Advent Day 17: A Light For the Gentiles (Luke 2v22-35)

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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 who first 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 turtle-doves, or two young pigeons”. 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting 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 would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit 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 you are letting your servant[a] depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31     that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 And his father and his mother marvelled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

The next character in the Christmas story is Simeon, an elderly, devout Jew. Simeon has lived in hope of seeing the Messiah, the promised ruler of Israel who would deliver God’s people from their enemies. God, by the Holy Spirit, had promised Simeon that he would not die without seeing this Messiah. As Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple, Simeon knows that he is witnessing the fulfillment of God’s promise to Him, and to the world. Jesus comes as the Messiah; Israel’s hope and the hope of the Gentiles (non-Jews). Once again, Luke displays the universal scope of the wonderful Christmas story through the lives of very ordinary characters. 

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