My heart is so tender. The tears pool in my eyes so that it’s takes many pauses to type out these words. I am arrested by this image of Simeon with the baby Jesus, painted by Rembrandt. It is rough and shadowed and beautiful, just as Luke describes:
[Mary and Joseph] brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. … And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 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. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.” – Luke 2:22b, 25-32 (NKJV)
Two things happen in this moment. The glory of God returns to the Temple (Ezekiel 10). Perhaps not in the fullest, final sense (Ezekiel 43), but it is a return nonetheless. Were this the only action of note, it would be enough. We would praise God for that.
But there is more. Preciously, intimately, wonderfully, God keeps His promise to a faithful man. It is almost as if the Lord lays a gentle hand on Simeon’s shoulder and smiles.
Jesus felt the beating of Simeon’s heart, a heart that had loved and longed for Him. He felt the touch of wrinkled, calloused hands on His newborn skin and the old man’s whiskers tickled His face. Perhaps He looked into Simeon’s eyes. Perhaps an understanding passed between them. I don’t know.
What I do know is that God never forgets.
For all entries in the Jesus: 31 Days with the Savior series, go here.