The Gospel of Luke: a commentary & meditation 
"This child is set for the fall and rising of many"

Scripture: Luke 2:22-35

22 And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took him 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 in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel." 33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; 34 and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in  Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."

Meditation: Is your life in tune with the Holy Spirit? Simeon was a man who was just towards others and devout towards God. He gladly accepted the mission God called him to perform with much fervent prayer and with patient expectation.  His whole life was in tune with the Holy Spirit.  His was found daily in the temple in prayer and worship and in humble and faithful expectation for the day that the Lord would comfort his people.  As the days and months grew into years he never lost hope.  When  Joseph and Mary presented the child Jesus in the temple, Simeon immediately recognized the Lord’s presence in his temple.  Through eyes of faith he say the infant Jesus as the fulfillment of all the messianic prophecies, hopes, and prayers of the people of Israel. Inspired by the Holy Spirit he prophesied that Jesus was to be "a revealing light to the Gentiles".  Jesus came not only as “light and salvation” for the people of Israel, but for all nations as well.

Jesus is the new temple (John 1:14; 2:19-22). In the Old Testament God manifested his presence in the “pillar of cloud” by day and the “pillar of fire” by night as he led them through the wilderness. God’s glory visibly came to dwell over the ark and the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-38).  When the first temple was build in Jerusalem God’s glory came to rest there (1 Kings 8).  After the first temple was destroyed, Ezekiel saw God’s glory leave it (Ezekiel 10).  But God promised one day to fill it with even greater glory (Haggai 2:1-9; Zechariah 8-9).  That promise is fulfilled when the “King of Glory” himself comes to his temple (Psalm 24:7-10; Malachi 3:1).  Through Jesus’ coming in the flesh and through his saving death, resurrection, and ascension we are made living temples of his Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17). Do you recognize that you are God’s temple and that his Spirit dwells within you?

Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph and he prophesied to Mary about the destiny of this child and the suffering she would undergo for his sake.  There is a certain paradox for those blessed by the Lord.  Mary was given the blessedness of being the mother of the Son of God.  That blessedness also would become a sword which pierced her heart as her Son died upon the cross.  She received both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow.  But her joy was not diminished by her sorrow because it was fueled by her faith, hope, and trust in God and his promises.  Jesus promised his disciples that "no one will take your joy from you" (John 16:22).  The Lord gives us a supernatural joy which enables us to bear any sorrow or pain and which neither life nor death can take way.  Do you know the joy of a life fully surrendered to God with faith and trust?

"Lord, may I recognize your visitation and be prepared for your action today, just as Simeon was prepared and ready to respond to your visitation and action in his day."

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 (c)1999 Don Schwager