Vol. 18, No. 12 – March 24, 2019
The Gospel of Luke
- The Identification of the Son of Man with Men, Luke 1:5-4:13.
- The Adoration of the Babe, as Jesus is presented at the Temple, vs. 21-38.
- The adoration from Simeon, vs. 25-35.
Vs. 24 (continued)
Luke 2:24, “And to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, ‘A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS’.”
The journey of Jesus’ parents to the temple in Luke 2:22-24, combines three separate ceremonies as recorded in God’s law: The purification of a woman forty days after the birth of a child, Lev 12:2-4, 6, the presentation of the firstborn to God, Ex 13:2, 12, 16; 34:19; Num 18:15-16, and the dedication of the firstborn into the Lord’s service, 1 Sam 1-2. Though this dedication to service is like many others that took place in Israel for centuries, this one is unique because of the call of this child as now indicated by two proclamations one by Simeon and the other by Anna. Once again Luke uses two witnesses as he does throughout his gospel, recognizing the principle of evidence given by God in Deut 17:6; 19:15; Mat 18:16.
Luke 2:25, “And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.”
“And there was a man in Jerusalem,” Luke begins once again with a deliberate historical statement, reflecting his methodology of his writing.
The name “Simeon” in the Greek is SUMEON, Συμεών and means, “hearing, that hears or obeys, or that is heard.” Simeon was a devout Jew who lived in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus’ birth. He was seeking the fulfillment of messianic prophecy when Israel would be restored. Luke neither associates Simeon with a leading sect or party nor calls him a priest. As such, we are not told Simeon’s vocation, but sometime previously in his life, God promised him that he would not die before seeing the Christ. When Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the Temple for the purification rites, Simeon announced to them God’s plan for the boy, vs. 34, as he provided further Divine confirmation to Jesus’ messiahship. He is said, in our verse, to be a “righteous/just and devout” man.
There was a Simeon who succeeded his father Hillel as president of the Sanhedrin about A.D. 13, and whose son Gamaliel was the Pharisee who Paul was educated under, Acts 22:3. It has been conjectured that he may be that Simeon here, but we do not know for sure. In addition, tradition says that he was a very old man, maybe even 113 years old, but nothing in Scripture supports this and it is only tradition.
“Righteous/Just,” is the Adjective DIKAIOS widely used in the NT, and is linked to the fulfillment of religious obligations. It indicates one who is ethical. It can be translated as, “just, righteous, right, upright, impartial, lawful, or virtuous.” It is first and foremost a relational term, specifically describing man’s relationship to God. Cf. Luke 1:6, (Zachariah and Elizabeth); Acts 10:22, (the Centurion Cornelius). Therefore, we see Simeon as a very faithful individual who was walking with and waiting on the Lord.
Simeon is also said to be “devout,” the Adjective EULABES, εὐλαβής that means, “devout, pious, or reverent.” It was used in Greek culture of statesmen. Philo used this word to describe Abraham. As the shepherds symbolized the average person on the street, Simeon represents the testimony of a wise elder who has walked with God.
EULABES is only used here and in Acts 2:5; 8:2; 22:12. In other words, only Luke uses this word in the NT. It describes “religious reverence, godliness, or piety” e.g., Simeon; Jews attending the Feast of Pentecost, Acts 2:5; those who buried Stephen, Acts 8:2; and Ananias, Acts 22:12. Luke used it in an extremely positive sense. Devout Jews were those who responded to the gospel and became believers. Luke did not denigrate Jewish piety, i.e., keeping the Law, because those who truly kept the Law and its spirit responded to the message that Jesus is Messiah, as noted in the next phrase, “looking for the consolation of Israel.” Therefore, we see that Simeon was “right” in his outward life and “devout” in his inward life.
“Looking for” is the Verb, PROSDECHOMAI προσδέχομαι in the Present, Middle, Participle that means, “receive, admit, welcome, accept, await, expect, or hold.” It is from PROS, “face to face” and DECHOMAI, “take, receive, accept, or approve.” In the NT, it predominately means “to wait,” or “await” for something. It is also used with the next character in this narrative, Anna, vs. 38, and Joseph of Arimathea, Mark 15:43; Luke 23:51, who all were waiting for the coming of the kingdom of God.
Principle of Faith: Like Zachariah and Mary, Simeon is expectant that God will deliver Israel. He has not given up believing that God will complete His promise, and living in light of that hope brings perspective to his present situation, just as we are to live in the hope of God’s glory each and every day. This corresponds to the promises we are to expectantly waith for in faith found in 1 Cor 15:51 and 1 Thes 4:17.
