Today, in our penultimate post in our ‘Light in the Darkness’ series, Joe shows us how the events of Christmas night in Bethlehem were the start of the fulfilment of promises and prophecies which were global in scope.
The Light to the Gentiles
(Luke 2:21-38) Joe Williams
Waiting for Hope
Imagine a whole life of waiting. A life given to waiting. A life lived based on a promise.
Simeon had been promised in the Spirit that he would ‘not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ’ (v26)’. He would see the king that God would send to restore Israel. The king Israel had been waiting centuries for. Centuries of darkness, centuries of only partial restoration from the exile, centuries without having heard from God. Could now really be the moment that God’s light was going to break through? Simeon invested his life in that hope.
Upon seeing the baby Jesus in the Temple Simeon knew immediately that this was the moment he had been waiting for and that God’s call upon his life was complete: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace, according to your word’ (v29). Simeon was satisfied that his life-purpose to ‘see your salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all people’ (v30-31) had now been fulfilled.
Light for the Gentiles
Even more remarkable than his patient waiting for the revelation he had been promised is what he says next: Jesus was to be ‘a light for revelation to the Gentiles’ (v32). The very first description Simeon utters about the promised king that Israel had been waiting so long for is that he will be a light to the rest of the world! This was not what the leaders or people of Israel were expecting from their long-anticipated king.
Yet from His very birth Jesus was exploding the light of God’s revelation beyond just the nation of Israel to shine on all peoples. A dark and fallen world was being flooded with light, and Simeon was given the place of honour as the first witness to this new hope. A high calling indeed – and worth a life of waiting!
The Power of Promise
It feels that there is a lot of waiting in this season – waiting until we have a breakthrough in stopping Coronavirus; waiting for God to show us what He is doing in this time; waiting until we can worship together again. In such a season it is easy to become frustrated, disengaged and cynical. So we must look at what Simeon shows us here, namely that the secret of good waiting is to live in the power of God’s promises in order to avoid losing heart. His promises will sustain us through this time, and His light will break through.
We and the whole world now live in the benefit of what Simeon was waiting for – the hopeful light of Jesus shining into each and every circumstance. Alleluia!
What promises are you living in the power of at the moment?
What things do you need to bring to God for the hopeful light of Jesus to shine on?
What does ‘waiting well’ look like when life can seem ‘on hold’?
Song: Yes and Amen
XplosionTV Bitesize: a video for children and the young at heart
A craft activity is available for the whole blog series. Please download the star instructions