Behold Simeon (After Christmas Message)

Photo by Jens Johnsson:

Luke 2:25-26 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. (26) And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

Throughout the Scripture there are times when God gives us a STOP sign. He puts a behold” (the Greek ἰδού idoú, [pronounced id-oo’]) in the text. When Joseph discovered Mary was with Child, he slept, and

Matthew 1:20 … behold (idoú) the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

Gabriel’s appearance demanded a behold, and so did what the Angel had to say to Joseph:

Matthew 1:23 … behold (idoú) a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

As the Wise Men came to see Jesus as a young toddler in Bethlehem (I’ll preach on this Sunday) we see three beholds in Matthew 2:1, 9 &13. There are beholds all through the ministry of Jesus as Jesus was baptized, and taught, and healed, and revealed the truths of God. Now we see a man in the Temple. This man’s name is Simeon. We are not given his family tree, nor his race, nor even his age. We know that he is Jewish because the name Simeon is a Jewish name. His name has an interesting meaning.

Simeon means “He that hears and obeys”.

God throughout Scripture has told us that the way to blessing is to follow the Lord. The Psalmist said:

Psalm 1:1-4 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Life is about the choices we make. We can hear what God says and follow our own path, or we can hear what God says and follow God. God told Israel:

Deuteronomy 28:1-7 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. 3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. 5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. 6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. 7 The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.

Israel was saved from Egypt by God Almighty. Israel walked through the Red Sea as if on dry land. God fed Israel manna from Heaven, and meat in the wilderness. As long as Israel followed the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of cloud by night, she was blessed. As long as Israel heard and obeyed God’s Voice, she was blessed. But when Israel got off course of following God, she was cursed.

Jesus told us:

Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

This has nothing to do with salvation itself. Salvation is by faith in Christ. One of my favorite texts are:

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by GRACE are ye saved through faith, AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.

Because Jesus “by the Grace of God tasted death for every man”, taking our sin upon Him, we are saved IF we believe on Him. Someone asked Jesus once,

John 6:28 … What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Jesus told them,

John 6:29 … THIS is THE WORK OF GOD, that you BELIEVE ON HIM Whom God {the Father} HATH SENT

Salvation is by faith in Christ, But BLESSING is by obedience!

Simeon is in the Temple. Why is he in the Temple? Our text tells us:

Luke 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

Simeon is clearly a man saved by faith. How do we know this? Because the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost, if you prefer) is revealing things to him. Jesus told us that when the Holy Spirit came, that He would:

John 16:8-11 … when {The Spirit} is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

The Spirit “REPROVES”, that is the Greek ἐλέγχω elénchō, [pronounced el-eng’-kho], which means “TO CONVICT, TO REBUKE, TO ADMONISH, TO TELL A FAULT”. The Spirit convicts and convinces people that they are sinners in need of the Savior. The Spirit tells people that there is a judgment day coming, and that we all need the righteousness that is only found in Christ. The Holy Spirit comes to, Jesus said:

when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth”
(John 16:13).

The Holy Spirit will glorify Christ (John 16:14), as Jesus is the only Way unto God. Once we believe on Christ, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would come and abide with us forever (John 14:16). The Holy Spirit told Simeon, you will not leave this life until you see the LORD’S CHRIST {Christos, Messiah}. The Spirit did not tell Simeon WHERE the Christ would be, only that he would see the Christ. So Simeon asked himself the question:

As the Spirit cannot lie, and I will see the Christ before I die,
then where must I be if I expect to see the Christ?”

If you want to be blessed of God, put yourself in the right places to be blessed of God. God can bless you in front of the television, or in the pool hall, or out in the middle of the woods while you are hunting, or in a dance hall. God can do whatever God wants to do. BUT it is more likely that – if you are looking for God – you will find Him:

In the Temple or Church, or
When you are doing good to others and being the light, or
When you are praying and seeking Him, or
When you are reading and studying God’s Word.

Now God can bless you anywhere He wants to bless you. But God is most likely to be in places where light and not darkness are prominent. You do not look for flour in a tea bag

Luke 2:27 And {Simeon} 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

Simeon is in the right place to see the Christ. He is in the Temple. But what if Mary and Joseph had disobeyed God? Though Mary was the mother of the Christ, she was still subject to the will and Word of God. The Bible says that when a pregnant woman has a male child

Leviticus 12:2-4 … If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. 3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4 And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.

Mary was not exempt from the command of God because she bore the Messiah. Mary and Joseph followed the Word of God, and did as God said without question. Mary was considered unclean for 40 days, which is a very interesting number. Forty (40) is often used for testing and judgment.

When God sent the flood it rained for 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:4).
When Moses was on Sinai he was with God 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 24:18).
Jonah preached
“40 days and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4).
Ezekiel laid on his right side 40 days
to declare Judah’s sinfulness (Ezekiel 4:6).

