As we all are quickly approaching the traditional celebration of the Holiday of Christmas, I was moved to revisit the Biblical record of the powerful prophetic writings from the prophets and the apostles concerning the physical coming of Jesus of Nazaret as The Messiah.
As I read through the most commonly told accounts about Jesus, I was drawn toward one person who is perhaps mentioned once in the Gospels. Below is my account of this man’s story and how his unique encounter with The Messiah, may be a blessing for all of us during this time of year, as well as throughout our lives.
Waiting to Embrace and Behold the Comforter
There was a man who was in the decline of his life and was ready to die. His reputation was that he was a righteous and good man throughout his life. His occupation was unclear, some contend that he was a priest, other states that he was a prophet of the Most High. Nonetheless, he indeed was a God-fearer, thus avoiding all evil and bad conversation. He was as they say, beyond reproach before mankind and His Creator.
One of his most important desires if not his inner passion were to embrace and behold the comforter that would relieve his soul. Throughout his long life, he had witnessed corruption, wickedness, and extreme variance within his immediate family and his nation. For years, he believed that the very wrath of God had fallen on his nation and his people. His only daily hope was an internalized inspiration that he was blessed with that he would not taste death until he witnessed with his eyes, The Lord’s Messiah!
The Embodiment of the Law, Prophets, and Holy Spirit
This man in question had the eye of faith, he was constantly steadfast in all of the known promises of those who came before him, as he knew and practiced all the required sacrifices that were required by law until something remarkable happened to him that forever changed his life!
At the appointed time, God had led him to go to the temple one day, where he encountered this couple with a child. It was at this time that this man, whose name was Simeon, would become enraptured with unspeakable joy when he took the child whose name was Immanuel [God with Us], from Joseph and Mary, who brought Immanuel to the temple to be dedicated to the Creator.
As Simeon embraced Him with all affection, honor, and reverence, he praised God and gave glory to Him for His goodness in sending The Messiah [the Anointed, long-awaited Savior for all eternity]. Over 2000 years ago, Brother Simeon is on record as speaking these life-giving words that are written below, which are taken from the Book of Common Prayer, 1662 and is written later, by Messiah’s disciple Luke in Luke 2:29-32:
Lord, now let Thou 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;
To be a Light to Lighten the Gentiles and to be the Glory of Thy people Israel.
Simeon was very blessed to behold, embrace and recognize that Jesus who was born in Bethlehem was the physical embodiment of the Word, and the soul Savior and the Light for all people. Until the actual coming of Immanuel into the world, our age, and our lives, we only knew the rule of God through the Mosaic Law and the prophets. As Simeon witnessed Immanuel before his eyes, from that moment until the end of this age, the Word and rule of God are proclaimed and experienced in a personal, intimate way. This is made possible by the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit within the individual worldwide.
Some Closing Thoughts
This story of Simeon offers so much powerful spiritual blessings to our soul-care. Case in point, it is so easy to say that the Mosiac Law has no power nor influence in the role of God’s plan of redemption, not true, Messiah is the embodiment of all of Scripture.
Luke 2 record of this story uses Simeon v.25, Anna v. 36, Elizabeth and Zacharias, Luke 1:7 to highlight this truth, that they all were advanced in an age which implies that they represented the old means in which God worked prior to the coming Messiah. As Simeon was passing away, so was the Mosiac dispensation and presentation of the move of God in His gradual unfolding of His plan of redemption.
Another reality that is noted in this teaching is how before that actual outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, God had filled Elizabeth, John the Baptist, and Simeon as well as others. This reformational change is the very representation of the new era of the Kingdom of God which The Messiah implemented in His coming, which is readily available to those who are willing to encounter Messiah on God’s terms.
Finally, Immanuel offers Light and Salvation for all nations, not only Israel but to non-Jewish nations by bringing His glory, grace, mercy, loving kindness and shalom to all who will behold His presence while acknowledging and following Him as Lord of their lives.
Grace and Peace