Forty-one days after Jesus Christ’s birth, his parents, Joseph and Mary, brought him to the Temple to present him to the Lord. This was according to an Old Testament law that many Judean parents would have upheld from generation to generation. As Joseph and Mary walked through the Temple, it is possible there would have been other parents participating in the same act for their newborn sons. One could say this trip to the Temple was customary. However, for Joseph and Mary this trip would prove to be extraordinary. Joseph and Mary met a man named Simeon who spoke words by divine revelation regarding their son. This encounter between Simeon, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus fulfilled an amazing promise in Simeon’s life, and it foretold of the Messiah’s future.
On this day, Joseph and Mary were at the Temple to keep God’s Word.
And when the days of her [Mary’s] purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they [Mary and Joseph] brought him [Jesus] to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.
Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple for a spiritual purpose. They needed to obey the Old Testament law. As the Messiah, Jesus had to totally fulfill that law, so this visit was of the utmost importance. Joseph and Mary were faithful to their duties as Jesus’ parents.
While carrying out their responsibility at the Temple, they met a man named Simeon who had come to the Temple that day by revelation from God.
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost [holy spirit] was upon him.
And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost [holy spirit], that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ [God’s Anointed].
And he came by the Spirit [Simeon came by the spirit, by revelation] into the temple: and when the parents [Mary and Joseph] brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed [praised] God….
Simeon was an elderly man who was dedicated to God and was “waiting for the consolation of Israel.” This means he was waiting for the promised Messiah. His expectation would have been heightened by the revelation he received that he would not die before seeing “the Lord’s Christ.” Many people awaited the coming of the Messiah, uncertain of when he would arrive. However, Simeon knew he’d see the Messiah in his lifetime. Each day of his life could have been the day. And sure enough, this was that day! God made sure Simeon did not miss the moment. He gave Simeon revelation to go to the Temple so that he would see Mary and Joseph with Jesus. Simeon believed the revelation—he acted on God’s Word.
While at the Temple, Simeon instantly recognized the child by revelation. No man had to tell him. God was faithful and fulfilled His promise to Simeon. With thanksgiving, Simeon took the tiny Messiah in his arms and praised God.
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
And Joseph and his [Jesus’] mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him [Jesus].
After Simeon thanked God, he spoke prophetic words concerning the impact Jesus would have on the world. Jesus Christ was the salvation God had “prepared before the face of all people,” “a light to lighten the Gentiles,” and the glory of God’s people, Israel. Think of the effect these words must have had on Joseph and Mary. This message continued with Simeon telling Mary of the greatness of the child and of the vast challenge before her and Joseph (Luke 2:34,35). His words were inspired by God and gave insight into Jesus Christ’s future.
Simeon’s divine convergence with Joseph, Mary, and Jesus at the Temple was spiritually significant for all involved. Simeon saw God’s personal promise for him come to pass. He was able to see and hold the Messiah. As Joseph and Mary were faithful to keep God’s commandments, they learned more about God’s vision regarding their new son and man’s redeemer. That day at the Temple turned into a spiritually dynamic occasion that we can learn from today. What a dramatic encounter recorded in the Word! What amazing blessings come to those who take believing action on God’s Word.