More than a week has passed since the busy-ness of the Christmas season. Before the promise of a New Year recedes into the clutter and crush of our culture, let’s take a closer look at an encounter that occurred 40 days after Jesus was born.
“And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord [*vv. 23-24] … And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus … then he [Simeon] took Him into his arms, and blessed God …” (Luke 2:22-35) *The O.T. context in Leviticus 12.
Simeon’s embrace of the infant Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem shows us clues how to embrace Jesus in our lives as well. The language of verse 28 indicates that Simeon literally took hold of Jesus into the curve of his bent arm in order to “receive” or “grant access” to Jesus [δέχο&αι] into his life.
A closer observation of Simeon’s embrace reveals seven aspects instructive for us as we allow Jesus into our everyday lives:
- Simeon is called “righteous” … meaning his thoughts, feelings and actions were wholly conformed to God’s will. (v. 25)
- He was “devout” … which meant he was actively taking hold of good … “acting well.” (v. 25)
- Simeon was “looking” for the Messiah … with the “expectation of fulfillment” (v. 25) … what a wonderful description of faith! Compare Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not yet seen.”
- He carefully paid attention to truths God “revealed” to him. (v. 26)
- The Holy Spirit … mentioned three times in three verses … guided Simeon’s steps (vv. 25-27). How much more will the Holy Spirit guide us since He now resides within us! … something Simeon had not experienced.
- His immediate response to holding the infant Jesus in his arms was to “bless God” … celebrating with praise and worship the God who fulfilled His promises.
- Simeon’s worship and praise of God, followed by his statements to Mary and Joseph, were all in accordance with God’s Word (v. 29) as he freely spoke prophetic truth to them (vv. 30-35).
As we continue to step into all that 2017 has in store for us, let’s fully embrace Jesus as Simeon did!