#830. The encouragement of Simeon - Luke 2:22-35 (6/6/23)
Today, as we continue in our series in Luke, we are briefly looking at Luke 2:22-35.
Summary: The Holy Spirit wants to teach us to receive true comfort from Jesus
To watch this devotional, please go to:
Jesus is circumcised, named and consecrated
Our reading begins:
‘On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: ‘a pair of doves or two young pigeons.’’ (Luke 2:21-24)
Joseph and Mary obey God as they name Him Jesus as God, though the angel, had commanded; they also keep the demands of God’s law as they circumcise and consecrate Jesus to the Lord. He who wrote the Law is subject to it. God is not above His own truth. At the temple, they have this inspiring encounter with Simeon:
Jesus is the consolation of Israel
Our reading continues:
‘Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying…’ (Luke 2:25-28)
Simeon, we are told, ‘was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.’ This ‘consolation’ (The word is ‘paraklésis’ - a calling to one's aid for encouragement, comfort) is about the coming of the Messiah, who would deliver God’s people from their oppressors and problems. Simeon is waiting and expectant because of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit at work in him.
Jesus is Saviour of all nations
Our reading continues:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)
Rather like Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah in chapter 1, Simeon is inspired by the Holy Spirit to prophecy about Jesus and His work. He speaks of Jesus being ‘salvation’ and this will be for Israel and ‘all nations’ (Gentiles)- God’s heart for the outsiders and those who are not a part of God’s people is a strong theme in Luke.
A sword will pierce your soul
Our reading continues:
'The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”’ (Luke 2:33-35)
Inspired by the Spirit, Simeon speaks of Jesus dividing - sifting - ministry. Many - like Simeon - will receive Jesus, but many will reject Him and put Him to death. His death will ‘pierce [the] soul’ of Mary, but will be the means of His bringing comfort and salvation to the world. The plans of God often include pain for us. Mary experienced this and we will also. However, The Spirit wants to comfort us in all things.
The Holy Spirit wants to teach us to receive true comfort from Jesus. His salvation and the ongoing ministry of the Spirit, comfort us in many ways. Use the following text as inspiration for prayer so that you, like Simeon, Joseph and Mary may receive fresh comfort in your unique trials:
‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.’ (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Very important - this is the last week to book in for our weekend away!
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Please read Luke 2:1-52
This section on the birth of Christ has three sections:
1. Jesus’ birth (vv. 1–20)
2. His presentation in the temple (vv. 21–40)
3. His presence as a boy in the temple (vv. 41–52)
Let's discuss together:
What particularly struck you from Sunday's message?
What would you say was the common theme and aim in Luke telling these three accounts?
What are the various applications that one could make to this passage?
Jesus, in vv. 41-52, reveals His desire to be in His Father's house in order to learn and pray. How do you or could imitate Jesus in this?
SIV - What do the Shepherds do in vv. 16-20 and what does this teach us about evangelism?
SIV - How could you serve, invest and invite this week and let’s pray about this.
Prayer - How would you like prayer as a result of today’s study?