Simeon was a devout and just man who showed up at the dedication of Jesus. God sent an angel to Simeon beforehand with a promise that he would be able to look upon Christ his savior before the end of his life. It's a beautiful example of God fulfilling His promises to His people.
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Hope and Holiness: How the Gospel Enables and Empowers Sexual Purity
John Fonville is Pastor of Paramount Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Paramount Church is part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
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We're going to be looking at the song of Simeon. So let's just begin reading here. Look at Luke chapter two verse 21. Luke writes, In when eight days had passed, before his circumcision, his name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days for the purification for their purification, according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it is written, and the law the Lord, this is a Mosaic Covenant. every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord, and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the law of award, quote, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Semyon. And this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, that he would not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the child, Jesus, to carry out for him the custom of the law. Then he took him into his arms and bless God and said, Now, Lord, you are releasing your bondservant, to depart in peace according to your word. For my eyes, I've seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people, Israel. And his father and mother were amazed at the things which have been said about him, and sent me and bless them and said to marry his mother, Behold, this child is appointed for the Fallen rise of many in Israel. And for a sign to be opposed in a sword will pierce even your own soul to the end that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. So what we've looked at so far are the five songs of Luke, and the opening chapters of Luke that cluster around the nativity story of Christ. And all of these songs, except that the angels are composed by what Luke describes as a righteous or devout spirit, lead believers. And these righteous devout spirit led believers were looking and eagerly expecting for the coming of the Messiah. Let me just show you really quickly who we've looked at. These righteous Old Testament sayings include an aged mother, Jewish mother, Elizabeth, so that was the song of Elizabeth it was a hymn of blessing to marry. The second was a young virgin mother, Virgin Jewish mother, which was Mary. So we have the saga of Mary the Magnificat. And that was a hymn of faith and praise to God. Then we had an aged Levitical priest. That was Zachariah, the husband of Elizabeth and the father of John the Baptist, and that was dishonest Zachariah, which has been called the Benedictus, or a hymn of hope. Then we looked at a heavenly army of angels. These are not Old Testament saints. This was heaven addressing Earth. This was the song of the angel is a hymn of praise. And so finally, we come to this fifth song, this fifth and final song called the song of Semyon. And here we have an aged Jewish layman. He was not a priest. He was he was not a Levite. He was a layman. He was an Old Testament believer who was righteous and devout and he was led and filled by the Holy Spirit. And then Luke in verses 36 or 38 also concludes with an aged prophetess called Anna but we're not going to look at that today. So you have all sorts of folks you have old and young you have male and female, you have priest in You have Laymon you have everything covered. And then you also have the angels. The popular title of the saga semi and you may have heard this is called the nuke Dimittis. This just is simply Latin the first words in the Latin version that says, Now release, sent me says, Now Lord, you are releasing your bondservant. And so the song of Simeon has occupied a significant place in the worship of the church. Throughout the centuries, this is a very popular hymn. Let me just give you an example. This hymn can go all the way back to the fourth century and is found in a manual called the apostolic constitution. And this was simply a manual that was composed of church discipline of church worship and Christian doctrine. So all the way back to the fourth century, the church was singing this hymn. This song is also one of the appointing hymns that daily evening prayer in the Book of Common Prayer. So if you use the Book of Common Prayer for your daily devotions, which I do often, you will find that this hymn is placed there every single day for you to sing. And so this has been a popular human use throughout the history of the church. It's very significant. And it's also been used throughout the liturgical church calendar. The song is Semyon focuses on the season known