It’s always exciting starting the New Year off with good news. Not “good news” that the leadership of South Africa are working hard to end load shedding, because that story we have heard far too often without any tangible results. Good news needs to be measured by its success! Read again what Simeon has to say as he held baby Jesus in his arms and praised God:
Lu 2:28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
This is measurable “Good News”.
1) He is speaking to God. There is no doubt as to who his God is … it is the … Sovereign Lord. We know the name LORD refers to the God of Creation and Salvation, but what does “Sovereign” mean? It refers to God’s supreme authority and absolute power over all things … in Heaven, throughout all creation, on this planet, in His Kingdom as well as within the Church. He has control over all things and uses everything that happens for His ultimate glory and for the blessing of His Eternal Kingdom. This means that even though many people feel God is distant, inactive and not concerned about the state of affairs on earth … such as all the wars, poverty, hunger, abuse, injustice, prejudice, illness, disease and suffering … on the contrary, God is very much interested, actively involved and ordering all things according to His Divine Plan! The child of God needs to keep focused on Jesus not on that which surrounds. It might be difficult as we experience hardships and as we see how so many things seem to be moving towards disaster. That is why the Word calls us to look to that which is eternal, secure and all of God:
Col 3:1 set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
As you do this you shall be in a better place to grasp and understand “sovereignty” as it is presented by God in passages like:
Eph 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will
See that … God … works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. That is Sovereignty! Simeon knew this and we will be wise to know it, believe it and appropriate it.
2) He reflects upon the promise of God. This was not just any promise that was in his thoughts … it was the Messianic Promise of Genesis chapter 3v15. As he says … as you have promised … there are two things he is saying. The first is that he acknowledges God has fulfilled the Messianic Promise and the second is that God has fulfilled a personal promise to him, that he, Simeon shall see the Messiah before he dies. As he trusted and believed God so ought we. He is always true to His Word. What He says He does! This beloved is one of the most fundamental aspects of Christianity. God is Sovereign. He will bring everything to be just as He has declared in His Word. It is true for the believer as well as the unbeliever. Take this promise:
1Jn 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
We are God’s children and when our Lord Jesus returns for the Second time and ends the world as we known it, conducting the Judgment of all souls, the saved shall be like be like Him. That is God’s Sovereign promise! Because of this we who have that hope seek to be holy as He is … He is not polluted by sin and our loving response to our salvation and the promise of being like Him (Romans 8:29) is that we will seek continual moral purity out of thanksgiving and praise.
3) He is now ready to enter eternity! He says … you now dismiss your servant in peace. This is not a request to end his life to be excused from God’s presence but to be excused from this life on earth to enter God’s presence now that he has seen Messiah. The tendency of us all seems to be that we want to remain on earth for as long as possible. Few of those who say they are ready to die are. Simeon was because of his spiritual readiness coupled to a fulfilled promise of seeing Messiah. The lesson for us today is that we need to wean ourselves off this world and its offerings to the point where heaven is so important and meaningful that we cannot wait to leave this place of sin, temptation and failure. By this I do not imply that you ought to want to leave your spouse, loved ones, career, responsibilities, contributions to the ministry of your Church and society. Not at all. What I mean is that you are spiritually ready to the point where whatever happens and however it might happen, you as a believer have no regrets about dying because your death would mean being in Jesus’ presence immediately. Simeon was able to ask God to dismiss his earthly life … in a peaceful manner … because:
Lk 2:30 For my eyes have seen your salvation.
Once a soul have been saved by grace and knows the assurance and comfort of salvation, that soul, whilst acknowledging earthly responsibilities will not fear or avoid death because that soul knows he or she shall be in a better place. I spoke to a doctor recently about someone struggling with dementia. His response was astoundingly comforting and encouraging. He said something like this … “This is the old body, a new, glorified body awaits in heaven for all God’s children.” Getting this in the soul will help us understand that being released from the flesh, be it ourselves or our loved ones, is the last hurdle before entry into the most glorious paradise anyone could imagine, wish for or desire.
O God, grant us such grace that we be like Your servant Simeon, ready to be dismissed from this earth to enter your glory. Amen.