Thursday 02 February 2012

Bible Book:

"My eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples." (vv. 30-31)

Luke 2:22-32 Thursday 2 February 2012


Forty days since Christmas, and the Church celebrates the day onwhich Mary and Joseph would have brought their firstborn son to thetemple, on the 40th day of his life (Leviticus 12:2-6). They offered the poorfamily's offering of two pigeons, and at the same time dedicatedtheir first-born son, claimed by the Lord as every Jewish firstbornson was (Exodus 13:2), but at the same time, holy in theunique way that was already becoming clear through the eventssurrounding Jesus' birth.

So, an ordinary family celebrating God's gift to them as familiesdo; but then the unexpected breaks in with the arrival of Simeon.His life was marked by a longing to see Israel comforted (Isaiah40:1) and by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit - for Luke akey marker of God's power to act through individuals.

Though our reading focuses on Simeon, we need to remember that hisprophecy is linked to that of Anna (Luke2:26-38), a woman of great age and equal holiness, whose praiseto God is intertwined with words about Jesus, associating him withthe redemption of Jerusalem.

For Simeon, simply the presence of the baby was enough; his taskwas over and his life complete. Even if he was not elderly (and thetext does not give this indication), he had the profound sense thathe had achieved the purpose for which God had created him. He hasseen; that is enough.

For Simeon and for Anna, this baby is a sign that relates to theirvision of God's future for God's own people. When the messiahcomes, Israel will find comfort and Jerusalem will find redemption.So the child is the "salvation" which God offers to Israel - inthis baby, the hope of a renewed future is made real. The Gospelwill reveal the nature of this renewal as the story unfolds.

There is a profound rightness in the Church's traditionalcelebration of this event as Candlemas, when candles were blessedand given to the faithful for use during the year. For Simeon'swords end with the ringing acclamation of Jesus as light and glory(verse 32) - the Old Testament often describes God's glory as light(eg Exodus 13:21). For Israel and for Gentiles(non-Jews), the light of God's glory has become visible in thischild, bringing the two together in wonder at God's revelation -and this will be a theme of Luke's story throughout.

To Ponder

How does the image of light help you understandthe salvation that Jesus reveals?

Simeon knew that the Lord had given him aspecific purpose in life, and he knew when it was fulfilled. Whatpurpose might the Lord be giving you? And how might you know whenit is fulfilled?

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