Jesus Presented at the Temple
The Shepherds give us the image of who Jesus came for, the lost, the meek. And a picture of who God is, humble and loving.
Jesus brings hope and takes away our fear placing it on him, and taking it to the cross.
Tonight we are going to look at a devout Jewish man who is waiting patiently for the redemption of Israel.
Israel at this point in history is a mess, most people have fallen into worshiping other gods, and the God of the Jews has been silent for 100’s of years, no prophets, no signs, nothing but silence.
The people are living life by their own will, their own power, with their own idea’s, calling this freedom. Philosophy has become popular to help answer life’s tough questions. And even the most devout Jews are living by rules rather then faith.
The problem is these philosophies, this free way of living has created more sin, more damage and more people fighting among themselves.
The people need fulfillment, they need a saviour. This is where tonights story picks up.
Joseph and Mary are heading to the temple to fulfil the customary rituals required after the birth of their first child.
According to Jewish law, 40 days after giving birth a woman was required to offer a sacrifice for purification at the Temple in Jerusalem. Mary brought two doves to offer this sacrifice, which shows they were very poor.
Lets pick up the story from there.
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.” The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
A Man Named Simeon
A Man Named Simeon
What We Know About Simeon.
He is righteous and devout, which means he was a Jewish man, possible a priest who loved God and followed the law.
He was waiting for the redemption of Israel, which means he knew that the people had lost their way and they needed redemption.
The Holy Spirit was upon him, which means he was close to God and had been empowered by God.
Moved By the Spirit
He was moved by the Spirit to go to the Temple courts.
In the Temple Court He Meets Baby Jesus.
He gives praise to God for fulfilling the promise of him seeing the coming Messiah who would redeem Israel before he died.
He tells God that he is willing to die now, since he has seen salvation. He has found peace.
This peace is what he was looking for, he was now complete, he felt there was nothing left to find. This was his moment, the moment he found fulfillment in what he was searching for.
He found the Christmas message!
Simeon gives Prophecy.
Prophecy hasn’t happened for hundreds of years. This is what he says:
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.”
Salvation is for the Whole World
Salvation is for the Whole World
Simeon reveals that this salvation that God has brought through this child, isn’t just for the Jewish nation, it’s for the Gentiles too. It is for the whole world.
Then he tells Joseph and David that Jesus’ ministry will bring division and suffering as well as salvation and Joy.
Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Simeon saw salvation and it was all he needed to be fulfilled, to feel like he had lived life to the fullest.
This baby born in a manger is going to bring life to the world, some will like it and experience this full life and others will choose to ignore it.
Christmas gives us this same picture today. Some embrace it as a time of reflecting on the birth of the Lord. Others use it as time off from work, where we spend all kinds of money trying to fill our hopeless void.
For Simeon, seeing salvation was all he needed. No presents, no holiday, just experiencing Jesus.
It is my wish for you this Christmas season that you would choose salvation, that you would celebrate the birth of our saviour, Jesus Christ and find fulfillment in celebrating that birth.
This season is full of hope, which brings peace. It is through believing in this miracle child, who is God in the flesh that we find this hope and peace. Choose Jesus this Christmas, and find Joy.
Lets take a moment to spread out around the room, with our candles. We are going to sing our traditional candle light Silent Night to close the service.