Luke was a physician who travelled around preaching the gospel and planting churches with the Apostle Paul. This gospel account was written after a careful gathering of information from eyewitnesses to the ministry and resurrection of Jesus, and is addressed to Luke’s friend Theophilus. Luke tells us in 1:4 that the reason he wrote these things was “that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”
As I read these four chapters (with a fresh perspective on the life and ministry of Jesus from Matthew and Mark), I found myself pausing at Simeon’s prophecy in Luke 2:29-32. This righteous, Spirit-filled man has been waiting for the consolation of Israel the Messiah that will save the people. When Jesus is brought to the temple for purification, Simeon blesses God…
Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.
Here are three lessons from Simeon that help us understand the salvation God has provided in Jesus.
- Jesus is salvation: Luke draws heavily from the prophetic language of Isaiah (40:1 for example) in referring to Jesus as the consolation of Israel. Simeon himself calls Jesus God’s salvation. Even the name Jesus (Yeshua) means the Lord saves.
- This Salvation is for all peoples: Simeon, a man anointed with the Holy Spirit, knew that Israel wasn’t the only nation to receive the blessing of salvation. Verse 32 tells us that Jesus is a light for revelation to the Gentiles (all non-Jews). This is important to note since so many thought that the Messiah would come and rule in military fashion, delivering Israel from Roman rule. But the deliverance Christ provided was much sweeter, a deliverance from sin into righteous for all those who trust in His finished work on the cross; from every tribe, tongue, nation, social status, etc.
- God graciously chose Israel to bring salvation into the world (Gen 15, 32): Israel constantly turned their backs on God toward lesser, worldly pleasures of other nations. Their cycle of idolatry, being disciplined, repenting, then doing it all again is a major theme of the Old Testament.
But God never gave up. He never broke his promise. In this Simeon rejoices. And we should too. Though his children fail, His relentless grace pursues us in Jesus Christ. This is the promise for those who trust in Christ for salvation.