Biblical Last Words: Simeon Prophesies

Biblical Last Words: Simeon Prophesies

Biblical Last Words: Simeon Prophesies.

“Simeon took the baby Jesus up in his arms and blessed God and said, ‘Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the nations, and the glory of your people Israel’… Then Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph, and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. Yes, a sword will pierce through your very own soul.'”  (Luke 2:28-35).

Here’s what we know about this elderly saint who to this day is quoted every day in Christian churches around the world. Simeon, which means “He who hears,” lived in Jerusalem when Jesus was born. He was a fixture in the Temple, a righteous, God-fearing man, a devout believer who kept himself pure all through the years. He lived and walked in the Spirit of God, and seemed to be on speaking terms with the Almighty. Simeon lived in eager anticipation of the arrival of the Messiah. That was his hope of all hopes, because the Holy Spirit told him that he would see the Anointed One before he died. Simeon hoped for the Consolation of Israel, their final Redemption, the joy of their eternal deliverance in God. He prayed for this hope to be realized soon, that the future Messiah would be the Redeemer and Consoler of Israel. The Greek word for Consolation comes from the word paraklete, which means to come alongside of to encourage, advocate for, to comfort. So Simeon hoped for the arrival of the Messiah who would prove to be the Comforter, the Encourager, the Consoler of Israel who advocated for their salvation.

On this particular day highlighted by Luke, when Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus to the Temple to be dedicated according to Mosaic Law, the Spirit told Simeon to go the Temple pronto. As soon as Simeon saw the baby, he knew through the Spirit that this indeed was the Messiah he had been praying for. Simeon certainly knew the Scriptures intimately, and he was very familiar with the messianic passages in Isaiah. So Simeon freely quoted those inspired Isaiah passages as he cradled baby Jesus in his arms. Simeon spoke about who Jesus was and what He would become. And as he embraced the baby, Simeon praised God for the privilege of beholding the Messiah. He now can die in peace. His life is now complete. Simeon uttered his famous Song of Simeon, which packed a lot of Scripture into his short word of prophecy over Jesus. Simeon underlined the fact that the Messiah would bring salvation to all people, including Gentiles, and not merely to the people of Israel. He said that the Messiah would be a light that would reveal the Lord to all the nations, and that He would be the glory of His people Israel.

Joseph and Mary were practically speechless at hearing the words of Simeon. His prophecy over Jesus confirmed everything that the Lord had told them… from the angel Gabriel, to the singing throngs of angels in the sky over the stable, to the visiting Magi, to Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, to Mary’s own intimate experience at Jesus’ conception. So Joseph and Mary took it all in and marveled.

But Simeon didn’t stop there. He blessed the parents of Jesus, suggesting that Simeon raised his arms over them and spoke the priestly blessing over them: “May the Lord bless you and keep you; may He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; may He turn His face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:22-25).

But Simeon continued to prophecy at the scene in the Temple, this time to mother Mary. He said that there would be a paradox in Jesus. Some would reject Him and fall, and others would accept Him and rise. There would be very little neutral ground when it comes to belief in Jesus. Simeon went on to say that Jesus will be a sign from God that will be opposed by many, and His presence will cause the secret thoughts of many to be laid bare before God.

Finally, Simeon uttered an ominous word over Mary that probably caused him great anguish. He said that a sword would pierce her very soul. The Greek word for sword here is an unusual one. It means a large broadsword. The wounds to Mary will go very deep and wide, and will be excruciating. There is no doubt that Mary experienced that word of prophecy during the horrific Passion of her Son. She witnessed the hostile persecution, the torturous death of her beloved Jesus. That pain was certainly indescribable. Mary’s heart suffered with the cut of the broadsword.

The Song of Simeon in Luke 2:29-32 is sung daily at evening prayers in the Orthodox Church, because it expresses the heartfelt experience of all worshipping Christians, all those who seek to make a practice of following Jesus. In reality, Simeon’s prophecy has been proven true. Jesus the Messiah remains the Salvation intended for all people, a Light to reveal God to all the nations, and He will be the Glory of His people Israel.

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