Though Mary was having a Special Child, the Son of God, she did not exempt herself from doing what God said in His Word. When we obey God we bless ourselves, and we bless others. Mary was unclean 7 days, and on the eighth day we read:

Luke 2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Mary then returned to Bethlehem for another 33 days, remaining unclean for a total of 40 days. When Simeon saw Mary she along with Joseph had returned to the Temple to do as the Law said:

Leviticus 12:6 … when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest

Luke 2:22-24 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; 23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

Mary and Joseph obeyed God’s Word, and Simeon obeyed God’s Spirit. Because of this they meet in the Temple, and Simeon was blessed of God.

Love God With All Your Heart

God does not expect us to be perfect, but He does call us to be loyal to Him. Simeon was loyal to God. Simeon loved God. We read in …

Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout

Two words are used to describe Simeon. He is just, the Greek δίκαιος díkaios, [pronounced dik’-ah-yos], which means “to be upright in God’s eyes. To walk with God”. The Apostle said in:

Romans 1:17 … The JUST shall live by faith ..

Jesus Christ died for us so that we might be made JUST or RIGHTEOUS in the eyes of God (Romans 5:19). A person is justified by faith in God, by receiving God as our Savior. We are “justified” by receiving Christ as our Savior. But once justified by faith, we walk in the light with our Savior and Lord. The Bible says:

1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, [díkaios] and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

Jesus gave His life on Calvary to make payment for our sins (1 Peter 3:18) “that He might bring us to God”. Saved, we imitate Jesus.

1 John 2:29 … ye know that {Jesus} is righteous, [díkaios] ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of {God}.

Genuine saving faith changes the focus of the life. It is like the old song, Amazing Grace:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found. WAS BLIND, but NOW I SEE.
Twas Grace that taught me heart to fear, and Grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that faith appear, the hour I first believed.

Simeon was JUST. But Simeon was also devout. The word “” is the Greek εὐλαβής eulabḗs, [pronounced yoo-lab-ace’], which means “to live carefully so as to bring glory and love to God, to reverence God”. I told this to the men in my Bible class last night:

God does not expect you to be PERFECT.
God expects you to LOVE HIM.
God expects you to GLORIFY Him with your life.

When we sin – and we do – the Bible says:

1 John 2:1-6 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

We are called to love God, and to live so that God and others can see that love. We keep his commandments not to BE saved, but BECAUSE we are saved. He is our Father Who loves us so. He is the Son, Who died a horrible death for our sins. He is the Spirit Who indwells us, and never leaves nor forsakes us. Simeon loved God, so he hated sin. He, like the Apostle, said in his heart:

Romans 6:2 … How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Simeon knew that:

Psalms 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

Simeon was saved by faith in God. He believed in God, looked for Christ, and lived his life carefully for to please the Lord Who love him. We who are saved by faith in Christ do not live as the world. We live as children of God. The Apostle wrote:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

There Is A Wonderful Benefit In Living For The Lord

Simeon first of all got the blessing of holding the Baby Jesus in his arms! What a great blessing that was! But the second great blessing Simeon had was all fear of death was gone. Notice what he says:

Luke 2:28-32 Then took he {Jesus} up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Simeon had absolutely no fear of death. He was ready to meet his Maker. The great Scottish Preacher Alexander Maclaren wrote:

Simeon not only recognizes, but welcomes the approach of death. ‘Thou lettest Thy servant depart in peace.’ Yes, there speaks a calm voice tranquilly accepting the permission. He feels no agitation, no fluster of any kind, but quietly slips away from his post. And the reason for that peaceful welcome of the end is ‘for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.’ That sight is the reason, first of all, for his being sure that the curfew had rung for him, and that the day’s work was done. But it is also the reason for the peacefulness of his departure. He went ‘in peace …”

Simeon saw the Messiah, and death had lost all it’s power over him. Since God sent His Son to this earth for us, Simeon knew that God would keep His promises. He had the CONFIDENCE that every Christian should have, the confidence the Apostle spoke of:

2 Corinthians 5:6-9 … we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (7) (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) (8) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (9) Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

We who are Christ’s work for the Father until our work is done. Simeon’s work is done. He is ready to meet His Savior and Lord. Death is but a transition from this plane to a higher plane, a place where Jesus is. The Apostle Paul said:

Philippians 1:21 (ESV) For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Death is not an end for the believer in Christ, but a new beginning. The Apostle said, My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Philippians 1:23). I so look forward to seeing the Savior. I so look forward to exploring the boundless glory of Heaven. To die is no demotion, but a promotion for the believer sold out for Christ. Are you ready? If you are not, today is a great day to decide to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. May He move your hearts to “walk in the Light as He is in the Light”. Amen and amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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