Saturday 02 February 2013

Bible Book:

Luke 2:22-32 Saturday 2 February 2013


The story of Simeon's encounter with the infant Jesus is foundonly in Luke's Gospel, and describes how the hopes of a "righteousand devout" Jew (v. 25) were fulfilled in the young Messiah.Following the story, Luke also narrates how Jesus was recognised bythe widow and prophet Anna (Luke2:36-38).

The passage begins by describing Joseph and Mary coming tothe temple of Jerusalem at the time of their purification. Thisrite marked the end of the mother's ceremonial impurity following achild's birth (Leviticus 12), and takes place alongside thepresentation of Jesus as the firstborn son (Exodus13). Joseph and Mary offer a sacrifice, and so fulfil therequirements of the Jewish law.

A righteous Jew named Simeon was also in the temple, andLuke's Gospel explains he was anticipating the "consolation ofIsrael" (v. 25), God's promised deliverance. The Spirit "rested onhim", and - seeing Jesus - Simeon knew that the promise had beenfulfilled.

Simeon responds by bursting out in praise, with his 'song'now known as the Nunc Dimittis (Latin for 'now you aredismissing'). Simeon begins with an acknowledgement that he can die"in peace" (v. 29), since he has been privileged to see theMessiah. Jesus is the "salvation" of God, as he will bring theredemption of Israel. Simeon recognises, however, that Jesus is notjust the Saviour of Israel, but of "all peoples". Citing Isaiah52:10, Simenon sees Jesus as a "light for revelation to theGentiles" (v. 32) - one whose grace will overflow the boundaries ofIsrael while also blessing it.

Such a theme sits well in Luke's Gospel, which stressesthat Jesus brings salvation for the entire world, and especiallyfor those on the margins.

To Ponder

  • Why do you think it is important that Jesus fulfilled theJewish Law?
  • How does your church reflect that God's salvation is for "allpeoples"?
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