Short Meds in Getting Ready in Covid-Advent: 28. Welcome
Lk 2:25 “there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon.”
Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus, as we saw yesterday, walk in to Jerusalem to go to the temple to present Jesus to God, offer sacrifices and pay the redemption money for him.
We often think no one was expecting God to turn up after four hundred years of silence from heaven. Zechariah certainly hadn’t been and Mary was surprised, but there is a Spirit-filled believer living either in Jerusalem or nearby, open to the Spirit’s guidance: “the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.” (Lk 2:25,26) What an example! A man with a heart open to God who, despite living in spiritually dark days, heard God. Moreover, “Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.” (v.27)
Three mentions of the Spirit, and so when the little family arrives, perhaps it is not surprising that he prays with prophetic understanding (v.29-32) and goes on to bless them with further prophetic understanding (v.34,35). In this day he is quite remarkable and stands out like a candle in the darkness.
In some ways he is the biggest challenge in the whole story. The others – Zechariah, Mary and Joseph – all had strong angelic visitations that impelled them along the course they are now on, but Simeon has no such strong encounters, just that of the Holy Spirit. He is not called a prophet (unlike Anna who follows) but an ordinary “righteous and devout” believer who is clearly open to God. Thus, when all around have given up any great expectations of God turning up for their nation and have resorted to ritual and law-based religion, this man is a demonstration of a child of God who is open to the Spirit and thus finds himself in a place where he is able to welcome the Messiah-child and bless his parents in prayer and prophecy.
In the post-birth accounts we are seeing examples that should challenge us as we near the end of the present dark year and wonder about the year to come. The shepherds with their open hearted, joyful reception of the good news, the wise men who traveled hundreds of miles to worship and bless God, Mary and Joseph who come in obedience with grateful and thankful hearts, and now Simeon, living in the Spirit, open to God, yearning for God, available to God, and who receives the privilege of blessing both God and His instruments who have been the vessels to bring the Son of God onto the world’s stage. Dare we pray, “Lord, make me like this old man, open to your Spirit when others are missing out. May I be light in the darkness.”