The coming of the savior was not something shrouded in mystery, it was prepared in history before the eyes of all people.
This is the seventeenth post in the series The Musical That Changed The World.
As this elderly servant of God, Simeon, holds the baby Jesus in his hands, he makes a remarkable statement. Now that he has seen this child he is ready to die in peace. This is not a sentimental statement. He’s only just met this child and his parents.
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,…”
Luke 2:29-31 ESV
He identifies this baby as the salvation of the Lord. Remember, God promised Simeon that he would see this salvation before he died, and now is the moment of his seeing.
All four of the nativity songs have identified Mary’s child as the salvation of God, sent by his mercy, not in response to our merit. This is so significant a purpose of this child that this man Simeon’s life hinges on seeing the advent of this salvific promise in flesh and blood.
This Salvation is No Mystery
Then he makes this odd statement about this salvation being “prepared in the presence of all peoples.” What does that mean? I think if we were to write a blessing for Simeon to recite at this time I don’t think this statement would cross anyones mind, unless we had a firm grasp of the Old Testament sweep. We might understand the statement but I doubt we would esteem it over other things we would choose to say.
Simeon is simply saying that this act of God in bringing salvation wasn’t hidden from mankind. It didn’t just happen out of the blue. God has been very open with the preparation of this savior child throughout history.
How did he do that? For thousands of years God has been promising, prophecying and foreshadowing this child and his work through his prophets and through the agency of Israel, but not limited to the nation. Salvation is the universal offer of God to all mankind, and it has been prepared in the presence of everyone without discrimination. This is one reason John can say, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…” (John 3:16.)
This is worthy of our consideration and rejoicing. God is the of both Jews and Gentiles of all ages of history. It’s a remarkable truth that should remain on the forefront of our Christmas celebrations.
Read the previous post The Heavens Rejoice.
See the index of the series The Musical That Changed The World