as epiphany. Epiphany, as you're gonna come to see is very important. But what we have here is Semyon praising God, because God is fulfilling his ancient promise to save His people from their sins. Then, so there's, it's very important that we see that when Semyon song he is, he is singing about all the themes that all the prior four songs have sung about. But because this song has been used in the season of Epiphany, send me a song now for the first time explicitly that angel song introduced it but now semi and explicitly shows us a new emphasis in the songs. Bible teachers note that each one of these songs and Luke's Gospel builds upon the other in the scope widens, each time, a song is sung, the scope of God's saving plan begins to gradually widen. So for example, the song of Mary or Elizabeth song is basically Mary is the focus of her hand. Mary is the Blessed Mother and She receives a blessing from her cousin, Elizabeth. But then the scope widens and Mary's Magnificat in in Zacharias has been addicted and his song of hope. And the focus there begins to be on Israel's helper in Israel's hope God who is coming to aid in to help his people Israel. But then, when we come to the song of Semyon and also the song, the angels began to introduce it as well. But explicitly here in the Tsar Semyon, the focus has gone from Mary to Israel, to the universal scope of God's saving plan for all nations. And this is the new emphasis that is found here and the song of Semyon, the baby that Semyon takes up into his arms as you're gonna see, he is the fulfillment of God's universal plan of salvation for both Jew and Gentile. And so this is why the song of Semyon belongs to the season of epiphany. So, what is epiphany? Let me just give you a little brief lesson on that epiphany comes from a Greek word that means to provide illumination, it means to give light to be manifest to appear. Titus chapter two, verse 11, the apostle Paul says, For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. And Luke chapter two verse 30. To hear that in our passage, Simeon is we're gonna see praises God for having prepared for all people, Jew and Gentile alight. And so Jesus has prepared or God has prepared Jesus to be a light, who illuminates the way of salvation. For as we'll see every tribe language people in tongues. So there's this universal scope of God's plan of salvation that we learn from this song and we know from the context of loose gospel, that Semyon is singing about God's fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant.
Why is that significant? But Because in Genesis chapter 12, verse three, what did the Lord promise Abraham? He promised Abraham that all nations would be blessed through his offspring. Not just us, but all nations Gentiles as well. And so this time of Epiphany focuses on the manifestation or appearance of Jesus, who is the Light of the world, who illuminates to all people, groups, everyone, the way of God's plan of redemption and salvation. What we also see from the song or Simeon is that not all is good news about the appearing the manifestation of of God. In human flesh, Semyon also explains, as we'll see, to Joseph and Mary, that their baby is not only God's salvation, but he has also been appointed to be God's judgment. And so we'll see that in just a moment. But what was the occasion the occasion of the song was the presentation of Jesus out of the temple by his parents. Look at chapter chapter two, look at verses 22 through 24. Luke tells you that when the days for the purification, according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him as the firstborn to the Lord. And so what we have is Joseph and Mary, following in the priest, the real normal required customs of the Mosaic law. This is very important because what Luke is pointing out is the piety of Jesus, his parents, Joseph and Mary are set forth as pious law abiding Jews, they are journeying from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, to fulfill the ceremonies required by the law. And so Joseph and Mary Luke is emphasizing to us we're obedient to God's law. Now that is going to be very significant as we go through this song. Luke records right here and the passage does the passage that we just read three ceremonies prescribed by the Mosaic Covenant. First of all, verse 21, he says that Jesus was circumcised according to the law. Look at verse 21. When hay days had passed before a circumcision, so in other words, Jesus was named Jesus when he was circumcised according to the laws that he submitted to circumcision. Second, verse 22. They submitted to purification after childbirth, the law required all women to go through these purification rites after they had children. And then thirdly, because of the Exodus event from Exodus chapter 13, every newborn every firstborn of Israel was holy to the Lord. And so they were to be presented to the Lord all first Mormons were to be presented to the Lord according to