That’s my new grandson's name.
He's named after Simeon in the Bible. Simeon appears in Luke 2 as an old man who spends a lot of time with God. When the time came for Mary’s purification after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and she brought the baby to Jerusalem to offer a pair of doves or two young pigeons as it said in the law of the Lord. There was Simeon.
Luke tells us Simeon was righteous and devout. He was waiting for “the consolation of Israel”—the Messiah. The Holy Spirit was upon him. In fact, the Holy Spirit had told him he wouldn’t die before he saw the Lord’s Christ.
How long before this had the Lord told him that? How long had Simeon waited, growing old, watching others of his generation pass away without seeing the Promise? He must have been always looking, always expecting, always asking, “Lord, is this the one?” He had to stay close to God. If his heart were not in tune with the Spirit’s nudging, he might miss this marvelous thing the Lord had for him.
And then one day he felt compelled by the Spirit to go into the temple courts. Did he resist? Did he say to himself, “I was just there yesterday. I’ll go this afternoon after I...”? No. He went.
When he arrived, the temple courts may have been crowded. The little family who had come in from Bethlehem didn’t appear to be anyone special. The city was full of visitors because of this crazy Roman census. They would be easy to miss. But Simeon didn’t miss them. He was walking so close to God that even in a crowd, he picked Jesus out. He took the baby in his arms, and he said,
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
a light to lighten the Gentiles,
and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:29-32)
That’s the King James Version. Usually I use the NIV, but in high school we sang a beautiful rendition of these words, and I have never forgotten them.
Simeon saw beyond the narrow confines of his culture. He knew the salvation this little child brought was for ALL people—a light for the Gentiles as well as the Jews. “For revelation” the NIV says, so the Gentiles can see God.
Simeon knew salvation would not come easily. “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel,” he said. God’s salvation would disrupt the status quo. Simeon was an old man, and the old often prefer the status quo. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know and all that. But Simeon embraced the new—literally. He held the future in his arms.
Salvation would be painful, costly. “A sword will pierce your own soul too,” Simeon told Mary. Did the Spirit who showed him this was the child, also show him the cross? As he held that tiny infant in his arms, did he foresee how that body would be broken for him, the blood that ran through those tiny veins poured out to accomplish the glorious salvation he spoke of?
Little Simeon, I pray that you will be like your namesake; that you will recognize Jesus from an early age and run to embrace him as he did. I pray that you will be patient and sensitive to the Holy Spirit; that you will follow his nudges to be in the right place at the right time to receive every precious gift that God has for you. I can’t help wondering if you will have your namesake’s vision of a great Kingdom for ALL people. Perhaps God will call you to be a preacher or a missionary to some as yet unreached people group to open their eyes so they can see God’s Salvation.
May you be as wise as Simeon to recognize that things are complicated, even Salvation. May you embrace God’s plan even when it disrupts your own comfortable life. Everything in me wants to protect you right now. You are so tiny and vulnerable. But you will know pain. I pray that when it comes, you would lift it up as an offering to God; that you would see in it God working to make you like your Elder Brother, that Salvation your namesake embraced so long ago.
All this I pray for you, my precious little one.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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