Sunday, December 25, 2011

Devotion 24. Simeon’s Testimony

The Holy Spirit was active in proclaiming the birth of Christ. He spoke though Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah to announce Messiah’s birth. He led wise men from the East to Christ.

But he was not through. Next he spoke through an old man named Simeon.

Luke 2:22 begins the story. Joseph and Mary were devout Jews. They brought their first born to the temple for purification and to redeem him for the Lord according to the covenant law. That is where they met Simeon.

Simeon was righteous and devout. He knew his Scripture and was looking for the Messiah. The Holy Spirit had even told him he would live to see the Messiah (25). And God kept his word, of course. So Simeon saw the baby Jesus, took him from his mother and held him up and blessed God for fulfilling his promises, both his promise to Simeon and his promise to Israel.

As the others had spoken in the Holy Spirit, so Simeon began to prophesy or preach. He said:

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

The Holy Spirit declared God’s purpose again. Christ would be a light not just for the Jews, but for the Gentiles. He would be the glory of Israel. That is, he would be the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to them. It is the same truth we have heard repeatedly. God made his purposes known.

I wonder if Mary told her other sons about this experience. They evidently did not believe in him until his resurrection. But, maybe while they complained to her about his controversial preaching, she related this story.

James became the leader of the church in Jerusalem. After the gospel spread to the Gentiles and they formed a vibrant church at Antioch, some Jews tried to enforce the law on them. A conference was held in Jerusalem between the representatives of the Antioch church and the apostles. It is recorded in Acts 15. James was clearly in charge.

James had the final word. He said the conversion of the Gentiles was the fulfillment of the word of God in the Hebrew scriptures. And they, and the Jews, were now part of a new covenant. The old law was not in force against them. James understood the purpose of God as preached in the Old Testament and by Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah and Simeon.

Simeon understood the gospel and believed it. He encountered Christ, even as a baby, and found eternal life. He was at peace and ready for God to take him.

May we have the same peace. We have found eternal life through faith in Christ. Those who believe in him will not perish but rather will have eternal life. John 3:16. Because we have eternal life, we can start every day saying if it is your will to take me today, I will depart in peace for I have seen your salvation.
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