And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and 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. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. – Luke 2:25-35
What a glorious promise that was given to this faithful man of God! God promised Simeon that he would see the Messiah before he died. We do not know how long Simeon waited for the fulfillment of that promise, but the context suggests he had been looking for the Messiah for quite some time. The Spirit of God brought him to the temple at the very time Mary and Joseph were bring Jesus in and pointed them out to him. This is no coincidence! It is wondrous providence!
Simeon then rejoices in and prophesies about Jesus. One of the most remarkable statements that I find in Simeon’s declaration is this, “I have seen thy salvation.” He did not say, “I have seen the hope or possibility of salvation.” He did not say, “I have seen the beginning of salvation.” He attributes the work of salvation solely to God by saying “thy salvation.” Moreover, he sees the act of salvation the same way God does. Salvation is complete in Jesus Christ. Therefore, when Jesus was born into the world, God’s salvation of His people was as good as done! No matter what man would try to do, God was saving His people.
Next, Simeon gives prophecy about the life of Jesus as the Messiah. As promised, the Messiah came in the flesh and dwelt among men (before the face of all people). He was a light to the Gentiles. As promised, the hope of salvation was to extend beyond the nation of the Jews and show that God has children in every nation of the world.
Mary and Joseph marvel at what is being said, and then Simeon speaks about the true purpose of Jesus coming in the flesh. He is born to die on the cross. Not only so, but Mary will be one of the few believers who remain faithful through this horrible scene. Everyone else, even Peter, turns away.
Like Simeon, we must glory in the birth of Christ at the same time we glory in His death on the cross.
The death of Christ is still a stumbling stone to the proud. But He is still a Rock of salvation to those who are sin sick and need a physician. What a man thinks about the death of Christ on the cross will truly reveal what is in the depths of his heart.