By Greg Steele
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Jasper
No one likes to wait. But we wait in traffic, in car lines, in grocery stores, in drive-thru’s, for the doctor, for a spouse, for a baby, for retirement, for sermons to get over and for Jesus to return.
To set the story, Jesus has been sent from heaven and entered human history. The Promised Messiah is now here. Our text takes us to Jerusalem for an event that occurred 40 days after the very first Christmas.
When Jesus was 8 days old, He was circumcised, as prescribed by the Law, Leviticus 12:3. While they were there, a special event occurred. Two old saints of God, Simeon and Anna, had been guided to the Temple by the Holy Spirit. They were part of a faithful Jewish remnant that were looking for the appearing of the Messiah. When they met Jesus that day, even though He was just an eight-day old infant, they were overjoyed and began to lift up praises to the Lord.
In Luke 2:26-30, Simeon praised God because he had been told he would not die until he had seen Christ, the Jewish Messiah, and the Savior of the world for himself. When old Simeon sees Jesus, he is notified by the Spirit that this is Him and Simeon begins to praise the Lord because of who had entered the world.
Jesus is described in verse 26 as the “Lord’s Messiah” and in verse 30 as the Lord’s “salvation.” Simeon understood who He was, but few others did!
On the night Jesus was born, some humble shepherds became aware of who He was. Some Heavenly angels knew who He was. However, the priest who circumcised Him did not know. The other people in the Temple that day did not know. The folks in Bethlehem also did not know who this very special baby was. Sadly, a lot of people today do not know who this Child was and is.
As Simeon praises God the Father for the baby Jesus, we are told that He has come to change the whole world. The ministry He will fulfill will impact the Jewish nation and it will even reach into the Gentile world.
Basically, Simeon is reminding us that Jesus came into this world to save all those who will come to Him by faith. Whether a person is a Jew or a Gentile; Jesus came to provide salvation to all who will receive Him. That is the promise of the Word of God found in John 3:16 and Revelation 22:17.
The truth that Jesus came into this world to set us free from our sins is a real reason for praise! That He would love us enough to die for us and to save us by His grace is a thought beyond what the mind can really perceive! If we can’t find any other reason to praise the Lord, surely, we can praise Him because He loved us so much that He endured the pain, the shame and the horror of the cross to set us free from our sins!
Simeon continues his praise by foretelling what Jesus would accomplish in His life. Many in Israel would stumble over the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus. They would stumble in rejection and conviction, but a few would rise again in salvation.
Jesus is our only hope. We will never know what a little testimony, a little praise, a little witness for Jesus will accomplish! God can take the sacrifice of praise we offer in His name and use it to turn hearts toward Him.