Christmas pageants from years ago bring memories; young boys wearing daddy’s bathrobe while using older brother’s taped Sherwood hockey stick to play the shepherd; shinier night gowns were worn to play the Magi. Young girls wrapped in white sheets with a tinsel wreath on their heads playing the angels as they announced the birth of the Christ-child to the shepherds. It’s interesting how much ‘airtime’ these characters got in the pageants. Even the innkeeper, who is not mentioned once in the Bible, usually made an appearance on the drama. But, one character that I don’t recall seeing in any Christmas pageant was Simeon. In the Bible Simeon was on the scene well before the Magi ever came to see Jesus, and more is mentioned about him, who he was, and what he prophesied, then what is written about the Magi.The brief description that Scripture gives of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35) is a dynamic one. Scripture says that he was waiting for the consolation of Israel, which means he was waiting for the Messiah. It was not a passive waiting, but an active, all-consuming anticipation. He had been promised by God that he would not die before he personally see the Messiah.
Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit was a upon Simeon, which enabled him to hear God’s voice as he was directed by His Spirit to go to the temple, to meet Jesus. It was timed perfectly. This is why he recognized Jesus, as the Messiah, from all the other babies being dedicated in the temple at that time. He walked in Spirit-filled revelation.
Why was the Holy Spirit upon him? Luke described Simeon as living a righteous and devout while he was waiting for the Messiah. Really, his life had one focus! The Holy Spirit was very comfortable being on Simeon and had an easy time directing him to baby Jesus, and revealing to him what to say as he was holding baby Jesus in his arms. While holding the Christ-child, Simeon breaks forth into a prophetic utterance that has become the hope of millions around the globe. He passionately declares that Jesus would be a light for revelation to all Gentiles, and a glory to the people of Israel. What a promise! What hope!
The reality that millions of Gentiles over the centuries have responded to that light, and add to that the word in Romans 11:26, where Paul prophesied that all of Israel will one day be saved, gives tremendous assurance that Simeon was a man anointed by the Spirit to prophecy with irrefutable accuracy. This is exhilarating, and should cause the church to pray into these prophecies with complete assurance, that they will be fulfilled before Jesus returns a second time.
Simeon was chosen by God, to be one of the people that would introduce Jesus to the world. When we think about how we as the church are called to prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ, it is important to consider Simeon. Just like there was a preparing that took place before Jesus came 2000 years ago, of which Simeon played an important part of, scripture teaches that another preparing will need to take place for Jesus to come back a second time.
Jesus is coming back for a spotless, pure, and radiant bride (Eph 5:26-28). The bride will be walking in the righteousness and devotion that Simeon walked in. The bride will be a Spirit filled bride, walking in power and the prophetic, like Simeon (Acts 2:17-19, Jn 14:12, Mk 16:15-18, Eph 4:11-14). It will be a bride devoted to prayer (Rev 5:8, 8:3), and marked by a posture of ‘waiting’ like that of Simeon (Heb 9:28, 10:25, 2 Thess 1:10).
Although the character of Simeon did not make it onto any of the Christmas pageants that I saw, his life stands a poignant prophetic example to us as followers of Jesus. Are we pursuing righteousness? Are our lives marked with a whole-hearted devotion to Jesus? Are we waiting in anticipation for Jesus to return? Are we pursuing the filling of the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18)? Are we hearing from Him and, like Simeon, declaring the truth about Jesus to whoever will listen?
Simeon was ready to meet Jesus; Am I? He was used by God to announce Jesus to the world. Am I being used of God to make this announcement? It won’t necessarily be a popular one to make, but He is coming soon. The announcement needs to be made!
‘Lord, may I walk in the steps of Simeon’.