“Waiting for Consolation”
This part of Jesus’ birth story is fascinating. It describes a man who had been waiting and longing for the “consolation of Israel.” Simeon was a man who was aware of all of the hopes and longings of his people, and nurtured the hopes of the coming Messiah, immersed in the promises of God, especially those in the book of the prophet Isaiah. He was waiting to see God fulfill all of His promises and redeem and restore His people. He recognized the brokenness of the world and longed for God to act. Somehow, he knew by the Holy Spirit that he would see God at work. And that day came. He saw the Messiah as just a baby boy in the Temple.
Simeon’s story can be our story. We, like Simeon, need to nurture the hopes and longings of Christ’s return. We need to be immersed in God’s promises of faithfulness and steadfast love so that our eyes are open to see God at work. Just because there is darkness and brokenness in the world does not mean God is not present. Jesus proves that even in difficult and confusing circumstances, God is present and at work.
This season is an opportunity to have our eyes open and our hearts ready to see Jesus. Just like Simeon, we need to be ready to be led by the Spirit to the place we can see Jesus more clearly. And when we see Jesus, may we praise God like Simeon did, our “eyes see your salvation.”
Jesus Presented at the Temple
22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 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. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
The Servant of the Lord
1 Listen to me, O coastlands,
and give attention, you peoples from afar.
The Lord called me from the womb,
from the body of my mother he named my name.
2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword;
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow;
in his quiver he hid me away.
3 And he said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
4 But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my right is with the Lord,
and my recompense with my God.”
5 And now the Lord says,
he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him;
and that Israel might be gathered to him—
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord,
and my God has become my strength—
6 he says:
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!