Shortly after Jesus’ birth, when his parents took him to the temple to be consecrated, an old man, Simeon, who spoke remarkable things about Jesus, attesting to his divinity and prophesying what was to come, met them. Simeon’s feat was in recognizing that among all the babies in that temple that day, this was no ordinary baby. How was he able to do it? Why did his single utterance find its way in to the Bible pages, despite that fact that he had lived an apparently ordinary life till that time? Simeon’s description by Luke sheds some light.

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, —- (Luke 2).

Simon’s identity was characterized as righteous and devout. This was a man whose passion was God. Consequently he had a sincere piety that spurred him to do the right things in his day-to-day life. We live in a world with a current cultural bias that mocks any devoutness. Religiosity as a fashionable ornament is in vogue, but devoutness goes far beyond namesake religiosity. It becomes a foundation on which men and women in the mold of Simeon fashion their lives. Every day presents itself with opportunities to either practice or reject justice, love, respect and integrity. Those who do comply prove their devoutness and increase in righteousness.

He was waiting for God’s promise to be fulfilled. That is what hope is- waiting with not only eager expectation, but also certainty for the fulfillment of what God had promised. Hope is necessary for man because we are timeless creatures trapped in a time-limited habitat. If there is nothing to await, we are indeed miserable creatures and the longing for eternity that characterizes a man’s heart remains unfulfilled. Man has to choose what to hope for- either the fickle promised by the gods of this world or the certain promised by the God of this world and beyond. Those who opt for the latter find their hope fulfilled and the vacuum in their hearts filled.

Simeon was sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Having led a life of obedience to God, he was able to discern the specifics revealed by the Spirit of God. He then found it appropriate to move in response to the promptings of the Spirit, going into the temple when Jesus was brought in. It is lifetime of general obedience to God that sets the stage for special revelation and significant works for God- works that are so special they are immortalized forever as in the case of Simeon’s prophetic words about the baby Jesus.

It was no ordinary man that recognized the no ordinary baby!

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