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Luke 2:27–32

“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, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel” (vv. 29–32).

After the ministry of the prophet Malachi in the mid-fifth century BC, the Jews entered a period of waiting for the Holy Spirit to speak again, for there were no prophets for hundreds of years. In keeping with Joel 2:28–32, the faithful in Israel longed for the day of the Lord in which God would pour out His Spirit, defeat their enemies, and bring full and final salvation. This would occur in conjunction with the coming of the Messiah, and one of the ways that the people would know that the Messiah had arrived would be renewed activity on the part of the Spirit. Luke, in particular, focuses on the work of the Holy Spirit as integral to the coming of the Savior. We have already seen that the Spirit was at work in the conception of Jesus in the womb of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:35). Moreover, just before the coming of Jesus, the Holy Spirit began speaking to His people again, revealing to select figures that they would see the Christ in their lifetimes.

One of these figures was an elderly man named Simeon, who was “waiting for the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25–26). His hope for the “consolation of Israel” reveals that he well understood the prophets, especially Isaiah, who frequently speaks of the coming of the Messiah as the coming of God’s comfort and consolation (e.g., Isa. 40:1; 61:1–2). Simeon understood that the Christ—the Anointed One—would bring with Him the comfort and consolation of restored peace with God and the forgiveness of sins, and the Lord in His grace told Simeon that he would see the Messiah personally. So when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple as an infant to fulfill the requirements of the law (see Ex. 13:1–2; Lev. 12:1–8; Num. 18:1–16), the Holy Spirit told Simeon to go there as well (Luke 2:27–28).

When Simeon saw the baby Jesus, he burst into a song of praise and prophecy commonly called the Nunc Dimittis (vv. 29–32). The focus of this song is the universal mission of the Messiah. Yes, Jesus comes from the nation of Israel, and as He makes clear during His earthly ministry, the first people to whom He gives the gospel are the children of Israel (see Matt. 15:24). But His work was never going to be limited to the Jews. God promised to bless the whole world—Jews and gentiles included—through the seed of Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3), and this blessing comes in and through Jesus. In fact, Jesus is not only the path to salvation, but He is salvation itself (Luke 2:30). He is the only source and goal of redemption for humanity.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

Christ Jesus is the Redeemer for all people, not only for one tribe or nation. All peoples are to be told about Jesus, for His saving work encompasses men and women of every ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and culture. The good news of Jesus is not something we are to share only with people who are like us but with everyone.

for further study
  • Isaiah 66:18–21
  • Micah 4:1–5
  • Matthew 12:15–21
  • Romans 15:8–13
the bible in a year
  • Exodus 7–10
  • Matthew 18:1–20

Mary and Joseph Keep the Law

Revealing the Hearts of Many

Keep Reading Peace

From the January 2023 Issue
Jan 2023 Issue