1 Cor 15:51, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.”
1 Thes 4:17, “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”
Simeon indicates this waiting for the Kingdom of God in the phrase, “for the consolation of Israel,” a beautiful title of the coming Messiah. “Consolation,” is the Noun PARAKLĒSIS παράκλησις that means, “exhortation, encouragement, comfort.” The Holy Spirit is sometimes called the PARAKLETOS. Here, Simeon was looking for the “comfort” of Israel meaning that God would provide a redeemer who would give them rest. This is a semitechnical use of this word that refers to the Messiah as the PARAKELSIS. The term “‘consolation’ was a standard rabbinical term used by the Jews for the messianic age, cf. Isa 40:1; 61:2. Bauer notes that at a later date the Jews referred to the Messiah as MᵉNACHES̱, the “comforter,” cf. Isa 40:1; 51:12; 57:18; 61:2; 66:13. Therefore, the title of Messiah as, “the consolation of Israel,” is eschatological pointing to Him as the One who brings the predicted and long-awaited comfort to Israel, i.e. Messianic salvation.
Isa 40:1, “‘Comfort, O comfort My people,’ says your God.”
Isa 61:2, “To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn.”
Isa 66:13, “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem.”
Principle: Saints in touch with God’s heart often await expectantly the completion of God’s promises.
Finally, we see that Simeon was empowered by the Holy Spirit at this time, to proclaim the upcoming message, as “the Holy Spirit was upon him.” Simeon is associated with the Holy Spirit three times, vs. 25, 26, 27. Here was a man endued with the Holy Spirit, vs. 25, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, vs. 26, and led by the Spirit, vs. 27.
This is the enduement of the Holy Spirit that uniquely came upon some OT saints, but not all, and is unlike the NT indwelling of the Holy Spirit that all believers receive and is permanent throughout the rest of the believer’s life.
Luke 2:26, “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.”
This is the second Spirit led application. Apparently, sometime prior in Simeon’s life, God the Holy Spirit told him he would not die before the coming of the Messiah. The Holy Spirit is the source of all revelation and testimony.
The emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit continues in Simeon’s witness to Jesus. He is the fourth Spirit-inspired witness to Jesus that appears in the infancy narratives, the others appearing in Chapter 1, John, vs. 15, 41; Elizabeth, vs. 41; and Zachariah, vs. 67.
“Revealed,” is the Extensive Perfect, Middle, Participle of the Verb CHREMATIZŌ, χρηματίζω that means, “be given a revelation, receive a warning, or be named.” It is used here for a Divine “revelation,” a word from God that he had previously received. It is also used in Mat 2:12, 22, to designate a Divine communication.
The specific mode of this revelation is not known. Was it a vision, dream, voice, insight, etc.? Nevertheless, it was the Holy Spirit, HAGIOS PNEUMA who told him, “he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ (KURIOS CHRISTOS).”
“Would not see death (THANATOS),” is an OT expression for dying, cf. Psa 89:48; John 8:51; Heb 11:5. How important it is for people to see God’s salvation, Jesus Christ, before they see death.
“The Lord’s Christ,” is also an OT expression, 1 Sam 24:6, 10; 26:9, 11, 16, 23; Psa 2:2. Literally it is “the Anointed One of the Lord / God.” The title “Lord” has probably been substituted for YHWH as was customary out of reverence for the sacred name of God. The CHRISTOS or Messiah was anointed, i.e., specially empowered to fulfill the promise God had given to Israel through David who, like Jesus, was anointed to rule Israel.
Luke 2:27, “And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law.”
This is the third Spirit led application. “And he came in the Spirit,” probably does double duty here to indicate he was endued with the Holy Spirit at this time, and motivated by the Spirit to give this message. Therefore, he is led by God the Holy Spirit to offer a note of praise known as the Nunc Dimittis, a name that comes from the Latin beginning to the hymn.
“Into the temple,” the temple, HIERON, ἱερόν, in Jerusalem where Joseph and Mary brought Jesus for the dedication according to the Law of the Lord, as noted above. Luke apparently means the temple precinct in general. Since the inner parts of the temple were forbidden to women and since the inner sanctuary was restricted to priestly activity only, Simeon probably met the holy family in the Court of the Women or the Court of the Gentiles. See chart of Herod’s Temple.
We see that in the same way, Simeon knew he would see the Christ before his death, he also knew to come to the temple on this particular day, and which couple carried the Christ child. Therefore, we can assuredly assume that it was the leading ministry of the Holy Spirit that brought him and gave him the insight to recognize the Christ child.
Here the word PAIDION is used for Jesus, (IESOUS), as a “little child,” as we noted the changeover from BREPHOS, (baby), to PAIDION back in vs. 17, to correlate with the circumcision and presentation language used in the OT.
“When the parents brought in … to carry out for Him,” means, as we also noted above, Jesus in His infant humanity, could not by Himself fulfill the Law, so his human parents as custodians, did it for Him, so that He would keep every letter of the Law in fulfillment of it.
Luke 2:28, “Then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said.”
“Took Him into his arms,” is DECHOMAI AUTOS EIS HO ANKALE. ANKALE, ἀγκάλη means, “the curve of the arm or bent arm.” It is only used here in the NT.