the law of Moses. Now, all of that information leads us to this question. Why is Luke so concerned to show us the piety of Joseph and Mary's obedience to the Mosaic Covenant to God's law? Because if you read the text carefully, we just it says over and over, they submitted to the law of Moses to the law of Moses to the law. Mr. Luke is repeating this. Why is he is concerned to show us this submission to God's law? Well, let me just briefly consider with you the ceremony of circumcision. What was circumcision? Circumcision was instituted in the Abrahamic covenant, but it was repeated in the Mosaic covenant, which was law. Circumcision was a sacrament of identification. For those whose privilege and responsibility it was to be members of the people of God to be a part of the worshiping community of God's people. Further with the privilege of circumcision came the responsibility of those who are called into fellowship with God. They now have this responsibility as having been set apart for his service to live a life of faithful obedience to God's law. So by undergoing circumcision on the eighth day in listen carefully, Jesus is identifying himself with his people. Jesus, his circumcision was a public testimony to Israel, that according to the flesh, he was a Jew. And then he was made of a Jewish woman. Galatians four four, Paul says he was born of a woman more and listen, born under the law, law Lucas showing you from the very moment of his birth. Jesus is submitting himself to the law he has been born and brought into this world under the law. Without it, he would not have fulfilled the laws requirements, he could not have been recognized as a son of David and as a seed of Abraham. Also, we have to remember that circumcision was necessary because the Lord cannot be heard as a teacher in Israel, he would have had no lawful place, and the Jewish assembly, no right to do any Jewish ordinance, because without it, he would have not been he would have been regarded by all Jews, as nothing better than an uncircumcised Gentile. And so he would have been looked at as an apostate from the faith or the fathers. But here we see from the moment of his birth, Jesus was born, as Paul says in Galatians, four, four under the law. Now we'll come back to that at the end. But remember this this is very significant what Luke is setting up for us. Jesus being born in submission to the Mosaic Covenant, gave him the opportunity to perform both actively what the law required and passively the penalties Allah demanded for breaking it on our behalf. So in keeping with the laws requirements, Luke tells us, Joseph and Mary offered birds instead of a lamb. Why is that important? Because the law says, If you're too poor to offer land, you can offer these cheaper version, which was the birds given by poor and so again, throughout all of Luke's opening, chapter here in verse chapters one and two in the songs, we see this emphasis how God has chosen the lowly and weak in the world's eyes, the foolish of the world to bring about his plan of redemption. So while the presentation of Jesus was customary, Luke is beginning to show you that his presentation, though customary, would be an extraordinary event in the history of God's plan of redemption. And that's what he's setting us up for. Joseph and Mary, are drawing near to the temple, to present Jesus. And as they come, Luke tells us that they experienced this divinely orchestrated meeting of the Holy Spirit. Now you need to understand all throughout Luke chapters one and two, the Holy Spirit, Luke has mentioned the Holy Spirit over and over and over, he plays a significant part in this whole birth narrative. And what is Luke trying to show us He's showing us that every single turn in the work of Jesus coming into this world, it is the Holy Spirit, who empowers that and makes that happen, he is orchestrating the whole plan of redemption in history. You see, this was the Father's plan, the Father sent the Son and the Holy Spirit is orchestrating the whole plan of salvation. Luka showing you how the Trinity carries out our salvation. And so Mary and Joseph are thinking they're just going to customarily, as every law abiding Jewish family would do, we're going to walk to the temple, we're going to present our firstborn son, we're going to keep the law. And as they were doing a normal, ordinary, everyday activity, they experience this divinely orchestrated, extraordinary encounter, because the Holy Spirit has orchestrated that they meet this man called Semyon. And that's what Luke is showing us. They're greeted by this total stranger. And he gives them amazing words of testimony concerning the significance of their son. mean, can you imagine coming to church, right? And a total stranger takes your baby and holds him up and says here is the Savior of the world. That's what happened to Joseph and Mary. Let's just very quickly as we get this context, let's look at simians character verses 25 to 27.
