Few people have heard of a man in the Bible called Simeon. The picture you get of Simeon was that he was an old man who had been told, or better said, “…it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26). Mary and Joseph, only eight days after Jesus was born, took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to be circumcised. Whilst they were in the temple, an old man called Simeon approached them; Simeon had come to the temple in an unusual way that day. This unusual way that Simeon had come to the temple was by the Spirit, so in other words, Simeon was in the very Spirit and presence of God and was a man who no-doubt followed the Spirt and presence of God. Well, the Spirit and presence of God was going to the temple that day and therefore, so was Simeon by the same Spirit.
Simeon it says “…took Jesus up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:” (Luke 2:28,29).
The picture you get here is that Simeon was a person who no-doubt like all of us, longed to die in peace (when that time comes). Dying in peace is something that all of us would no-doubt like to do but how many of us have peace in our minds about the prospect of dying in peace? The other question is of course: what kind of peace are we talking about here? The peace that Simeon was talking about was the peace of knowing that he had found true salvation, he in a sense had true salvation in his very arms; he had now seen Jesus and he truly understood what Jesus was all about. In his own words Simeon said:
“For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:31,32).
Simeon was making a very powerful statement here; he has effectively said that Jesus came to give salvation to all people and not just his own people (Israel). What Simeon had said was also a surprise to Joseph and Mary because we read:
“Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him” Luke 2:33).
Simeon went on to bless Joseph and Mary but had something very important to say to Mary. He said to her:
“(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) Luke 2:35).
Most people take this to mean that Simeon is talking about Jesus’ crucifixion which Mary herself would witness.
Simeon, it would appear, was clearly a man who understood what Jesus’ ministry on earth would be all about. He appears to have understood that Jesus was going to die for the sins of the whole world. Simeon now knew that he could depart from this world in peace. He in a sense, and quite literally, had received salvation into his arms and embraced it; he had in the same sense embraced Jesus by taking him into his own arms and embracing Him, this confirming to Simeon that he had indeed received salvation (as prophesied to him).
The message is very clear here: we all like Simeon need to BE PREPARED for death. Death is something that will come to all of us, yet here was a man called Simeon who, in a sense, was looking forward to death. He could now depart from this world in peace, knowing without any doubt in his heart that he had received salvation.
You find yourself wondering and picturing Simeon leaving the temple that day, as he came in by the very Spirit and presence of God. Maybe he went home and laid his head on the pillow in his bed and died in peace. I think most of us would like to die in a bed and in peace. Simeon had taken Jesus into his arms and the picture you now get is that Simeon was placing the care of his soul into the Everlasting Arms. He died in peace knowing that the Everlasting Arms would carry him up just as he had lifted up Jesus into his own arms, now the Everlasting Arms would lift up Simeon and take him up up up into the world beyond and into a place where everything was peaceful and where he too could be young again; to a place where his life could start all over again; free at last from the pains of this life and the pain in his body that comes with old age. Now all would be life, love, and liberty; free at last; free to love, and free to give, and free in the same Spirit that took him to the temple that day to see Jesus!