25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. 30 I have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared for all people. 32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!” NLT
There is not much known of the Simeon spoken of in Luke 2. There are no other historical records regarding Simeon that give us a glimpse into his life. What’s written here is all we get. But when you look at these verses you discover an incredible picture of an incredibly godly man; a powerful example of a man whose focus and attention is laser-pointed on God.
The text shows us that Simeon was very old and was probably very close to death. He was righteous and devout. That was not the norm for an Israelite. He lived in a very dark time for Israel. The nation had lost its independence and was occupied by Rome. Its religious leaders were self-righteous, hypocritical leaders full of arrogance, pride, with a “better-than-everyone-else” attitude. They were full of themselves and empty of God. Israel, God’s chosen, was a backslidden, apostate people. But God has always reserved a remnant to himself. And Simeon was one of those. Regardless of his dark surroundings, Simeon lived in the light.
Simeon loved God with a pure heart, and that same heart longed to see the coming of Israel’s Savior. Although the scriptures do not say when God revealed to Simeon that he would see “…the Lord’s Messiah,” it does seem as though it happened many years prior to this story. And it’s something that Simeon never lost sight of over the course of those many years.
Simeon’s hope, faith, and trust was not abandoned due to a prolonged waiting period. He was confident in God’s faithfulness to do what He said, even though it took a long time. And when God said, “Simeon, today’s the day. Get over to the temple,” his ears were still in tune with what God had told him many years before. He knew exactly what was happening. Simeon had never forgotten the promise God made.
More than thirty years later after this event, Jesus tells a parable in Luke 12. Simeon is a vivid example of what Jesus was speaking. Listen to these words.
35 “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning;
36 and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching.” NKJV
Has there ever been anything you believed God spoke to your heart, but still has not come to pass? Let me ask you a question. Is God’s faithfulness subject to our timeline, or is it subject to His infinite wisdom? The answer is obviously the latter. But how often do we lose sight of God’s promise because its manifestation didn’t happen when we wanted to see it happen?
May we be men who never let loose of our faith in God and His promises. May we have the heart and faithfulness of Simeon who, in spite of a long waiting period, still kept his ear peeled for the voice of God, and when he heard, obeyed.
Just think of what his faithfulness and obedience allowed him to witness. What might yours allow you to see?
“Faith is the ‘yes’ of the heart, a conviction on which one stakes one’s life.”
– Martin Luther