It's very, there's not much known about Simeon other than what Luke tells us. And Luke is not telling us what his vocation was. He probably wasn't a priest nor his age, but he was probably an older man. Luke tells us about his spiritual condition. Look what he says in verses 25 through 27. He says that Semyon was righteous and devout that he was a god fear he was a law keeper like Marian Joseph. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, verse 25. Now remember the context here, remember the setting. This was a time of extraordinary darkness for Israel. Israel, as we have learned throughout this series is that they are still in exile. They're still in darkness under Roman oppression Roman rule. And so God's people are still waiting in hope for God to fulfill his ancient promises to the to the fathers of Abraham and David. And so this coming offspring who have visited his people in salvation in judgment, and so in the midst of this darkness, there were righteous remnant of Old Testament believers, there weren't many. But there were some and these rageous Old Testament sayings like Semyon we're looking forward, Luke says, To the constellation that is to the comfort to the comfort of Israel, as foretold by the prophets, Isaiah 40, verses one through two because this we're gonna see the song of Semyon of bounds in Old Testament allusions. Adjust. For example, the prophet Isaiah says to Israel, comfort Oh, comfort my people, says your God, speak kindly to Jerusalem and call out to her that her warfare has ended and her iniquity has been removed, that she has received the Lord's hand double for all her sins. And so here, this Old Testament layman knew his Bible well, and had been looking, waiting his whole life, for the consolation for this comfort of Israel to come. In to his surprise, to his surprise, the Holy Spirit, Luke says, revealed to him that he was about to see that constellation. Look at verse 27. Luke says that Simeon came in the Spirit into the temple. So there it is, the Holy Spirit led him, led him to this divinely appointed median, meeting, semi and had been endowed with a very rare and special blessing. This was before Pentecost. This was before the rich outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And somehow, this Old Testament believer, the Holy Spirit was resting upon him and influencing everything he was doing, and brought him to the temple. This is quite amazing. And look at verses 26 and 27. The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he will not see death before he has seen the Lord's Christ, this constellation, this comfort of Israel, that he had been waiting for reading about from the Old Testament scriptures, his whole lives, which leads to a quick application point for us. When you read the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, Genesis to Malikai, what are you looking for? What were these Old Testament saints looking for? Jesus, the constellation of Israel, the comfort from God, this light that had been promised when we read the Bible, and maybe perhaps some of you this year, have major new year's resolution to read the Bible every day, then read it, read it through. Look for Jesus, just like these believers did look for him, he came guided by the Holy Spirit into the temple, looking for the consolation of Israel. And when he meets Joseph and Mary, he breaks forth into a spirit filled song concerning the significance of their sons. So that's all the context to help you appreciate this song. So let's look at the song in verses 28 to 32. It says Simeon took this one and a half month old baby Jesus, he took him up into his arms and he blessed God. So here comes Joseph and Mary. He meets them in the courtyard of the Gentiles or the courtyard, the probably the courtyard of the Gentiles or the courtyard of the women, because that's only where Mary was allowed to go. They were in the exact part of the central part of the temple because you couldn't go to that part. But he meets Mary and Joseph here, and he takes their child and he bless God and he thanks God for what this child meant to him personally, and for what it meant for the world, both Jew and Gentile and Mary and Joseph are just standing there watching this whole thing take place. And so he begins his song he says, Now Lord, you are releasing your bondservant to depart in peace. according to your word, what was God's word? Verse 26. What had the Holy Spirit told Him? The Holy Spirit had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. God is faithful to fulfill His Word. And isn't that a theme that we've seen over and over and all these songs, God is faithful, he's filled with mercy. He is still a steadfast love. He keeps his word he acts according to His promises for our behalf. And so God has fulfilled his word and so now Simeon can die in peace, knowing that the comfort the consolation of Israel has come and he's holding the constellation of Israel in his arms, which is a one and a half month old baby. And so Zachariah was concluding the same thing that's the Semyon was concluded. He says that he has released his bondservant to depart in peace. The strong emphasis on PISA at the end of Zachariah song Zacharias said that this sunrise from Ojai shall come and visit his people to guide our feet into the way of peace. What did the angels saying chapter two verse 14, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased and so Semyon is declaring that his life can come to an end in peace and love, comfort of knowing that God's consolation Salvation has come. And so he continues, he says, from my eyes has seen your salvation. His eyes that's You see, that's when we say the gospel is outside of you. The gospel is in history, it is a person. It is Jesus flesh and blood in simians arms, and he's looking at his hand this is my salvation. My eyes have seen your salvation though these Old Testament illusions of bound and sent me in song, where was he getting this from? Isaiah chapter 52, verse 10, the Lord has varied his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God. And so the reason Simeon can depart in peace is because he has seen God's salvation literally, in his arms. Now note carefully that God's salvation is directly linked to seeing Jesus. Salvation comes because Jesus has come. Salvation is in this person, in a person, and so on verses 31 and 32, semi semi and loudly and joyfully joyfully proclaims the significance of God's salvation. He says that this salvation, this person, this baby is not just for the Jews, but he's also for the Gentiles. Look at verses 31 and 32. He says, My eyes have seen your salvation, a salvation look which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, and who are all peoples, verse 32, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory to your people, Israel. And so sent me in refers to Jesus as a light. This light suggests this coming illumination into darkness, which is again, a season of Epiphany where Jesus appears to be the light of the world to all people. And this is clearly an allusion back to Isaiah again, chapter 42, verses six and seven. Listen to what the Lord says to the prophet Isaiah. He says, and we read this in our reading this morning, if you picked up on it. He says, I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness That will take you by the hand and keep you I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations. That's where Simeon applied this to Jesus, a light to the nation's to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon from the prison, those who sit in darkness or again Isaiah 49 Six.
