We don’t know much about him at all.
He merely occurs in this familiar scene from Luke 2 where Mary and Joseph take their 8-day-old baby Jesus to the temple. In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God: “God, you can now release your servant;
release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
and of glory for your people Israel.”
There are a LOT of depictions of this scene, but as I was looking through them this one by Rembrant really struck me.
|Simeon’s Song of Praise- Rembrandt – 1631|
Simeon is looking up to heaven. As if he’s thinking “OK God you did it. Your Messiah is here. You did what you told me you’d do. I’m good to come now”
It got me thinking. I think if I were Simeon, I would have thought “OK – now can I just wait a bit? See what he’ll do? Hear what he has to say? How can you let me see this baby – and then not see what the Messiah will actually do?”
Maybe Simeon thought when he was told “See the Messiah” he was always picturing a full-grown, warrior-king. Now he has a little week-old baby in his arms.
And yet, he is completely content.
“That’s it God. We’re all good. Let’s go.”
An amazing example of not needing or wanting that “one more thing.” He was perfectly content with what God offered to him. Nothing more was required for Simeon to be content with what God had for him.
The above was not the only work by Rembrandt depicting this scene. He had previously painted “Simeon and Anna in the Temple” a few years before.
And then there was his very last painting. Simeon In the Temple was unfinished when he died in 1669 (Anna was added by one of his students after his death)
When I look at the eyes of Simeon, I see someone who can say with contentment “God you’ve given me what you said…and more.”
Be truly, deeply honest with yourself.
What is the thing that you are still waiting for?
That thing you think God has for you?
Maybe even “owes” you?
Remember – Simeon was ‘told by God’ there was one thing left for him, and then he was content to leave this life.
What are the things you are holding out for before you would have that same attitude?
Reflect on them. What does it mean that you ‘need’ to see/experience/acquire them?
there are things that I still long to do,
people I long to serve,
and so much more.
But give me a sense of your goodness,
So that my soul can say with Simeon
“Lord, let your servant depart in peace”
And when that day does come,
May it truly be dripping with peace.