Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” – Luke 2:25-32 (NRSV)
The above passage is known as the “nunc dimittis“- meaning,”now You dismiss Your servant,” and it is also known as the Song of Simeon. In some traditions it is used as a prayer for the ending of the day, or for the ending of a worship service.
There is nothing more joyful than experiencing answered prayer and the fulfillment of much-longed for dreams. It is hard to imagine Simeon’s delight as he held the infant Jesus and realized: This child is the promised Messiah.
What an incredible blessing God granted Simeon in that moment, that he would come face to face with his Savior, and that he could die in peace.
We are still waiting in our “not yet” world. Waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promises to us. Some of us are holding on to a breakthrough in a hard situation. Some of us are walking through the stages of physical, emotional or spiritual healing. Some of us are weighed down in depression and grief and just can’t see the way out of the dark.
We may not be blessed in the same way Simeon was, that we may see the face of Jesus before we die (although that is not impossible!) but we can trust God that His word is true.
One of the most encouraging words to the weary, to those who most need to experience the presence and healing touch of God is:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:3-4 (NRSV)
God Himself is with us. And in this “not yet” world, we can know in Christ that death and mourning and crying and pain are not the end.