It is to lie to thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserve of Israel. I will make you as a light for the nations that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. And so this this image of light applied to Jesus is richly found in the Old Testament prophets, where they had already prophesied of a coming universal scope of salvation, and sent me in as holding In this baby saying, that wish the Prophet said would be a light of salvation to the nation's is in my hands. And so we see this also in the song as Zachariah he says the sunrise on high from on high will visit us to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. In the midst of Israel's darkness, God, Luke says has prepared a light. Do you see that? The Trinity working again, God the Father has prepared this light and has sent this light. He has prepared this to illuminate those who are in darkness and in the shadow of death. Matthew says in Matthew 416 He says the people who were sitting in darkness saw great light, and those who are sitting in the land and shadow of death upon them a light dawn. And so scripture repeatedly describes our world's condition and our condition before God is one of darkness its sin. And Jesus as the light illuminates the way of salvation of all who are in darkness, both Jew and Gentile. Now why does Luke say that Jesus is a light of revelation to the Gentiles? The reason he says this is because Gentiles are in the deepest darkness. Let me explain this to you. In Ephesians chapter two verse 12, before the coming of Christ, the apostle Paul says that the Gentiles quote, were separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in this world, that's darkness. They didn't have the advantage that the Jewish people had. The Scripture show the great advantage that the Jews had over the Gentiles in Romans chapter three, verse two, Paul says that the Jews had a great advantage over Gentiles and that listen, they were entrusted with the oracles of God. They had the revelation of God the Old Testament scriptures, Paul says, The Gentiles were in utter darkness, they did not have this special revelation. In Romans chapter nine verses four through five Paul, listen abundance of Israel spiritual privileges, listen to the privileges that they had over the Gentiles. He says to the Israelites belongs the adoption as sons, the glory, and the covenant and the giving of the law, and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from him, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who was overall God blessed forever, amen. And so Israel had these great privileges of special revelation giving to given to them and yet the Gentiles before the coming of Christ lived in utter darkness, no, nothing of these great spiritual privileges. The Gentiles were devoid of all of them, and thus were in total darkness. Now could you imagine to have living back then without now what we have Genesis to Revelation? And so their darkness was deepest, but Israel's darkness was the most inexcusable but but, but but Semyon analysis, the good news that Jesus has come as a light to the Gentiles, illuminating those who are in darkness, devoid of all the spiritual privileges, a saving knowledge of the Messiah of God in His plan of redemption for all mankind. And that's why the song is Semyon is so significant. During the season of Epiphany, the gospel is for all people now, Jesus has come illuminating the way of salvation for all people. And that's such good news. And this is why Simeon is just breaking forth and prays to God. And then Luke says, We're Semyon Luke records that sent me and says, for Israel, God's salvation, which is Jesus, its glory. It's a light of revelation to the Gentiles, but for Israel is glory. What does he mean by that? Well, Israel has been chosen by God, to have this unprecedented privilege and honor of bringing forth the Messiah who had been long promised by God from Abraham. Well, actually going back to Adam and Eve in the garden to Abraham and then to David. They have had the honor of bringing forth the Christ, the Messiah, who was the light of the world for all people. And as you've heard in our readings this morning, we're all about the season of epiphany. It was talking about how from ancient times the prophets were prophesy I did. It wasn't always about Israel. God chose Israel to have the honor of bringing forth the Messiah to bless all nations. Why? Because it had already been prophesied and promised by God long ago to Abraham. And you, Abraham, all nations will be blessed, and the prophets picked up on that. And in the readings this morning, all nations will be blessed through this coming glory of Israel. And so God's salvation, which he is prepared for all peoples comes through Israel, and it is this blessing more than anything else. That was the glory of Israel. And so Semyon song rings out with notes of joy and praise and comfort and vindication and victory and hope for God's people. Because God is saving his people and fulfillment of His promises. And he's not only saving his people, Israel, but now he is saving all people Jew and Gentile, making them one. His father and mother were amazed at the things which are being said about him. Now, if you just go back through the songs, look at all the amazing things that already been told Joseph and Mary, about their son, right. And