Simeon's Bucket List
Lu 2:25 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.
 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 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,
 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
 29 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word;
 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
 31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
 32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel."

The Nunc Dimittis from the first words of the Latin translation, meaning “now lettest thou depart” frequently sung after communion in the Lutheran Liturgy. Perhaps you remember it from your early church years.

It reminds me of a bumper sticker I use to have on my car that read, “Salvation: Don't leave earth without it!”

The power and beauty of these words are absolutely captivating, and it's no wonder because they are the song of the Holy Spirit who was just spilling out of this man Simeon when he saw Jesus face to face!.  No wonder Luke introduces this section with the word, “Behold!”

V25 - He wants us to stop here and pay special attention to this incident. He wants us to drink in this whole scene. Not only will we get a feel for the Holy Spirit's moving in our own hearts, but we will receive that blessed assurance that the Gospel is for all mankind, Jew and Gentile alike.

Most of the time, when we think of Simeon, we get this picture of an old man, but that's not necessarily true! All we are told is that he was just and devout…..and waiting.

What does it mean to “be just” and “devout?” To be just means that Simeon would be able to stand before God in judgement and pass the test. In other words, he had the saving faith. Of Abraham. “He believed God in all things, he believed in a coming Messiah with all his heart,  and God accounted it to him as righteousness.

To be “devout” would be more of an external thing. His life had the marks of outward adherence to God's Word. He had his faith and train of works in proper order, he had an alive faith, not like the one spoken of by James, “Faith without works is dead.”

And while he being occupied with being just and devout, he also was waiting. Waiting for the Consolation of Israel. Consolation, Capital C. The Consolation of Israel is none other than the Messiah.

And the Spirit, (The Holy Spirit) was upon Simeon. What does that mean? For lack of a better word picture, it means that the Holy Spirit was hovering over him, ready to influence Him in any way that God directed. Just as the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters at the beginning of Creation ready to influence Creation as God directed.

V26 - At some point earlier in time, this same Holy Spirit had influenced Simeon to convince Him that he would not taste of death until he had personally seen the Messiah.

V27- And so this same Holy Spirit now influenced Simeon to go to the Temple at this very moment and “wait” for the arrival of the Messiah.

 Time out! - What would you think of someone who would say something like, “The Holy Spirit has revealed to me that I will not die before Jesus comes again,” and then the person would go to a certain place to await His arrival?

I would be very skeptical. Simply because God's Word says that only the Father knows the hour of His return. My skepticism would be based on the Word of God.  And that's very important to remember in our own dealings with the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes I fear we have too many “Simeons in the church today who claim to be hearing from the Spirit of God, but are rather hearing a different spirit disguised as the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit no longer hovers over us, He is in us! We are His temple and He still reveals to us, and he still influences us to take action as He did with Simeon, but we must always place that revelation and action alongside the guidelines of God's unchangeable Word.

On Christmas Eve, I was channel hopping and I came across Gene Robinson the Episcopal Bishop and avowed homosexual giving a message. I was appalled as he used  the Holy Spirit as his guiding light in the justification of the sin of homosexuality.

His logic should be a real wake up call to Bible believing Christians everywhere. He said the church had the issue of slavery wrong and the Holy Spirit helped us to get it right. (A clever argument, but is it accurate? It was the church led by Spirit filled men like Wilberforce that turned the tide against slavery!

Then he said, the church had the issue of female pastors wrong, and the Holy Spirit helped us to get it right. Then he said for years the church had held that divorce and remarriage was adultery, and even though these very words against divorce and remarriage were spoken by Jesus, the Holy Spirit has led us into a place of more light in this matter. And he concluded the Holy Spirit is slowly leading us into more light in the area of the acceptance of homosexuality.

But is it the Holy Spirit leading the change or is it the devil disguised as an angel of light? My Bible says: Mal 3:6 "For I am the LORD, I do not change;  And if I believe in the Trinity then I have to believe that the Holy Spirit doesn't change either.

Be careful of any revelation or promptings that come outside the bounds of Scripture!

Back to the text:

V27- And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law,

They had come up to Jerusalem on the 40th day after the birth of Jesus for the purpose of going through the prescribed purification rites for Mary and while they were there, they also took care of another obligation of the law, namely the presentation of the child to the Lord.

Every first born son had to be presented to the Lord as belonging to Him in a special sense, namely to be a priest, but since those duties were taken care of by the Levites, every other first born son was redeemed or bought back from the Lord for the price of 5 shekels.

The purpose of this buying back of the first-born was a memorial of the sparing of the first born sons during the first Passover.

Once Jesus served His purpose here on earth it would never again be necessary to present our children to the Lord in such a fashion because all believers are now priests.

Re 1:6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

V28 - Again by supernatural revelation, Simeon knew who the Messiah was.  Mary and Joseph were obviously similarly moved as they just hand the Child over to Simeon. And Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph? No! We are told that his words were a blessing to God! (Makes me wonder why we don't use them more often in our worship.)  These words, spoken from the heart are a blessing to God!

Just listen to these words, they sum up the climax of his life!

 29 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word;
 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
 31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
 32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel."

There is a movie, soon to be released starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. It's called the Bucket List. It's the story of two terminally ill men who make a list of all the things they want to do before they kick the bucket.

Well, what we have here in Luke is Simeon's Bucket List. It was a short list and one that we would do well to adopt. It's not that he was going to go home and lay down and die. It's that he has experienced the ultimate in life…. He held his salvation and the salvation of the world in his arms. The promise of salvation that had been in his heart was now a reality held in his arms! He beheld the Savior of the world in person.

There is no greater thing, and you begin to see the wisdom of the church fathers as the nunc Dimittis was used every Sunday after communion.

Lord I have personally received Your body and blood for the forgiveness of my sins. I have beheld in my bosom my salvation and the salvation of the world! Therefore I will depart in peace, knowing that I have experienced the ultimate highlight of my life.

What a way to walk out the door of a Sunday worship service. Knowing that you have been made just in God's sight and empowered to live a devout life in the week ahead. Knowing that when you return to church next week, you can once again experience the number one item on your bucket list. The assurance of the salvation of your soul!