I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!
- Luke 2:30-32
In Luke 2:25-35, we see the story of Simeon, a man described as “righteous and devout.” On this particular day, God’s Holy Spirit leads Simeon to go to the temple in Jerusalem, and it just so happened that Mary and Joseph had brought their eight-day-old baby, Jesus, to follow through with the normal ceremonial customs for Jewish babies.
But there was something special about that day and about that baby. God led Simeon there for a reason, just as He had chosen Mary and Joseph for a reason.
The Bible tells us in verse 26 that God, through His Spirit, had revealed to Simeon that he wouldn’t die until he saw the coming Messiah, or Savior of God’s people. That’s why it’s kind of a big deal when, after holding that baby, Simeon makes the seemingly extreme statement, “Lord, now let your servant die in peace” (v. 29).
Can you imagine? Yes, we know that Mary and Joseph have both been told by ANGELS that their baby would be the Savior of the world, sent from God, but being able to see more and more confirmations like this? How continually amazed they must have been, especially as they experienced all the “normal” parts of parenthood (remember, Jesus was an actual baby...just like any other newborn, He probably had messy accidents, squirmed, and cried.)
In “light” of that, let’s take an even deeper look at the words Simeon says about Jesus.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel! (v.32)
So not only is Jesus a growing, crying little baby boy; He is also the glory of God’s people and the light that reveals God to the nations. Later throughout the New Testament, we’re given a little more clarity on exactly what this means, and there are three key truths we can understand from Simeon’s story and from the Bible altogether:
1. Jesus was fully God. He was the earthly appearance of God the Son, called “the Word” in the book of John, who has been eternally alive with the Father and Holy Spirit to exist as the three-person Creator God we worship.
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God...So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
- John 1:1, 14
2. Jesus was fully human. He was born from a human mother's womb; His parents took Him to the temple to undergo all the same ceremonies as every other Jewish baby would.
For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.
- Colossians 2:9
3. Jesus, the Son of God, was God’s plan for bringing the light of salvation to Israel and the whole world. In fulfillment of so many of God’s promises throughout the Bible to make a way for His people’s relationship with Him to be restored, God the Son came to earth as a baby so He could perfectly uphold a righteous life, a sacrificial death, and a death-defeating resurrection in a way that no mere human ever could.
We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord...For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
- 2 Corinthians 4:5-6
So what does this have to do with us? Or with Easter? Why does it even matter that we talk about these truths?
Because our love for God grows deeper as our knowledge does. What we believe about God will affect how we approach Him and how we go about seeking and living for Him.
The fact that our God knows what it’s like to be human, to be tempted but - unlike us - to never give in to those temptations (Hebrews 4:15), can change the way we go to Him with our struggles. We can’t write Him off and think that He won’t get it.
And at the same time, the fact that our Savior remained fully God while He lived out His life as a human can give us rest in knowing that He has accomplished everything that we should have had to accomplish in order to know Him. God’s Good News says that, because Jesus lived, died, and rose perfectly in our place, we don’t have to work our way to Him.
Even more, the fact that God went to such great lengths to show His faithfulness throughout centuries and bring salvation to the world by coming to earth as a baby...may that leave us humbled and in awe that He is powerful, that His plans are good, and that He is always working with purpose.
1. Do you ever find it hard to go to God with your struggles? How can understanding that Jesus was fully human change the way you go to Him in prayer?
2. Is it hard for you to rest in knowing that Jesus has taken your place, or do you find yourself striving in your own power to please God? Why do you think so?
3. How can you make time this week to purposely reflect on God’s power, faithfulness, and goodness? How can you trust Him more deeply to grow you and guide you in your life?
God, I am in awe of how You work! Thank You for going to such great lengths to make a perfect way for me to know You. Thank You, Lord, for sending Your Son to walk in a human body on this earth, to live the life I should have lived, and to die the death I should have died. And thank You, Lord, that He defeated death so I can have a restored relationship with You through faith in Him! Help me to live differently in light of this. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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