July 03, 2020 – Friday
Luke 2:29-32 NIV
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
The above verses are amazing for a number of reasons. First let’s consider who is speaking. Verse 25 tells us who he is. 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. Caution in reading this verse, for the word consolation is used (console, comfort), not consolidation (bringing together). Ellicott’s Commentary tells us concerning the word consolation: This is the first occurrence of this word. In its general use it included the idea of counsel as well as comfort. Here the latter is obviously the dominant thought. We cannot pass over the words without remembering that the Child of whom Simeon spoke called Himself the Comforter, and promised His disciples to send them another, who should bear the same name in John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever (KJV).
As for Simeon 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 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, it was then Simeon held the baby Jesus in his arms and gave us our verses for the day. From verse 26 and 29 we may assume Simeon was old, perhaps very old as he now felt free to die in peace.
Before I get to the main point of the verse of the day, it is of interest Simeon said while holding Jesus 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel. This clearly shows the Holy Spirit had revealed to him Jesus was for the Gentiles (a light for revelation) as well as for the (the glory of) people of Israel.
What brought me here to this was verse 29 as mentioned in the book The Refiner’s Fire (Volume 1) by David Wilkerson. On page 12 there is a discussion of two words, servant and Lord, used in verse 29. Paul frequently described himself as the bondservant or bond-slave of Jesus Christ. Simeon in v29 uses the same terminology. It is the Greek (G1401) doulos which Strong’s Dictionary defines as a slave (literal or figurative, involuntary or voluntary; frequently, therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency):—bond(-man), servant. Many a Christian balks at this definition of a servant, but Paul does not and even suggests we imitate him or others of great faith.
Why should we not balk at being Jesus’ literal slave? Do we seek our own desires in our life or do we seek His. Do we want Him as a co-pilot or as the pilot of our life? Do we want to set out the goals and mission for our church or do we want Him to set out the goals and mission for the church? Simeon knows the Father was not a horrid taskmaster, nor was Jesus. He called him the consolation (or comfortor) of Israel.
However, Simeon was clear he was going to follow God no matter what. We see this when the word translated as Lord turns out to be the Greek word despotes (G1203). Strong’s Dictionary defines despotes as an absolute ruler (“despot”):—Lord, master. Vine’s Dictionary backs this up with the definition of a master, lord, one who possesses supreme authority. Again this is something some (many?) Christians balk at, as for many to give someone (even our Creator) absolute supreme authority over our lives seems a step too far.
But is it a step too far? The answer has to be no, it is not a step too far even when – especially when – we do not understand His directions. Recall Matthew 16:21b Jesus tells His disciples He must suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Immediately Peter tells Jesus that this will not happen to Him. Jesus reply (rebuke) to Peter in v23 is a reminder to us that God sees things differently than we do Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.
Even if God appears to be a despot in my finite view of reality, He is still my master and He still possess supreme authority over my life. Simeon understood this, Peter came to understand it. Do we? Will we?