet again on the irony that Mary would deliver this child who was, Himself, her deliverer. We recall the song . . .
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.
We have in today’s verses the Song of Simeon, and we may even refer to the words of Anna, also mentioned in this text, as a song, too.
Few of us would claim to be masters of the discipline of waiting. Most of us know what it is like to go to a place like the doctor’s office, sign the board at the window, or log in at the kiosk, of the receptionist’s area and then sit down to wait. Or, perhaps we have had the privilege of going to the office of some government agency and “taking a number,” waiting for our name to be called. Then some of us are familiar with going for that job interview, sitting for what seems an eternity, waiting for someone to come and ask us why they should hire us. Waiting. If you had asked Simeon what his plans were on this 8th day after the birth of Jesus, he would very likely say that he would do the same thing he had done the day before – wait. This was what he did every day. Verse 25 identifies him as one who was waiting for the Consolation of Israel.
The “Consolation of Israel” is Jesus Christ and all things pertaining to Him. People in the Old Testament were saved the same way as people in the New Testament and today.
Old Testament believers looked forward
To the Messiah who would come.
New Testament believers look back
To the Messiah who has come.
In some sense, we might even say that Old Testament believers had a greater faith than we do today. For generations, they looked forward to the coming Messiah, their Savior, the Consolation of Israel:
Come thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
As we look today at verses 22 through 40, we think of one of the choruses that says . . .
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
Little wonder, then, our Lord Jesus refers to Himself in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” We learn several things in these verses . . .
I. We Must Wait On The Lord.
To wait is to trust. The Bible says in Psalm 27:14, “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!”
- Wait on the Lord to answer your prayer. How long did Simeon wait?
- Wait on the Lord to guide your steps. Impatience caused Abraham and Sarah to get ahead of God’s will for them. An inability to fully wait on the Lord and trust solely in Him kept Moses from entering the Promised Land.
- Wait on the Lord…Trust Him to meet your need – Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” … Philippians 4:19, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
- Wait on the Lord to help you through your times of struggle – 1 Peter 5:7,
- Wait on the Lord to work things for His glory and your good – Romans 8:28-29, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,”
God has a plan for you, and He is working it out. It is a perfect plan this week, this month, this year, and every year. He knows what He is doing in your life, in your school, in your career, and in your relationships. Patiently trust Him. Simeon lived for the Lord, so must we.
Take some time every day to get alone with God and bow your head and read His Word. Say, “I trust you with my life today, Lord.” We must wait on the Lord.
Another truth we learn is . . .
II. We Must Worship The Lord.
Both Simeon and Anna had a love for God’s house. The Bible locates both of these folks at the temple in Jerusalem. Simeon comes “by the Spirit into the temple” (verse27) and of Anna it is said in verse 37 that she “did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” What a wonderful, godly example Anna is for women and single moms today! There was nothing particularly exceptional about this woman, nothing that suggested she was somehow gifted with more spirituality than other women.
Anna was simply a woman
Who loved to worship the Lord.
She did not depart from the temple. Today we might say, “She was always in church.” There are many places women may go today. Today’s family, especially, the single-mom family, is challenged with taking the kids from one sporting event to another. There is a league for this and a club for that, and women shuttle their kids from one hectic event to another. To make Christian living even more challenging, many of these events are now held on Sundays. So, off the family goes in feverish pace, intent on maximizing all the opportunities for youthful growth, discipline, and recreation. To make matters worse, many moms and dads seek validation from others in their respective “busyness,” hoping somehow their packed schedules demonstrate their ability to victoriously conquer so much or earn for them the “Star of Approval” in the parenting prowess.
But what of the discipline of Christian worship? Why must worship take the back seat in today’s American family?
Could anything possibly be more important
Than a family’s being together in God’s house?
It is not an “either, or” as though we have to choose one and not the other. But certainly, we will value the discipline of Christian worship above the frantic and frenetic running around creation with kids in tow simply to make the next “big event!” When they are adults most of our kids will forget our running them around when they were small to make the next T-Ball game or the band concert, but they will be eternally grateful for the spiritual disciplines we taught them.
Simeon represents a real man!
Here is a man of God who
Has his priorities right.
I love the statement in verse 29, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word.” Here is a faithful, fruitful child of God who says, “Now, I’m ready to die.”
It is hard not to hear the Apostle Paul in this. He says in Philippians 1:20-21, “Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Simeon speaks like one for whom the grave has lost its terrors, and the world its charms. When worship of the Lord becomes something we do not just on Sundays, but every day, then the grave loses its terrors, and the world its charms.
Worship is living for the Lord.
It is bowing to
His “Number Oneness”
Every moment of every day.
Is He number one?
- Is He number one in the way you choose to spend your time?
- Is He number one in the way you choose to use your talents?
- Is He number one in the way you choose to use your treasure?
Does your living reflect He’s really number one?
Notice, a third truth . . .
III. We Must Witness For The Lord.
Simeon says in verse 30 that the Lord Jesus Christ is the “salvation” of the Lord. He says in verse 30, “For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples.” Then Simeon refers to Christ in verse 32 as, “a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and all the glory of Your people Israel.” Whatever else verse 32 means, it certainly means that . . .
The scope of the Gospel
Is universal in its appeal.
Here is good news for
Both Gentiles and Israel.
This theme is introduced earlier in chapter when the angel of the Lord stood before the shepherds and said in verse 10, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” All people, regardless of race, nationality, goodness, or badness. John the Baptist will continue to trumpet the universal appeal of the Gospel when he quotes from Isaiah the prophet in Luke 3:6, “All flesh will see the salvation of God.”
Here is a reminder that . . .
Our Lord’s Commission in Acts 1:8
Is that His church share the Gospel
Not only in their community,
But also to the continents.
John’s glimpse of heaven in Revelation 5 includes a new song sung by the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders. The Bible says that they each have a harp and they fall down before the Lord Jesus Christ and sing, “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”
God loves all the people of all the nations. The old hymn we often sing drives home this point . . .
We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
That shall turn their hearts to the right,
A story of truth and mercy,
A story of peace and light,
A story of peace and light.
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noonday bright;
And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
The kingdom of love and light.
God’s heart is big not only for the people of our community, but for the people of the continents. God’s heart is big for the nations. I trust we will each be faithful in fulfilling the Great Commandment (Matthew 36-39) which will lead us to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). I trust that in our community, you share the Gospel with at least one person this week. One person at work or in your family or at school or in your community who does not know Jesus as Savior and Lord. Maybe just one seems like a small task. But if we each take time to share with one person this week then we will make a greater difference in our community for the cause of Christ.
Have our eyes seen God’s salvation in Jesus Christ? If so, we will not fear death. We can say, with Simeon, “Let your servant depart in peace.” There is no fear in death if we have been saved. If we have not been saved, we have every reason to be afraid. If we have not been saved from our sin, we have every reason to be anxious about death. The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The Bible says in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death.” And In Isaiah 64:6, the Bible says, “We are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” The only way to see God’s salvation is to see and accept the One Whom Simeon saw and accepted – the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is God’s Word …
This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”