Perhaps he was known by most as “that crazy old geezer.” But he was not crazy; he was eccentric – dialed in to a different station. Luke says “The Holy Spirit was upon him.” Wow… Think of the turmoil in Israel during that time, as everyone had to register in his family home town. Roman soldiers were stomping around, belligerently exercising their positions of privilege and power. It was not a time to be expecting anything hopeful. Most people were focused on simply getting through the day without running afoul of the guys with the whips and crosses.
But not this guy.
“It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” (Luke 2:26)
Knowing that the Messiah was about to show up, he spent his final days hanging out up at the temple. Watching. Waiting. And, somehow (Holy Spirit again, no doubt), when Mary and Joseph brought their 8 day old Son to be consecrated, the “crazy old geezer” knew Who it was. How many people were thronging through the temple that day? How many babies were being carried through that massive courtyard? What can you see of a baby who is wrapped up in “swaddling clothes?” But Simeon was watching, waiting and he knew Who the baby was.
“Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”” (Luke 2:28-32)
Again, Wow! Imagine what was going on in Joseph and Mary’s hearts at that moment. How amazed and exhilarated… But Simeon was dialed in to a different station and he was not done. After praising God for this Good News, he chilled their bones with this:
“Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”” (Luke 2:34-35)
I wonder who it was Mary told about this astonishing and yet horrifying encounter. I can’t imagine how she felt that day. Or, how she felt, calling those words to mind when they had been violently fulfilled.