Luke 2:25-35 For one to obtain salvation he must possess supreme love for the Saviour
Luke 2:25-35 For one to obtain salvation he must possess supreme love for the Saviour
25 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 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, 28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 A Light of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— 35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Every Jewish couple was required by the Law not only to have their male child circumcised, but also to present their firstborn to God 33 days after birth. Here, the holy couple came into the temple to bring an offering for Mary’s purification after childbirth (see Leviticus 12:1-8). Simeon was brought on the scene by the Holy Spirit both to satisfy his relentless desire to see the Messiah as well as to prophesy of the Child’s ministry to the world. Simeon taught us that for one to obtain salvation he must possess supreme love and commitment for the Saviour.
And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
Simeon was described as righteous and devout, the reason why he lived in such close proximity to the Holy Spirit (and the Holy Spirit was upon him). His desire for Israel’s salvation fuelled his ministry so much so he would not rest until he saw with his eyes and touch with his hands, the consolation (paraklesis, note Jesus called the Holy Spirit the parakletos, the Helper) of Israel. And the Holy Spirit gave him assurance that he would see the Christ before his death.
For my eyes have seen Your salvation.
By divine providence, he met the holy family in the temple and took the Child into His arms. Having seen and held the Christ Child in his arms, he declared his prophetic ministry as coming to an end (Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace). Indeed, Christ is the Light that reveals the way of salvation not only to Israel, but to the world (Gentiles). And Israel has become a glorious vessel through which salvation comes to the nations (And the glory of Your people Israel.)
Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel.
Simeon turned to Mary and prophesied concerning the Child’s kingly influence (this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel) and to her sorrow (a sword will pierce even your own soul), many will oppose the Child’s rise (for a sign to be opposed). Nevertheless, the Child will be appointed by God as King who will judge the hearts of many (to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed).
For one to obtain salvation he must possess supreme love for the Saviour.
It is vain to seek salvation without desiring the Saviour and committing to a covenantal relationship with Him. Simeon sought the blessing and salvation of Israel, but he also sought to see Christ, the Saviour. To seek salvation without seeking the Saviour is likened to marrying out of convenience. Some married to get out of poverty, some to avoid loneliness and some to gain residential rights in another country. By and large these have little commitment to their spouses apart from the benefits the marriage contract may offer. And the end of which is utter failure and brokenness.
Many churchgoers became disappointed claiming that they have been sold an empty gospel. They were as poor, lonely and dejected as the days before they entered the church. The reason is because they sought blessing and salvation without loving Christ supremely and following His ways. Their vision is to acquire blessing as opposed to godliness. In so doing, they relegate God to a means of fulfilling his selfish desires (see figure below). Therefore, their blessing did not endure and they could not experience life to the full.
The bible asserts in no uncertain terms that salvation is obtained by serving and loving God supremely. That is to make a commitment to obey His commands despite temptations and challenges of life. In other words, salvation and blessing must not be the goal, for it is only a by-product of one’s pursuit of God and His truth (see figure below).
Moses spoke to his people concerning the secret to blessing and salvation,
Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 28:1-2
Jesus taught the people the secret to having their prayers answered and needs met,
Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:13-15 (NASB)
While the Jewish leaders sought salvation but did not obtain it, Simeon secured a glorious and eternal salvation because above all else, he sought to see the Saviour.
Greater glory shall come upon those who became instruments of salvation to the world.
Many may enter into paradise, but few shine like the stars of heaven. The likes of Simeon and Mary were set apart from the rest by virtue of their commitment as vessels through which salvation came into the world. Most care supremely for themselves, few would sacrifice their time, and resources for the welfare of others. However, when Christ judges the world, the secrets of our hearts will be made plain. Mary chose to be an instrument of God’s salvation by becoming the earthly mother of Jesus. In so doing, she will inevitably bear the pain of seeing her son being tortured and killed as a criminal (and a sword will pierce even your own soul). Nevertheless, that is the price for all who sought to follow Christ… but the end of which is divine honour and glory
Jesus, in response to Peter’s query, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?” … replied, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.” Matthew 19:28-30 (NASB).
Jesus’s promise of eternal glory brings just recompense to all who care not for themselves, but gave themselves selflessly to serve others while depending on God to provide.
Do not be anxious for your financial needs, your personal wellbeing or for the healing of your sicknesses, but love Christ supremely. For blessing and salvation are but by-products of your love relationship with Christ. Jesus said,
Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:31-33 (NASB)
How then should believers seek God’s kingdom and righteousness?
- By acquiring divine wisdom through the word. Make a reading plan to read the entire bible in two years.
- By putting the ministry of gospel as the priority for you and your family.
- By habitually seeking divine counsel from the Spirit when making decisions.
Dear Lord, I make a commitment to love you supremely even in the face of my daily struggles. As I persevere in your promises, you will bring me out of the woods in your perfect time. Use me as you will for your kingdom’s work. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.