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Luke 2:21-40

Simeon - A Devoted Heart

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • January 8, 2012

As we read this story, several things stand out that Luke makes a point for us to understand. Luke reveals to us the humble humanity of God's only begotten Son and that every requirement of the Law has been fulfilled in Him; and throughout this gospel he shows the work of the Holy Spirit as we see in this story as well. But the old man, Simeon, is the one who stands out in the story and when we look at his life and what he declared by the power of the Holy Spirit, there are some deep spiritual lessons for us all to receive.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Simeon – A Devoted Heart

Luke 2:21-40 

Now that were settling into the New Year, we get back into our regular study through God's Word and we find ourselves in the book of Luke, Chapter 2, verse 21.

The story that unfolds in these verses takes place about 40 days after the birth of Jesus. According to Jewish law Jesus would have been circumcised and officially given His name, Jesus, when he was eight days old. Then, 33 days after that, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord and to offer a sacrifice for the purification of His mother. All of this was according to the Law of the Lord found in the books of Leviticus and Numbers.

There is great significance and importance to all that's happening here as we'll see in a few moments, but while they are there in Jerusalem at the Temple, they encounter an old man by the name of Simeon. This old man is a man that we can learn much from as we look at his life. Simeon comes up to Joseph and Mary while they are carrying Jesus in their arms. He then asks to hold the child and gives them a word of prophecy that is nothing short of amazing.

But at that very moment a prophetess, and old woman by the name of Anna came up and began giving thanks to God and began telling everyone who was looking for the redemption of Israel about this little baby she saw on the Temple.

And then after these things, Joseph and Mary and the child Jesus traveled north to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth where the Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

Luke was a companion of the apostle Paul and had most likely met Paul as he was traveling through the Gentile cities speaking of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Luke, no doubt, heard Paul speak about Jesus, the Savior of the world and became a believer. Luke was a physician and he was a gentile and a faithful believer in Jesus Christ as the hope of man’s salvation.

As we read these words in Luke chapter 2, we can almost imagine Dr. Luke sitting with Mary and listening to her tell the story again of all that had happened when God gave her the privilege of bringing God's Messiah into the world.

As we read this story, several things stand out that Luke makes a point for us to understand. Luke reveals to us the humble humanity of God's only begotten Son. He makes a careful point to let us know that every requirement of the Law has been fulfilled in Him; and throughout this gospel he shows the work of the Holy Spirit as we see in this story as well.

But the old man, Simeon, is the one who stands out in the story and when we look at his life and what he declared by the power of the Holy Spirit, there are some deep spiritual lessons for us all to receive.

I. Be Righteous and Devoted

  • The first thing that we read about Simeon was that he was a man who was righteous and devout and looking expectantly for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
  • That's a powerful description of a man who is godly and honored by the Lord. We also know that he was told by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had seen the Lord's Messiah. 
  • From this description it is clear that these are qualities we should all desire in our own lives as well.

A. Living right; with the right heart

  • Righteousness in this sense really means to make the right decisions, to live the right way, but with the right heart.
  • Any righteousness we think we can generate on our own doesn't really amount to much before God.

Isaiah 64:6, All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

  • But one of the great truths we understand from God's Word is that He Himself makes us right before God by paying the penalty for our sin Himself.
  • In fact, when you look at what Joseph and Mary were doing there at the Temple, it speaks again to the fact that God sent His Son to redeem a world lost in sin.
  • It's important to see that they were there at the Temple to accomplish two things; first, to present Him to the Lord because of the law and principle of the firstborn son. Second, to offer a sacrifice of two turtledoves for Mary's purification according to the Law of Moses.

B. He is the firstborn among us

  • I realize this is a bit of a deeper topic for many, but it's really important for us to understand. Jesus is God's only begotten Son; that means He is the only natural son. But we are all now sons and daughters by adoption.

Romans 8:29, For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:15-16, For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

  • This is one and the most important spiritual truths we know because it helps us understand the kind of relationship that God wants with us and the price that He was willing to pay to make it possible for us to be His sons and daughters.
  • If you did a biblical study about the significance of the firstborn son, it would be simply amazing. Here are just a few scriptures that give us a bit of insight into this great truth.

Exodus 4:22, "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, my firstborn. So I said to you, ‘Let My son go that he may serve Me’; but you have refused to let them go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.”’"

  • This was the famous 10th plague that Moses declared to Pharaoh, but if any of them would apply the blood of a lamb to the doorpost of their house, they would be saved by the blood.
  • The blood of the lamb represented the blood of God's firstborn Son, Jesus Christ.
  • You can also see the symbolism of Israel being God's son by the word that Gabriel said to Joseph when he told Joseph to take the child Jesus to Egypt…

Matthew 2:15, Joseph remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet; "Out of Egypt I called my son."

C. Be devout with devotion

  • Turning back now to look at Simeon, Luke also told us that he was a devout man. This is also a quality that God wants us to have in our hearts.
  • At first that might seem like a religious sounding word, but its meaning is significant. It means, diligent and faithful.
  • In other words, Simeon's faith meant a lot to him and he was motivated by his sincere heart.
  • When you see how this man was led by the Holy Spirit, it reveals the depth of faith and relationship we should all desire.

Romans 8:14, For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.

  • To be devout with devotion really speaks to the kind of faith that we have with God.

Illus –For example, you might ask me if I'm a golfer and I would answer, "Yes, I am." But that doesn't tell you what kind of golfer I am. But if you hear that I'm a devoted golfer, it takes on a whole different meaning.

I met a man one time who told me that if his wife wanted quality time with him, she went golfing with him. He was definitely a devoted golfer; the same wouldn't be true about his husbanding, however.

II. Jesus is a Cross in the Road

  • Simeon gave a prophecy to Mary that she treasured in her heart. That prophecy is for us to understand as well.

A. Jesus came to bring a crisis

  • Simeon tells her that this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed. In other words, Jesus would be an offense to many.
  • Many people, when they first hear of Jesus are offended. Why? Because he brings a cross in the road, you might say.

Matthew 7:13, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way his broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."

  • When you meet Jesus, you have to make a decision; you have come to a cross in the road.
  • This is the most important point you'll come to in this life and what peace comes when this matter is truly settled. I love the assurance that Paul declares…

2 Timothy 1:12, I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I'm persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him until that day.

Joshua 24:15, "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are now living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

  • Some people try to have one foot on one road and another foot on the other road, but this is truly a most miserable way to live.

B. Grow and become strong

  • In verses 39 and 40, Luke tells us that after these things, they returned to Nazareth and the Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
  • Jesus, in His humanity, grew in wisdom and became strong. He lived as an example for us to follow.
  • Once we've made our decision, once we’ve settled in our heart the direction of our lives, we then need to grow in our relationship to the Lord.
  • How do we do that? By drawing near to Him in His word, and by understanding that the joy of the Lord is our strength.

Illus – Babies are absolutely adorable! Who doesn’t love babies? Never mind the fact that someone has to change their diapers and they wake up in the middle of the night crying, they are the cutest and most adorable things on the earth!

But no one wants their baby to stay a baby. We want to see our children grow into mature adults, being able to make wise decisions for themselves.

Hebrews 5:12, For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

Hebrews 5:14, But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Luke 2:21-40   NASB

21 And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. 22 And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every first born male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord"), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, "A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."

25 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
 
29 "Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 A Light of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel."
 
33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed- 35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul-to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."
 
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. 38 At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
 
39 When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth. 40 The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
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