Commentary Excerpt by Tom Boomershine
This is a story about two elderly righteous persons whose amazing experience at the time of Jesus' presentation in the temple confirmed Jesus’ identity as Messiah. Simeon is a holy man, a layman, not a priest. His looking for the consolation of Israel means that he was hoping for the restoration of Israel's pride and freedom as a reward for all that the nation had suffered since the exile, now over 600 years.
Simeon’s holiness is emphasized three times: the Holy Spirit rested on him, had revealed the fulfillment of his hopes to see the Messiah, and led him up to the Temple at that moment. All of the descriptions emphasize that he was a person uniquely sensitive to God's Spirit. The temple was an absolutely magnificent place and one needs to imagine and portray the temple and its atmosphere in the way that you tell the story.
Simeon’s immediate identification of the child and taking him in his arms is a confirmation of Jesus’ identity as the Messiah. Simeon's poem of praise is spoken in utter exaltation and joy. An appropriate gesture is to first cradle and then hold up the child. Simeon’s poem celebrates the fulfillment of one who has waited an entire lifetime for this event so his prayer can appropriately be prayed in that spiritThe description of the child has two dimensions. The first is that he is coming as a lightof revelation to the Gentiles. His life will enlighten Israel's enemies, the Gentiles, and reveal the true God to them. Second, it is for the glory of the people of Israel. Because of the impact of his life, the people and tradition of Israel will be glorified throughout alltime.
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