Not much is said about Simeon. We know very little about him outside of this brief appearance in the Book of Luke. Chances are, most people have never heard a sermon about him, read a book with his life story, went to a 16 week Bible study reviewing his life accomplishments…there will never be a Hannah-Barbara cartoon depicting his exploits, nor will Christian kids be fighting for the Simeon action figure at the local Family Bookstore.
But yet, his life’s quest speaks volumes about the way we should be living our lives. “Now there was a man named Simeon who lived in Jerusalem. He was a righteous man and very devout. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he eagerly expected the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit 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, “Lord, now I can die in peace! As you promised me, I have seen the Savior you have given to all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!” (Luke 2:25-32).
This passage says that Simeon was a righteous man (dikaios) meaning straight or upright. This is used to describe many in the Old Testament as right with God in heart and in action. While we are not told much about him, the little we have communicates quite a bit.
Simeon waited on God. Period. In the midst of terrible times, he awaited his God with incredible patience. This is the same faithfulness that the slaves have for their master’s return, anticipating his next move or directions. We see it also referring to 5 of the 10 virgins mentioned in Matthew 24. Five were READY with extra oil for their lamps, not knowing the exact moment the bridegroom would return…but they knew he would. The other 5 were careless and apathetic and watched their lamps burn out. We’re waiting, but are we ready for the times when God moves?
Simeon put His trust in God. He wasn’t just faithful but full of faith. You’ve got to have a great deal of patience to follow that dream for an unspecified amount of time but probably at least several decades. Simeon didn’t focus on circumstances, deplorable conditions around him, or even ridicule. Undoubtedly there were times that he doubted the voice of God, through the years…”maybe I’m wrong, maybe I missed it.” But he continued to trust.
Simeon longed for God. He constantly had the big picture in mind…God spoke, He will act…but in His time. And at the appointed time, he walked into the temple and saw Jesus. In the world’s eyes he appears to be a loser? That’s all he gets to do? See Jesus’ face? What about John the Baptist? He got to preach, insult King Herod, baptize thousands in the Jordan River. Peter? John? They got to walk with Jesus, see His miracles, hear His best stories, become leaders in the early Church. Pssssh. How does Simeon’s miniscule life compare with that. Where’s the glory and glamour in that? What’s the significance? That’s all Simeon lived for…to see the face of his Savior. Shouldn’t we?
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised…my eyes have seen your salvation.”