it just keeps coming. And so they're amazed once again, can you imagine Mary and Joseph's amazement? They're walking into the temple, this is like you going to work tomorrow morning. That's how ordinary this was okay. There was nothing extraordinary about taking your son to dedicate him at the temple. This is just what you did. This is what you do. You get up on Monday morning, you go to work, you're drinking your coffee, you're half asleep, right? And all of a sudden, your son's the savior of the whole world. This total stranger takes their baby up into his arms, and he breaks out into a song right in front of them, holding him. proclaiming to then your son Jesus is the long awaited Messiah, in whom the realization of God's universal Plan of Salvation has come. Now I can depart in peace. I think you might be just a little bit amazed to Why did amazing song and announcement. But as I said, Jesus is coming Semyon tells Joseph and Mary was not all good news. So let's look at this last part. Let's look at his prophecy. Look at verses 34 through 35 very quickly. In verses 34 and 35, Jesus sent me and says to Mary, Behold, this child is appointed for the Fallen rise of many in Israel for assigned to be opposed. And a sword will pierce even your own soul to the end, that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. Listen carefully, semi and prophesize of the effect that Jesus will have both upon Mary and upon Israel. So let's take it backwards. Let's look at Mary first. First, Simeon prophesized that Jesus will bring great emotional pain to his mother. In this little parenthetical statement, Semyon foretells to Mary the effect that her son will have upon her, he says a sword will pierce even your own soul. In other words, here's how you say it. Mary's Heart will be filled with grief. As she sees the great division, that her son will bring, and have this negative effect everywhere he goes on the hearts of men.
This, this division that Jesus will bring causes great emotional grief in his mother. And then of course in John 19, verses 25 to 27, which is the fulfillment of the app that combination and consummation fulfillment of Zacharias prophecy here. Mary is standing at the cross and you can only imagine the emotional intensity of her suffering as she stood helplessly by watching her son be cruelly crucified for nothing. And so here's Zacharias of Simeon is already telling Mary your son will bring you great emotional pain. And so there's no doubt that the sharp and painful sword that said and prophesied of when Jesus was but an infant pierced her soul to the depths when her son was crucified on the cross. But little does she know that three days later, the depth of grief would be replaced by the heights of joy and his resurrection. But look at the second part of this prophecy, not only will the coming of Jesus result in great emotional pain to marry throughout her whole life. But the second effect is that Jesus will divide Israel. Despite Israel's spiritual advantage and glory, Jesus is coming would result in a sharp division between those who receive Him and those who reject Him. I want you to listen carefully to what Jesus says in Matthew chapter 10, verses 34 through 35. And this says, As it is a sobering warning about the reality of what Jesus brings when he comes into this world. Jesus says, Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth, I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter in law against her mother in law, and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. In quote, The I can testify to that from our own family that we've experienced that pain and I can tell you that I pray with families that go through that all the time. Jesus divided families there are some who receive Him and there were some who reject Him and it creates great division and deep emotional grief and suffering and pain for people. And this is what Simeon says will happen to the nation of Israel and what will happen to families ultimately, the coming of Jesus will result in a great dividing of all humanity and the final judgment. If you keep reading and Luke's Gospel in Luke chapter 13, verses 25 to 30. Luke reveals that this baby, his who has come to be the Savior of all mankind, is not only the Savior of all people, but he's also the final judge of all people. In this passage, Jesus warns that he was shot some people out of the kingdom of God, because they rejected Him they refuse to submit to him into believing him. And so Luke says, Therefore, Jesus Himself will, quote, cast them out, he will bring the Great Divide at the end time. But in contrast, Luke says that Jesus will welcome not only believing Israelites, Luke 13, verse 28, but he will also welcome believing Gentiles, Luke says people from the east and the west and the north and the south, all peoples, all Gentiles, Jew and Gentile, who receive Him by faith. Now, Jesus will welcome them into His eternal kingdom. But it will create at the end time, the division that is now seen in this world through this baby will come to a great combination. In the end, when Jesus Himself will not be savior, but judge and make the clear division. So all can see it perfectly. And so all who have trusted Jesus by faith now enter his kingdom and so Cindy and tells Mary that her son, look at verse 34, and 35. He says, Mary, your son will serve as a sign