According to the Jewish customs, women who gave birth were considered unclean for a period of 40 days. There was also a purification process and sacrifice that was part of the Law of Moses, and Mary and Jospeh obeyed this law following the birth of Jesus. It was at the very time when Mary and Joseph were coming into the temple that an old man was waiting in the temple. When Mary, Jospeh, and baby Jesus arrived, something unique happened.
Simeon was there waiting in the temple because he had been given a promise by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Christ of God. When Simeon saw baby Jesus, he praised God. Jesus, although a real baby, was God in human flesh. Jesus was the Christ—the Deliverer—the Messiah of Israel.
When Simeon saw Jesus, he praised God and in his praise he revealed some important truths about Jesus. Simeon called Jesus “salvation.” While Jesus was given the titled Immanuel (God with us), he was most literally the salvation of fallen humanity. He was the Messiah of Israel, and he was the hope of the Gentiles at the very same time. All of this came out in Simeon’s praise:
Luke 2:29-32 – “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
 for my eyes have seen your salvation
 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
In a dark world of sin, the light of the world came in the form of human flesh. The Christ was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit, was born in a manger, and came for the purpose of saving his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). Simeon could die in peace because he had seen the promised Messiah of Israel as promised by the Holy Spirit.
Our promise is not like Simeon’s promise. However, the Holy Spirit has given us a promise too through the Word that he wrote—the Bible. In the Scriptures, we have a distinct set of promises that we too will see our Lord. If we are alive, we will see him when he returns the second time. Much like Simeon was waiting on the first coming of Jesus, we find ourselves between the cross and the second advent waiting on Jesus’ return.
If we die before Jesus’ second coming, we have the promise that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). We too will see the Lord of glory. What a day that will be when our eyes see Jesus. Unlike Simeon, our sight of Jesus will be different. He will not be a small infant baby wrapped in his mother’s care. When we see Jesus, he will be the enthroned King of glory—the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Consider how majestic is the name of Jesus and how powerful is his throne—and one day we will see him face to face.
As Revelation 21:3 says, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” We have this promise to cling to—one day we will be with Jesus in eternity—no longer looking to the future promises from the shadows, but dwelling with God in his presence for all of eternity.
Simeon had been given a promise and he died in peace having received the fulfillment of that truth when his eyes saw his salvation. We have been given a promise too—that all who come to God by faith will one day see Christ and dwell with him forever.
Job believed this promise as he understood that when his skin was destroyed, he would see God (Job 19:25-27). David understood that he would dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Ps. 23:6). In Psalm 118:18-24—David found joy in the fact that he would one day enter through the gates of righteousness. Paul exclaimed, “for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Do you have assurance that one day you will spend eternity with Christ—in the presence of his care and love? Turn to Christ today by faith and repent of your sins. Call upon the Lord today believing that he died on the cross for your sins.
Romans 10:13 – For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”