Chosen by God to be part of His story: Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the Magi. And now Simeon. Simeon, not spoken to by God in a dream, as the Magi were. Not spoken to by angels as Zechariah, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds were. But Simeon, aged, waiting for the Messiah, having had it revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he’d not die until he’d been able to see the Lord’s Christ with his own eyes. Simeon, taking the child into his arms and praising God, prophecying by the Spirit. Simeon, whose long-wished-for Savior had arrived, speaking words that cause Mary and Joseph to marvel. Words that cause my own heart, these two thousand years later, to leap for joy.
“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. 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, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:25-35)
The very old. The barren. A virgin. The outcasts. The foreigners. Each chosen to play a part in the Plan written from before the foundation of the world. The Plan, from of old; the ruler, Jesus, coming forth from ancient days. Jesus, come so that the thoughts of many hearts might be revealed. Jesus, come to set His people free.
“…from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.”
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.
Hymn: Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus by Charles Wesley, 1745
Painting: The Aged Simeon by James Tissot