to be opposed. Jesus will be opposed, he will be assigned to be opposed to the end, that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. The purpose of Jesus's divisive ministry Samian says so that the thought so that the thoughts of all men's hearts might be revealed. That's what he says in verse 35. As a result, as a result of what as a result of opposing him, the thoughts of your hearts will be revealed. Jesus is a sign this baby that Simeon is holding this one and a half month old, newborn baby is God's sign, pointing away from himself to his father who sent him pointing to the one who prepared him in the presence of all peoples. And listen, it would be and Jesus is claiming this close relationship with his Heavenly Father. Throughout his life and ministry, that men's hearts were being revealed disclosing whether they were for him or against him. This is exactly what happens in Luke chapter four. Luke begins to show you in his Gospel, the fulfillment of simians prophecy and chapter four verses 28 and 29. Listen to what Luke writes. He says, in all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage, as they heard these things. What were these things? Jesus stood up in the synagogue, he read the scroll of Isaiah, Isaiah 61, verses one through two, he put it down and he said, This reading has been fulfilled in your presence today in me. And that's what everybody else is doing. Except they didn't just laugh, they're they're laughing with derision, because their hearts were just revealed by the sign sitting in front of them. And they were filled with rage, as they heard Jesus say these things. These, what you've heard read is now fulfilled in your presence today. And they got up and drove him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill in which their city had been built in order to throw him down the cliff. But listen to verse 30. But passing through their midst, he went his way. You can't lay a hand on God, unless God lets you. And that's the glory of the gospel in John 18. A whole legion of soldiers with the high priests, right. And Judas came to arrest Jesus in the garden. It's one of my all time favorite passages in the New Testament. So this whole legion of train killers, because Rama soldiers were trained killers, believe me. They were they would make MMA fighters look like Mr. Rogers, right? They were there to kill. Jesus is praying in the garden. He stands up, he looks at them and he says, Who are you looking for? And they go, we're looking for Jesus of Nazareth. Basically, we're here to arrest him and kill him. You
know? Jesus looks at them. He says two words in the Greek echo a me
that means I am. You know where that came from? Old Testament where he told Moses, Moses, who I tell Pharaoh, you are pharaohs, the great king of the world. He's got all the power. God said, Tell him I am sent you. Jesus looks at a whole legion of soldiers, all the priests and everybody with Judas. He says two words to them. And you know what John says? They all fell down backwards and hit the ground. Two words, boom, they're on their backs. Who do you think was in charge of that moment? Right. Who do you think was in charge at this moment? They were exposed to the sign and their hearts were revealed that they hated it and what had nothing to do with it. They went in to kill him but they couldn't see just pass through their mess and went on his way because his time had not yet come. So as we reflect this morning in the song assembly, and there are some very important lessons for us to consider. Here's the first one as we finish. The song is Semyon prepares centers to die well. Semyon said he could die in peace because he saw Jesus God's salvation. No one is prepared to die until they have seen God's salvation. It is only by seeing Jesus God's salvation that you can depart like this man did in peace. Semyon song prepares us to die well and correctly. Second, the song A Semien declare salvation to the nation's. What did the Lord promise Abraham Genesis 12 verse three, all the nations will be blessed in you in quote, The Lord's promise came to fulfillment through the coming of Jesus. This is why Luke at the end of his gospel in chapter 24, verses 26 and 27 gives to His disciples the great commission that is worldwide in scope. Luke has been building his case the whole time throughout his gospel. And he he comes to the culminating part of the end of his gospel, and Jesus says to His disciples, thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and the repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations Listen, beginning from Jerusalem. But it wasn't just for Jerusalem. It was for all people. And so here's the point for us the Christian faith is not just a Semitic faith. It's not just a white, Northern European, Western American faith, it is an international faith. One author puts it like this and a world that is typically segregated by our cultural identities, by consumer preferences, and political affiliations. The song of Semyon shows us that the church is a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession. And Revelation chapter five, verse verses nine and 10. John is looking at the culmination of God's promise to Abraham. And we see the combination, the consummation of simians song that he breaks forth and at the temple. And John says this, that Jesus, that the church