“My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation”
(Luke 2:25-35 – Christmas 1 – December 27, 2020)
Luke 2:25-35 – 25And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27So he came by 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, 28he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: 29“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; 30for my eyes have seen Your salvation 31which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, 32a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” 33And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35(yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Dear Redeemed in Jesus, who was born to bring us God’s eternal salvation and peace:
Christmas has come and gone. For many, it has been a season to emphasize peace and goodwill among people, and to share the joys of the holiday season. But for many, it is just a passing season, amidst the many challenges of a year gone by. Many hope to keep feelings of joy going in the celebration of the New Year, with wishes for better days ahead. Many hope for days of lasting peace and goodwill, in a world that so often has experienced the opposite.
But the true peace and joy of Christmas does not come and go with the passing of a season. No matter what the daily news may bring, the “good tidings of great joy” announced by the angels that first Christmas remain true every day for us. No matter what conditions we may face in this world, the angels’ heavenly song at the birth of our Savior still resounds: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:10-14). In the Savior who was born for us at Christmas, we have the lasting joy and peace God has brought to us in Jesus.
In our text we meet a man named Simeon, who had not even realized the first Christmas had come and gone. But now forty days after Jesus’ birth, Simeon met the Christ Child. As Joseph and Mary came to the temple at Jerusalem, they “brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law” (vs. 27). They were fulfilling the Mosaic Law, which included a rite of purification for Mary and the presentation of her firstborn Son to the Lord. As they entered the temple courts, Simeon greeted them. With eyes of faith, informed by the Word and promises of God, he saw more than just another baby in Jesus. “He took Him 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'” (vs. 28-30). In the face of Jesus, Simeon saw the Lord’s Salvation. In the face of Jesus, he knew the lasting peace and joy the Lord gives His people, in the gift of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life this Child was born to bring.
With the same eyes of faith, we say with Simeon: “My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation.” We continue to rejoice in the coming of our Savior; for like Simeon, we know the lasting peace He brings us as 1) Revealed in God’s Word, and as 2) Fulfilled in our newborn Savior.
1) Revealed in God’s Word
It says of Simeon: “This man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 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” (vs. 25-26). So the faith by which Simeon saw the Lord’s salvation in Christ had been revealed to him ahead of time in God’s Word. It was a faith given to him by the Holy Spirit. In this sense, Simeon was no different than any other believer in Israel. For it is always through His revealed Word, and the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart, that God has brought anyone to saving faith.
It says Simeon was “waiting for the Consolation of Israel.” In His Word given through the prophets, God had revealed to His people all along that He was sending the Messiah to them, the one who would bring them consolation and comfort, and lasting peace and joy in His Kingdom. As He said through His prophet Isaiah 40:1-2 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” says your God. Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.”
In Israel, they longed for that consolation in the face of many troubles of life in this world. For centuries God’s people had seen warfare and captivity under the threat of enemies who oppressed and occupied the land. Even from within they saw evil and corruption in government, religion, and society. Then they dealt with the everyday troubles of life in a fallen world like stressful relationships, concerns of work and income, problems of health, and sorrows of death. How they longed for that Consolation of Israel, the Messiah who would come to bring them God’s salvation, and give them lasting peace and joy in His eternal Kingdom.
Consolation: is that not what we are all looking for? We seek true and lasting comfort and peace as we deal with year-in and year-out troubles of life in a fallen world. We need the consolation of knowing that God is for us, no matter what we may experience in the coming days, no matter what enemies we may face. We need the comforting assurance, even in the face of death, that we are at peace with God, and that nothing can separate us from His love.
Devout believers in Israel like Simeon knew that the only way to have this consolation and peace with God was through His salvation from sin. As revealed in God’s Word, they knew the underlying problem in this fallen world was sin, with all its evil effects. Ever since Satan tempted and mankind fell, the world had lived under the oppression of sin, Satan, and death.
Therefore, they longed for that Consolation God promised in the Savior who was coming to conquer Satan and bring redemption and peace between sinners and God. Day after day, as believers like Simeon saw their failures to keep God’s Laws, they confessed their sins with broken hearts. Year after year, as they brought sacrifices for sin to God’s altar, the blood of innocent victims reminded them of God’s promise that the Messiah would come as the innocent Lamb, whose blood would set them free from all sin and guilt. As the prophet Isaiah foretold: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all… He was led as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:6, 7).
