“On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord’), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: ‘a pair of doves or two young pigeons.’ Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.’ The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.’” Luke 2:21-35
Waiting, praying, watching, it was Simeon’s life. Every day, would this be the day? Every time someone came into the Temple, would this be the One? Was Simeon up in years? Was he old with death close by? Was he at that age when instead of it being a faraway, someday, reality, it was a close up, perhaps today, reality? We don’t know. We do know God had spoken to Simeon and given him an amazing promise. He would not see death until he saw the Lord’s Christ.
When surveys are taken asking people what they most fear, death often tops the list. But for the believer, death is not something to be feared, it is a transition. It is the ahhh moment when we finally reach home after a long destination. It’s the joy of seeing our family again after a long separation. It’s the amazing wonder of being in a place we have never experienced and yet knowing it is home. It’s glory, joy, peace, love, and a host of words we do not know because mere words are not big enough to describe the wonders that God has prepared for those who love Him.
No, Simeon was not afraid to die, but he was afraid to miss the miraculous. He knew it was close. He had studied the Scriptures. He may have looked closely at Daniel and figured out the timeline. He may have poured over the Psalms and Isaiah and had that deep awareness that the Christ would soon make His appearance. Luke 2:25 tells us he was righteous and devout and he was waiting for the consolation of Israel. It says he was waiting, looking forward to that day. Simeon also had heard from God and God said he would live to see it.
No, death would not come for Simeon, until the Lord came.
The day dawned and the Holy Spirit urged Simeon to head to the Temple. It might have looked like an ordinary day to everyone else. But this was no ordinary day. Jesus was coming.
Simeon saw a mother, a father, and a Baby. They had come to fulfill the Law of Moses to present Him to the Lord. Simeon knew, because he saw with eyes that went beyond just seeing, he was SEEING straight into the face of God. Imagine the joy, the awe as he reached out and took this Child in his arms. “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
Simeon, in just a few short words, was declaring that this One, this Child, this Savior had come and He came for EVERYONE! Salvation, revelation, and glory had come for Israel and for the Gentiles. Salvation had come and it was going to be for all who were living then, for all who were living afterward, and for all who are living today, offered for all of us and our children and grandchildren. But just like Simeon, we have to reach out and take hold of the Savior.