Jesus has purchased for God with Christ's blood persons from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, you have made them to be a kingdom, and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth. We live in a very divided society now. But when we come to church, there's a different society being created in the midst of a divided society, which is composed of every tribe, every language, every people, every tongue, nobody's more special than the other. They're all special. They're all treasured possessions of the great king. That's the song of Semyon and that's what it teaches us. The song is Semyon thirdly, makes neutrality with Jesus impossible. Semyon simians prophecy leaves every person with a vital question to answer are you for him or against him? The song has sent me and shows us the neutrality with Jesus is impossible. You can't be neutral with this baby. Luke 1123 Jesus says, Whoever is not with me is against me. And whoever does not gather with me scatters you or for him or against Him. God's salvation, Simeon says has come into this world and responding rightly TO JESUS is the issue of the song of Simeon. Respond rightly. Jesus is a sign who reveals where our hearts truly are before God. When you come to church, are you bored? Or are you excited to see Jesus? People say, Well, I go to that church, I don't really get anything out of it. You know, it's not like this is exciting churches. You better be careful because if Word and Sacrament were rightly given Jesus was there and you just said Jesus was born. Who What do you come into church to look for a concert of Jesus. He has a sign. And wherever Jesus is present, he divides the heart open perfectly to reveal what is there. Christ will either Paul says in Second Corinthians chapter two, verse 16, when he has before you and revealed to you when he is the sign, Paul says he will either be an aroma from death to death, or he will be an aroma from life to life. He can't be neutral with the sign. Semyon says to marry your son will be the fall he will be the judgment of many, or he will be the rise. You know what that word rises? It's resurrection. It's the word for resurrection. He will be the fall Mary, he will be the judgment from many or he will be the resurrection. He will be the rise from many. You can't be neutral with this child. Believe in Him, you are for him. Are you against him? You cannot be neutral. Fourth and final. This is what we began with the song assembly and shows us how Jesus was born under the law for us. We have noted that the Mosaic Covenant gave Jesus the opportunity to perform and obey for us. Luke has shown us in this passage that Jesus was born under the law. Listen, he was born under the sentence of death for you When me from the very beginning, Luke tells you that Jesus is obligating himself voluntarily through his parents, I'll be it here. This is why their piety was so important. Jesus is obligating himself to bear the loss penalties and satisfies the demands of perfect obedience he received in his flesh. The curse pictured in the covenant of Blood Oath of the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 15, and which was signified and sealed through the sacrament of circumcision in Genesis 17. He received circumcision on the eighth day. He became literally at this point, a curse for our sin. And that was culminated on the cross of Christ for Paul says in Galatians 313. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree. How do we know that that curse was what Jesus was fulfilling an Abrahamic covenant and all the way back to the garden? How do we know that was a circumcision? Because Paul says it plain as day and Colossians chapter two. And Colossians chapter two verses 11 and 12. Paul says the Christ became our bloody circumcision on the cross. On the cross, His flesh was torn, just like the flesh of every male child was torn. And his blood was shed as he suffered the judgment of God's wrath against us for our sin. This is why the Apostle Paul picks up on in Galatians, four, four through five and says, Listen, when the fullness of the time came, God the Father sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, why, so that he might redeem those who are under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
And so let us say, like Simeon Our eyes have seen your salvation. And let us rejoice like Semien that God's salvation has invaded human history, and that he has come into this world for all people to save us from sin, death and hell. And let us remember that Christ did for us that which we could never do for ourselves. He submitted under the law, and he earned righteousness both by his obedience and by His death for us. And by that has made us acceptable to God. Isn't that good news? Let's pray. Father, we thank You. We thank you for Jesus who is the Light of the world. And this season of epiphany as we reflect back, looking how you entered into simians time, of great darkness. You penetrated that darkness with a great light Jesus, and just as you did it for him, you do it for us today and I pray this morning, that you would come and penetrate every life that is here and dispel every bit of darkness from our heart and fill it with a light and hope of Jesus who was our salvation. We pray this and even the Father and the Son of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai