DAY 10 - DECEMBER 5TH, 2018

Christ: The Consolation of Israel and the Savior of the World

Bob Mendonsa

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. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 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, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
— Luke 2:25-32

The time between the last writings of the Old Testament until the time of Christ is called the Intertestamental Period. From the prophet Malachi (400 BC) to the preaching of John the Baptist (about AD 25) God fell silent, saying nothing to His chosen people, the Jews. During that 400 years the Jewish people were first ruled by the Greeks, who introduced worldliness and humanism to Israel. Around 167 BC Antiochus desecrated the temple and set up a pagan altar there, overthrowing the Jewish priesthood in the process. In 63 BC Rome conquered Israel, enforcing strict taxation and further control over the Jews. The people of God groaned in their suffering, and most had forgotten the prophecies predicting a coming Messiah.

Simeon was no such man. Described as righteous and devout, this bondservant surely had taken to heart some of the last words God spoke through Malachi:

“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.” (Mal. 4:2)

Simeon believed Jesus was coming, despite God’s silence in the midst of suffering. Simeon means, “God is listening,” so even his own name testified to Simeon that God could hear His children’s cries. Furthermore, Simeon had three valuable things going for him. First, despite his suffering and that of Israel, he kept his gaze on what was coming: the appearance of Christ, the consolation of Israel. While others saw only problems, Simeon saw the promise of redemption.

Second, the Holy Spirit was upon Simeon, which shows that his primary relationship with God (like ours) was through faith in Christ – though his faith was in a coming Christ. He already believed Jesus Christ was coming to save him and the world, and thus Simeon had the evidence of the Holy Spirit as a sign of that salvific faith.

Finally, God had given Simeon a special revelation and a life purpose. He had been told he would not die without seeing Jesus, his coming Savior. 

Simeon, believing God in spite of 400 years of prophetic silence and the ongoing oppression of Roman rule, kept his eyes on God’s promises to His people and to himself specifically. Knowing Jesus was coming, he remained faithful to a Savior he had not yet seen, until that glorious day in the temple when he first held Him in his arms. With joy he worshipped the Father for bringing him peace and for saving a world trapped under the weight of sin. For although God may have been silent for a time, He had never stopped listening to the cries of His people, nor did He fail to act on their behalf. 

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Gal. 4:4-5)

Question to Consider:

Simeon’s focus was on the promises of God, rather than on the myriad of problems he and his nation faced. How did this focus impact the way he lived his life in the midst of trials?

AdventJocie Morganadvent, 2018