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Luke 2:25-35

29 Dec

At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!” Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
Luke 2:25-35

Dear God, there was something about Simeon that he could see through his own preconceived notions of what the Messiah would be. He could hear your voice and use his particular insight to try to prepare Mary for the future. While Zechariah and even Mary herself were prophesying all of the great things you would do, Simeon tells Mary that many within Israel will fall. He says that many will oppose him. He says that the deepest thoughts (darkest secrets?) of hearts will be revealed. And most presciently, Mary’s soul will be pierced.

Of course, it is easy to see how he was right because we have the benefit of knowing the story. I was recently watching a “reaction video” on YouTube. A young man was watching Casablanca for the first time. One thing that occurred to me years ago is that we have the benefit of knowing history when we watch that movie. The Germans lose. Hitler dies. Our side wins. But this movie was filmed shortly after Pearl Harbor and released later that year in 1942–two years before D Day. Three years before V-E Day or V-J Day. They didn’t know how things were going to end. In fact, at that point, things didn’t look good for our side. When you layer that over the top of the telling of this story, it makes it that much more remarkable.

Going back to Simeon, I wonder how his own prophecy made him feel. I wonder if it surprised him. I’m sure it surprised Mary and Joseph. I’ve said before that I’m sure it would have shocked Zechariah and Mary to know how John the Baptist’s and Jesus’s lives met with murder at the hands of Herod and the Jewish people, respectively. I’m sure Mary didn’t expect Jesus to need to be resurrected in the first place. So did Simeon see Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, feel moved, and then just start prophesying things he’d never thought before? How did he feel about this prophecy? As he sat and watched people in the Temple every day, did it surprisingly make a lot of sense to him?

Father, I guess the point of all of this is that the only way I can really see what is going on is if I listen to your voice. I cannot reason my way to the right conclusions. I cannot understand what you are doing in this life or that one. I don’t even understand what you’re doing in my life. But you are working. I trust that you are working. Thank you for doing so much more than I can see.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2021 in Luke

 

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