Thursday 02 February 2017

Bible Book:

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.” (v. 25)

Luke 2:22-32 Thursday 2 February 2017

Psalm: Psalm24


Faithfulness is rewarded andexpectations heightened in this dramatic encounter in the temple inJerusalem. In accordance with the law of Moses, Mary and Josephbrought their firstborn son to be presented to the Lord, offering asacrifice indicative of their lowly standing - "a pair ofturtle-doves or two young pigeons" (v. 24). In the process Maryfulfils her obligation to be 'purified', 40 days after the birth ofher son.

There to greet the happy and obedientparents is Simeon who was "righteous and devout, looking forward tothe consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him".Simeon was expecting to see "the Lord's Messiah" (v. 26) before hedied, and here on this day he comes into the temple and hisfaithfulness is rewarded.

And so on this date in the Church'scalendar, the festival of Candlemas celebrates the presentation ofChrist in the temple and his being 'the light of the world', assuggested by Simeon's words. It is heart-warming to see thepatience and faithfulness of Simeon culminating in this encounter,and it is a timely reminder to respect those among us who havewalked a similar road. But there is a hard message here too aboutthe consequences of this revelatory light and for those upon whomthis light will shine, including Mary herself.

Light is often viewed as good and warm,friendly and reassuring, and so it can be with reference to God.But to encounter the living God is an awesome thing so, as amazedas Mary and Joseph were at the words they heard that day in thetemple, one can also imagine that they returned to Galilee a littletroubled. This was no easy, comfortable journey upon which they hadembarked. Clearly life was never going to be the same again - and asafe, conventional existence was unlikely to be theirlot.

For many Christians in the world todayfollowing 'the light of the world' means that discomfort is stillvery much part of their experience. There is strength to be foundthrough looking to Jesus but also to the saints who have bornewitness, whose lives have been rooted in worship and praise, andwhich have embodied patience, courage and hope. There is noguarantee that such faithfulness will be rewarded like Simeon's butit will hold a candle to the darkness - shedding a light ofrevelation to the nations.

To Ponder


    • Are there people like Simeon in yourcommunity? When did you last listen to them and how are theycelebrated?
    • In your context how is 'the light ofthe world' both comforting and discomforting?
    • Identify a situation in the world whereChristians are finding life particularly difficult. Learn moreabout their plight and hold them in your prayers.
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