One has to experience something profound to mouth those words! But that’s precisely what Simeon said as he held baby Jesus in his arms. He said to God, “Let your servant die in peace” (Luke 2:29).
The righteous man’s response leads to a question: What exactly had Simeon seen Jesus do? The answer: nothing. There’s no indication that Jesus performed a miracle of some kind at His tender age, nor was there a nativity-like chorus of angels overhead. He probably seemed like an ordinary baby, and little more. Yet Simeon said, “I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people” (Luke 2:30).
So why did Simeon react the way he did? This is explained in part by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. For it was the Spirit that brought Jesus to Simeon and revealed His true identity (the long-awaited Messiah) to the old man (Luke 2:25-26).
What a great reminder that we need the Spirit to help us see Jesus clearly! But, in addition, I think Simeon responded the way he did because he had been faithful his entire life and truly knew God. Luke labeled him as both “righteous and devout,” and being a man of God, he knew that He is good and loving (Luke 2:25). So God’s servant would surely be good and loving as well. Because Simeon trusted the Giver, he was able to see the Gift (Jesus) for what He truly was!
In order for us to recognize God’s good gifts, we need to focus not only on the gift itself, but on the character of the One who gives it. And if we have faith in a good, wise, and powerful Father, then surely we can trust that whatever He gives will be wonderfully good as well!
by Peter W. Chin