So by the revealed Word of God, believers through the ages found their Consolation in the promised Savior, who would take away all their sin, and bring them everlasting peace with God and joy in His Kingdom.
Like Simeon and believers in every age, is this not the Consolation you and I need the most? Day after day, year after year, we feel the burden of guilt when, despite our best resolutions, we still have not been the godly people we wanted to be. Sometimes we may wonder, “How can God love me, when so often I have not loved Him with all my heart? How can He love me when I have let down others around me? How can God be for me, when so many sins stand against me?” Sometimes, perhaps this is why we face the future with anxiety, wondering what another year will bring, when we know we do not deserve blessings of God.
Therefore like Simeon, our souls look in hope to that Consolation God promised in His Word – the consolation of our Savior, who came to win our pardon and peace with God; the consolation of our Savior who came to conquer sin, Satan, and death for us; the consolation of our Savior who came to give us peace and joy without end in His everlasting Kingdom.
2) Fulfilled in the newborn Savior
It says of Simeon, “the Holy Spirit was upon him” (vs. 25). Like believers through the ages, the Spirit had brought Simeon to faith as he heard God’s promise of the coming Christ in Scripture. But our text also says that Simeon had received a special revelation. “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (vs. 26).
This is how it happened that, on the very day the Christ Child was presented, Simeon “came by the Spirit into the temple” (vs. 27). Among all the parents who came daily to present firstborn sons to the Lord, the Spirit led Simeon to identify at once the Consolation of Israel in the Baby Jesus. And it says: “He took Him 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” (vs. 28-30).
So God had kept his promise to Simeon that he would not die before seeing the Christ. His eyes had seen the Lord’s salvation, not only revealed in His Word of promise, but also now fulfilled in the newborn Savior. Now, Simeon could live his remaining days in the consolation of God. He could live in true comfort and peace, knowing that God forgave all his sins in the name of this newborn Savior. He could live in peace, knowing that God would finally turn all evil into good for His people, in the name of this Holy Child. He could even depart this world in peace, knowing that God replaced death with eternal life in the name of Jesus Christ.
But it was also revealed to Simeon that this salvation would come at a cost for Jesus. Now the Spirit led him to prophesy to Jesus’ earthly parents. “Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed’ “ (vs. 34-35).
One day at the foot of Jesus’ cross, Mary’s soul would be pierced as Jesus was crucified. But with the faith informed by God’s Word, Mary would know there was more to that cruel scene than just the evil plots of human enemies. Had not the Lord revealed to her that this Child, conceived by the Holy Spirit, was the Son of God in human flesh? (Luke 1:35) Had she not seen, through His growing years, that this Child was the perfect Son, obedient not only to His earthly parents but above all to His heavenly Father? When Jesus went as the innocent Lamb to the cross, would not Mary remember the Word of God which had been revealed concerning Him in Isaiah 53:5: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed”?
Yes, this Holy One born of Mary, this Christ Child whom Simeon rejoiced to hold in his arms, has come to bring us the lasting peace of God. For now, through His own Son’s perfect life of obedience in our place, God is counting us perfect. And through the innocent suffering and death of His Son on the cross for us, God has taken away all our sin, guilt, and punishment.
Now, like Simeon, the Holy Spirit has led us through the Scriptures to see our Savior and embrace Him in our hearts by faith. In this Holy Child, we have true peace of God, knowing that He forgives all our sins and blesses us for Jesus’ sake. We have true peace knowing that He is near in every circumstance of life, finally turning even evil into good for us as His children. We have the peace of knowing that God is for us; and if God is for us, who can be against us?
Therefore like Simeon, we have seen the Lord’s salvation. It is revealed to us in His Word; it is fulfilled for us in our newborn Savior. And like Simon, we can face another new year and unknown days ahead in true peace – peace, not as the world gives, but as God Himself gives us in Jesus Christ (John 14:27). Like Simeon, even in the face of death we can depart in peace; for we know that our Savior has gone ahead to prepare a place for us His Father’s heavenly mansions; and He will us to that home of perfect joys without end.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.