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Simeon – A Man We Can Model Ourselves After

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” (Luke 2:25)

In Luke chapter 2, right after baby Jesus is presented in the temple, we meet a man named Simeon. There are a few descriptions given of him that require our attention. And we will also see how this a man that we should model ourselves after. He was waiting for the Messiah to come for the first time and we are eagerly waiting for and looking for His second coming.

The first description of Simeon was that he was “just and devout.” (v.25) Saying he was just meant he was righteous before God. The second part of him being “devout” catches my attention. The Greek word is eulabēs and means “taking hold well.” It carries the idea of taking hold of something in a good way. The word also means to be cautious or careful. In fact, the name Simeon means “harken,” which means to listen. We find in Simeon the wonderful qualities of being right with God and being a good receiver. He is a listener. As we will see these qualities help in wonderful ways.

Next, the passage tells us Simeon was “waiting for the Consolation of Israel.” He was not waiting passively but actively waiting. In other words he was looking for Jesus to come. What a beautiful and fascinating sentence: “waiting for the Consolation of Israel.” The Greek word for consolation will be familiar to some of us – paraklēsis. This is closely related to the word for the person of the Holy Spirit, the Paraklētos. Both words mean “a calling near, summons, (esp. for help)” The word also means to comfort or console. Maybe Simeon had a long, hard life. Maybe he need consoling more than many. Either way, the nation of Israel and the world was in great need of consolation. They needed the Messiah to come along side them. This was about to happen and Simeon knew it. We can learn from Simeon and wait (actively) for the One who will come along side us once again.

Let’s continue with this beautiful story. “And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” (v.26) What a beautiful and special promise. Simeon got that beautiful revelation because he was righteous and one who listened and one who learned how to “take hold well.” You see, God is no respecter of persons but He does work in certain ways. He is close to those who have an active, listening heart.

Then Simeon was led by the Holy Spirit into the temple where he would find baby Jesus. He took Him up in his arms and said:

Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation
.” (vv.29-30)

We take for granted the knowledge of Jesus coming as a baby. But this was not common knowledge in Simeon’s day. In fact, the dominant thought was that the Messiah would come as ruling King, who would liberate Israel in the natural. So, for Simeon to have “seen” salvation in the form of an infant is astonishing. This is another key of Simeon of a type we want to model ourselves after – He saw in the Spirit, which overcame what he saw in the natural. Like Simeon, this day is requiring us to be people who see in the Spirit. We must allow the Holy Spirit to strip away the natural so we can see the Messiah where He actually is.

Don’t you see we share many things with Simeon? We are both actively waiting for the coming of Jesus. We are in great need of consolation like him. The great news is that the person of the Holy Spirit is by the side of those who have accepted Jesus. Ask for a heart like Simeon – just and one who listens, receives well and sees in the Spirit.

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