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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. Luke 2:25

So many times in the Bible we read of people who come on stage for one short scene and then are gone. Simeon was one of those people. Historians and theologians have speculated about who he might have been, the son of Hillel, a great teacher in Jerusalem, a member of the Sanhedrin, etc. But we really don’t know who he was and it’s probably not important we know. If it was, God would have revealed that to us.

Simeon reminds us that God works through the common people; through those who have just a few lines in the drama of life. We look for the big parts. We all want to be stars, but reality is, God’s best work is done through the ‘also ran’s’. It’s not the size of the part we play that is important, but our actions when we are on stage that count.

Just like us, Simeon lived in a very dark time in the life of the nation Israel. They lived under the control of a godless government. They were being taxed without hope of relief. Those that were paying attention saw the signs of something on the horizon, something good, the consolation of Israel.

Most of us don’t have any idea what it’s like to live as captives in your own land, but the Jews did. They sought freedom. They sought comfort. Those who were aware of the downward spiral of their society eagerly waited for the Messiah to relieve their pain.

When Mary and Joseph arrived at the temple with their new baby he was immediately recognized by Simeon. Simeon praised God for the arrival of the infant. His life was complete. He’d checked off the final item on his list. He could die in peace now because the Messiah had come.

What allowed Simeon to recognize the Messiah is available to each of us. First of all, he was continually watching the signs in anticipation of Messiah. It’s so easy for us to be distracted by world events and miss the main event. There wasn’t a day that didn’t go by that Simeon didn’t look for Jesus.

Secondly, Simeon didn’t allow himself to be affected by the godless society in which he lived. He focused on his relationship with God, not on the religious and political issues of the day. His lifestyle allowed him to live with integrity. He was esteemed my men and pleased God.

Lastly, Simeon lived in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit of the Living God. During his time on earth, the Holy Spirit came upon people for a time and would leave. Today we have the privilege of having the very Spirit of the living God indwell us from the moment we accept Christ. His Spirit gives us power to live in integrity, comfort in the midst of pain, and the ability to see Jesus when he comes to us.

As followers of Jesus Christ, our responsibility isn’t to be thrown about by every doctrine, every fear, every prognostication of ‘world experts.’ Ours is to wait, watch and worship.

PRAYER: Father God, empower me with your Spirit to walk as Simeon did. Give me patience to wait for your coming, wisdom to discern the signs and a passionate worship of Jesus. Amen.

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December 2012
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