Study 2 SIMEON: WAITING FOR THE LORD
(Scripture Portion: Luke 2:25-35)
Simeon lived in Jerusalem. He was in all probability an old man, though we are not told this, and no indication is given of his position in life, nor as to whether he was rich or poor. However, there is one very important thing which we are told about him, and that is that day by day, as he lived and worked, he was “waiting for the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25); that is, he was waiting for and living in the expectation of the coming of the Messiah. It is surely significant that his name means “Hearing with alacrity”. He was doing just that - listening day by day, hour by hour, and moment by moment for the sound of the footsteps of the Son of God whose coming was drawing near.
Now, as Simeon lived just prior to the first advent and anticipated the first coming of the Lord Jesus, so you and I today live just prior to His second advent and should be anticipating His return. Simeon waited and watched for the Babe of Bethlehem, and you and I are to wait and watch for the Lord who said, “I will come back, and take you to be with me” (John 14:3). The glorious hope of the Saviour’s first advent powerfully influenced Simeon’s life, and the “blessed hope” of the Lord’s return should be a powerful incentive to us for holy living and sacrificial service - look up Titus 2:11-13.
Notice, in Luke 2:25-35, some of the characteristics of this man who waited for the coming of Christ:
1. Simeon was absolutely sure that the Lord Jesus was coming.
He had no doubt about this, as we learn from verse 26. There were many details concerning the incarnation about which he was not at all clear, but of the fact that the Lord would come he was positive. Scoffers might pour ridicule upon him for his belief, but they could not rob him of his hope, for the grounds of his confidence were sure. You and I, who live in the light of the second coming of Christ, have the same glorious word of assurance. The Holy Ghost is the author of all scripture (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21), and the great message of the scriptures concerning the future is that Jesus is coming again - look up John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 John 3:1-3). Like Simeon, let us believe the word of the Lord and rejoice in this as our ground of confidence.
2. Simeon expected the Lord Jesus to come at any moment.
Verse 26 makes this clear! The older he grew the surer Simeon became that the birth of the Saviour was near. He did not know just when He would come, but as his hair whitened and his limbs became enfeebled, these were signs to him that the Lord’s coming was very near. And God has graciously given us signs by which we may know that the second coming of His Son is very near. The religious signs, moral signs, commercial signs, political signs, Jewish signs… these all proclaim the truth declared in James 5:8! Let us begin each day, as Simeon must have begun each day, by saying, “I wonder if my Lord will come today!”
3. Simeon was a just man.
We are told this in verse 25, and it means that his life was honest and upright in the eyes of men. He was sincere and he was known to be, as we say today, “above reproach”. As Christians, we should be known for our absolute honesty, our truthfulness, our dependability and our moral integrity. We shall never be perfect while we are in the flesh, but the Lord has made provision for us to be blameless (verse 25), which means that our lives should be such that they bring glory to His name and show forth His praise to those amongst whom we are living.
4. Simeon was a devout man.
Verse 25 tells us this, and it means that while he was honest and upright in the sight of men, he was holy (as the word really means) in the sight of God. God’s command to us is that we should be holy (Leviticus 20:7), and His provision is the gift of the Holy Ghost who reproduces within us the holiness of the Lord Jesus Himself. There is no great incentive to holy living than to believe, to live and to labour in the conviction that the Lord Jesus is coming again – look up 1 John 3:3.
5. Simeon was a Spirit-controlled man.
The secret of a life that is pleasing in the sight of men and well-pleasing to God is the filling of the Holy Ghost - look up Ephesians 5:18. There were three characteristics of Simeon’s Spirit-controlled life:
- Verse 25 tells us “the Holy Spirit was upon him.”
- Verse 26 tells us “it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit.”
- Verse 27 tells us “Moved by the Spirit he went into the temple courts.”
The Spirit-controlled life is a life which is endued with the Spirit, taught of the Spirit and led by the Spirit. Simeon had an insight into dispensational truth, as verses 30-32 indicate. In verse 32 he stated that the Lord Jesus was to be, first, “a light for revelation to the Gentiles”; and second, “for glory to your people Israel”. He knew that although He had come to His own people they would reject Him, and the gospel would be preached to the Gentiles (John 1:11; Acts 28:28). Notice also that the Holy Spirit always leads to and glorifies the Lord Jesus - compare verse 27 with John 16:13-14.
6. Simeon was a surrendered man.
We must make this observation, for in verse 29 there are three words which indicate this. The word “Lord” means “Over-lord”; the word “servant” means “bond-servant”; and the phrase, “as you have promised” indicates complete submission to the promises of the Lord. Here is the picture of a surrendered life - a life which recognises Jesus as the Lord, which takes the place of a bond-servant under His authority and which is completely submissive to His word.
7. Thus - Simeon was ready to welcome the Lord Jesus when He came.
Verse 28 gives us a beautiful picture. When Simeon saw Him for whom his soul had been longing, he took Him in his arms. May we be as ready to welcome the Lord Jesus when He comes the second time as Simeon was to welcome Him when He came the first time - look up Revelation 22:20!