Thursday, August 02, 2007

Luke #23 – Simeon…Ignorance Fighter

Luke #23 – Simeon…Ignorance Fighter

“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 was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents 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 God, and said, ‘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’” (Luke 2:25-32 – King James Version).

I was once notorious for playing tricks on people. I was in an artillery unit overseas and whenever we had a new guy come in I would play the same trick on them. I would send them on a hunt for a “boom test”. I would tell them to go look here or there and the hunt was on and I would tell them to not come back without it. Everyone was in on the gag and once the new guy asked for the “boom test” from one person that person would send them on to someone else. Of course, there was no such a thing. The young man would come back exasperated and half scared because he’d “failed” his first mission. I would then tell them we would have to perform a manual boom test. We’d position him right where we wanted him; at the end of the missile tube. We’d say “Listen close…everybody get quiet!” Then, as the fellow waited patiently, someone at the loading end of the tube would bellow “BOOM!” and scare the poor guy nearly dead. (For the record, I did not create that gag, but I did every thing I could to keep it going!)

The catch in the gag was that a person would be searching for something impossible to find. We played on people’s ignorance. Let me be careful to say that “ignorance” is simply not knowing something and it can be cured with the proper information. It is not stupidity, which is having the right information but not acting on it. (Also for the record, stupidity is something else I am known for!)

Simeon’s small part in the story of Christ cures a bunch of ignorance. Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to be presented for circumcision and they ran into Simeon. Let’s look at that account a little at the time and find there some application for today. Put these things in your pocket and carry them around.

First, we have to be willing to wait to hear from the Lord. We find that Simeon was “waiting for the consolation of Israel.” We live in a fast paced time that demands instant gratification. Simeon waited on the Lord. We need to learn to get quiet, become still, and do the same thing.

Second, coincidence is a word that people use when God is not entered into the equation. It was no coincidence that Simeon was at the temple when Jesus arrived. The Holy Ghost was upon him and Simeon was right where God wanted Him; “he came by the Spirit” to the temple. We should understand there are two things that take us wherever we go; (1) our sin and its consequence and (2) God’s sovereignty and His grace. The important question for us to answer is by which are we where we are right now?

Third, the Holy Spirit has to reveal Christ to us (and to others). Were it not for the direction and leading of the Spirit Simeon would have seen just another baby; with the Spirit Simeon recognized Jesus as the Christ. Now, don’t think for a skinny minute that this means that we don’t need to witness! I don’t always cut on the lights in my house; sometimes my wife or daughter does it. They are simply the instruments that get the light to me! Who knows to whom the Holy Spirit would use us to reveal the truth of Christ to?

Fourth, Simeon properly identified that salvation was a person, not a deed. Simeon picked up the infant Christ and said “mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.” THAT WILL PREACH! Salvation is not church membership, baptism or something you do; it is JESUS! We have the Person of Christ or we do not have salvation. That is a piece of information that a lot of folks need to hear today.

Fifth, salvation is personal but not private. Simeon recognized (again by the Spirit) that Jesus would be salvation, not just for the Jew, but for “a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel”. It is for all who would surrender to Christ. It is not for one little denomination or one little congregation, for one little race, or one little nation. It was no little thing that Christ did on that cross and we would do well to not box Christ in with our cultural preferences or our personal biases.

Sixth, salvation in Christ should bring some peace to our lives. Simeon said “now let Thy servant leave in peace” (my paraphrase). Simeon KNEW that he had rest in God through Jesus. Though the cross was some 33 years away, Simeon knew that ultimately things would be all right. Christian friend, do you have peace in your future? Are you sure that you know Christ and that though Satan may buffet and though trials may come, can you say with all honesty “It is well with my soul”? Christ would do that for all who would come with their heavy burden, cease striving from self righteousness, and take upon them the yoke of Christ. He is blessed assurance!

There is so much more in this blessed passage, but digest these things for now. Meditate on them. Soak in them. Let God bless you today. Stop running around looking for something that does not exist. Rest in Jesus today.

My prayer for you today: Lord God, You are far too wonderful for words. I praise You for Your grace; thank you that we may enter into Your presence in prayer. I pray that our eyes may be enlightened; that we may see with the eyes of our hearts. Father, open the eyes of our heart. Rain down upon us Holy Spirit; rush upon us with the fresh breath of God. Bring refreshing to our dry bones. Show us Yourself. Anoint us afresh with the Holy Spirit’s illumination. May we see Your face, reach out and touch You, and may our hunger be for You and satisfied by You today. Let no ignorance of You keep us from You; by Your word, by Your servants, and by Your Spirit illumine us today. In Christ’s most precious name, Amen.

No comments: