Simeon and the Peace of God
By Gabriel Hanna, Vice Academic Dean
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
(Luke 2: 25-32)
We have read this story many times and we can learn a lot from this account of Simeon welcoming the long-awaited Messiah into the world. Something new recently caught my eye in this story, and it is comforting and encouraging for us to learn a deep and inspiring lesson from this man. In this passage of scripture, we see God’s closeness to us as His people.
The Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that he would not see death before the promised Savior came into the world. In the latter stage of life, Simeon, is about to depart from earth and enter heaven. He has a long-term fellowship with God through his prayers in Jerusalem, a spiritual experience with the living God, and yet he may have had questions like all of us, such as what is after this earthly life? Who will stand with me in my times of distress, in my physical weakness when I grow old. What will happen to me? On whom can I put my hope?
Many questions we ask, especially when we see those we love from our family in their last days of physical weakness, unable to carry out their previous duties. We can learn and draw comfort from Simeon. His heart and his mind were filled with the Lord, rejoicing in Him! Throughout his life, his relationship with the living God was not interrupted and God was close to him. Simeon cannot turn away from God, and be distracted because he has heard the words of the Holy Spirit. His hope is based in the living God. His lived experience of God speaking into His life gives Simeon hope for the future.
The Lord is his support, and God was talking to him. He was aware of what is in the Holy Biblical books of prophecy. He was aware that God is love, and that God is with him to the end. He was fully aware of God’s plan to save mankind with the coming of the Savior, the Redeemer of all. Simeon appreciated the treasure of God being with him as he grew old.
God honors those who fear Him. This man, Simeon, had unspeakable joy, which is a positive motivation for us today. The Lord is a hope for us when we fear the future. Simeon trusted in God’s word to him and said: “Now you let your servant go, Lord, in peace, according to your word.” We see in these words calm assurance and comfort that he will move to a better world, and live in eternal life. Simeon rejoiced in the fulfilment of God’s promise and the opportunity to witness God’s salvation at work.
God cares for us. He loves us and stands with us even when it is time to say goodbye. Simeon is a living example for us to follow in peace. Yes, we want now to be at peace with God and to feel confident in our God. We cannot speak these words unless we believe and devote time in prayer and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Otherwise, the words will be devoid of meaning.
Let us examine what goes through the heart and mind of Simeon. We see his sobering and reassuring words based on a firm belief in a loving God who does not leave his children without consolation and hope. There is confidence in Simeon’s heart. Now, you allow your servant to go in peace. Amen.