The Gospel According to Simeon

(Luke 2:22-40)

By Rev. Dr. Sergio E. Arevalo, Jr.

Eagle Rock Lutheran Church

Los Angeles, CA

February 02, 2014

Introduction

Let me ask our males here. Are you circumcised? Do you remember when did you underwent circumcision? Why did you go for circumcision?

Jesus was circumcised according the Law of Moses and after 40 days, being a first born son, he was presented in one of the courts of the temple for purification (Lk 2:23). Actually that purification was both of the mother and of the child.

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There was a certain man called Simeon, led by the Holy Spirit, visited the temple and saw the child Jesus. During the presentation Simeon took the infant in his arms and praised God, saying,

“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace according to your promise. Because my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared for all people to see—a light that will reveal salvation to the gentiles and bring glory to your people Israel” (Lk 2:29-32).

Then Simeon blessed Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and afterwards he told Mary,

“This infant is destined to cause many in Israel to fall and rise. Also, he will be a sign that will be opposed. Indeed, a sword will pierce your own soul, too, so that the inner thoughts of many people might be revealed” (Lk 2:34-35).

Who was Simeon?

Simeon was righteous and devout, empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit, and the prophecy about the Messiah was revealed to Him by the Spirit (Luke 2:25-26).

The Apocryphal literature identifies Simeon as a famous man.

Protoevangelium Iacobi affirms that Simeon was a priest who replaced Zechariah.

Blue Letter Bible says that “there was a Simeon who succeeded his father Hillel as president of the Sanhedrin about A.D. 13, and whose son Gamaliel was the Pharisee at whose feet St. Paul was brought up (Acts 22:3). It has been conjectured that he may be the Simeon of St. Luke.”

Evangelium Nicodemi affirms that Simeon was a priest—he and his two sons (Carino and Leucio) were raised from the dead by Christ when He rose from the dead.

There are very few accounts concerning the Simeon of St. Luke. However, the following are sure: Simeon was spirit-filled, with gift of prophecy, guided by the Spirit, and the truth of salvation was revealed to him before He saw the boy Jesus.

Here are the good news according to Simeon:

1. God’s salvation was seen by Simeon (v. 30).   Simeon was waiting for the one who would comfort Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Probably you may ask how come he knew that mystery of God.  Of course, when we are led by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit will tell us what to do unless we don’t want to listen to God and we just want to listen to our acquired knowledge and conscience formed with our education, and experience.

2. God’s salvation was prepared for all people to see (v. 31). Simeon saw the salvation before it was revealed to the writers of the Gospels. In the Gospel according to John, Jesus said,

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Indeed, that salvation was prepared “for all people to see,” in the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John, “the world.” Thus, God’s salvation is not only intended to show off, but also offered to all people to enjoy.

3. God’s salvation is for gentiles and Israel alike (v.32).  Meaning, that salvation is for the Jews, and also for non-Jews alike! Jews were just channels of salvation-since Jesus was from their race and religion, and they should be happy with that. Salvation is not for them alone, salvation is for all Jews and non-Jews alike! Salvation is offered for all!

Conclusion

When Simeon saw the Messiah, he told to Maria and Joseph what he knew about Him and His coming as the Messiah. Anna, a prophetess, heard all about this mystery from Simeon and she thanked God and shared the good news to others “who are waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.”

Anna was very old (ISV), or great age (KJV, RV), or advanced in many days (MKJV). Please do the computation of her age (vv.36-37). 84 years of being widow plus 7 years married life, plus 14 (?) years of being virgin equals 105 years old (?).

Anna was just in the temple worshipping and fasting for the Lord for many years. She was not leaving the temple, but when she saw the Messiah she left the temple and shared the good news to others!

Let me share with you the Parable of the Candles.

There was a blackout one night. When the lights went out, the house keeper fumbled to the closet where he keeps the candles for nights like this … He lit four of them. He was turning to leave with the large candle in his hand when he heard a voice,

“Now, hold it right there.”four_candles

“Who said that?”

“I did.” The voice was near his hand.

“Who are you? What are you?”

“I’m a candle.”

He lifted up the candle to take a closer look. There was a tiny face in the wax. “Don’t take me out of here!”

“What?”

“I said, don’t take me out of this room.”

“What do you mean? I have to take you out. You’re a candle. Your job is to give light. It’s dark out there.”

“But you can’t take me out. I’m not ready,” the candle explained with pleading eyes. “I need more preparation.”

He couldn’t believe his ears. “More preparation?”

“Yeah, I’ve decided I need to research this job of light-giving so I won’t go out and make a bunch of mistakes. You’d be surprised how distorted the glow of an untrained candle can be…”

“All right then,” he said. “You’re not the only candle on the shelf. I’ll blow you out and take the others!”

But right then he heard other voices, “We aren’t going either!”

He turned to the other candles, “You are candles and your job is to light dark places!”

“Well, that may be what you think,” said the first one, “You may think we have to go, but I’m busy … I’m meditating on the importance of light. It’s really enlightening.”

“And you other two,” he asked, “Are you going to stay, too?”

A short, fat, purple candle with plump cheeks spoke up. “I’m waiting to get my life together, I’m not stable enough.”

The last candle had a female voice, very pleasant to the ear. “I’d like to help,” she explained, “but lighting the darkness is not my gift … I’m a singer. I sing to other candles to encourage them to burn more brightly.”

She began a rendition of “This Little Light of Mine.” The other three joined in, filling the closet with singing.

He took a step back and considered the absurdity of it all. Four perfectly healthy candles singing to each other about light but refusing to come out of the closet.

Here is a question for you–when was the last time you shared the light of the gospel to someone?

Are we like those candles? Are we saying alibis like, “Wait, I am not ready yet since I need more preparation.” Or we are saying, “Wait I am still thinking, meditating, praying and fasting.” Or we are saying, “It’s not my gift, I am a musician, I am gardener, I am carpenter, I am a mechanic, or I am a cook.”

This world is full of darkness, with many people stumbling around trying to find their way. We can be a light for them by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Do you want to try this challenge?

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