Interestingly, our Lord used a cognate Verb in Mark 9:36; 10:16, ENANKALIZOMAI, “take in one’s arms, embrace.”
Mark 9:36-37, “Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, 37’Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me’.”
In rebuke of the disciples in Mark 10:13-16, “But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15’Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.’ 16And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.”
Simeon taking Jesus into his arms and recognizing the child with unhesitating certainty and without needing Mary to inform him of what had occurred in her life, portrayed his faith beautifully. “The remarkable act of taking the baby into his arms must not be overlooked. It was as if he had said, “This is all my salvation and my heart’s desire”.” (New Commentary on the Whole Bible – Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown).
“Blessed” is the Verb EULOGEO once again, cf. Luke 1:28, 42, 64, we will see it again in vs. 34. As noted above, this blessing is called the Nunc Dimittis. Therefore, when he took the baby in his arms, he offered to the Lord a hymn of praise. The lines of his blessing bear the telltale rhythm and meter of a song, just like the praise songs of Mary, Luke 1:46-55, and Zachariah, Luke 1:68-79.
So, this is the fifth and last of the “Christmas songs” in Luke, Elizabeth, Luke 1:42-45; Mary, Luke 1:46-56; Zachariah, Luke 1:67-79; the angels, Luke 2:13-14.
In Luke 2:29-35, we have Simeon’s blessing called The Nunc Dimittis. It has two parts: 1) Regarding God’s fulfillment of the promises He made to Simeon, both directly and through OT Scriptures, vs. 29-32, 2) Regarding His blessing to Joseph and Mary, especially Mary, of the consequences of what Jesus’ life would bring, vs. 33-35.
Part One: God’s fulfillment of the promises He made to Simeon, both directly and through OT Scriptures, vs. 29-32.
Luke 2:29, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word.”
This is Simeon’s praise of God fulfilling His promise to Simeon that was noted in vs. 26. In that promise, Simeon was told he “would not see death,” i.e., die, before seeing the Messiah. Now that he has witnessed the Messiah, God will let him die at some future time, i.e., “releasing,” him. “Releasing” is the Present, Active, Indicative of the Verb APOLUŌ ἀπολύω that means, “release, let go, send away, dismiss, let die, divorce, or to depart.” It comes from the Prepostion APO, “from,” and the Verb LUO, “loose, untie, set free, etc.”
It seems that Simeon was bound to life on earth in the flesh, until he had seen the Messiah. Now that he had, God would free him of his flesh to depart from God’s service on earth as His “bond servant,” DOULOS.
“Lord” is not the typical KURIOS, but DESPOTES, δεσπότης that also means, “Lord, master, owner, ruler, lord of the house, etc.” It was used in the Greek language to differentiate between a master and a slave, a ruler and subject, or between a god and a man. The emphasis is upon the authority invested in the DESPOTES by virtue of his position and his absolute authority; thus the term is not relational, but positional.
It is used in the NT 10 times, (the number of perfect government). About half are in relation to human masters and servants, cf. 1 Tim 6:1-2; Titus 2:9, and the others relating to God’s authority over man, especially His servants, “believers,” cf. 2 Tim 2:21; 2 Peter 2:1; Jude 4. The way it appears in the NT, it provides the differentiation for earthly masters and their servants and when used of God, it has the connotation of the servant’s affairs here on earth in relation to their Master the Lord God. So, it carries an earthly tone of servanthood, as Simeon is noting here, regarding His Master. As such, the context tells us that God is sovereign over our life and death. Simeon is recognizing God’s authority to take him from earth. Therefore, the righteous and devout Simeon is ready to die according to the word of his DESPOTES.
“In peace,” is EIRENE. In addition to its normal meaning, it also has the idea of everything has been done that was necessary or being fulfilled. It also gives us the sense of the difference between being a servant in the flesh here on earth, where sin reigns, and our heavenly abode that will be one of indescribable and unimaginable peace. Therefore, Simeon can die in peace knowing that God’s will and plan has been fulfilled in him.
“According to your word,” uses RHEMA, “a thing spoken, a word, a message, etc.” Here, it refers to God’s direct promise to Him from vs. 26. Once again, we do not see an intermediary like the angel Gabriel, as was with Zachariah and Mary. It appears Simeon had a direct revelation from God the Holy Spirit as noted in vs. 26.
Luke 2:30, “For my eyes have seen Your salvation.”
This is similar to Isa 40:5; 52:10, that the whole world will “see salvation,” and what is stated about John the Baptist’s ministry in Luke 3:6.
Isa 40:5, “Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
Isa 52:10, “The LORD has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God.”
Here, Simeon is the one who has seen God’s salvation, and assigns this title, “Salvation,” SOTERIOS, to the baby Jesus through the inspiration of the God the Holy Spirit. SOTERIOS σωτήριος is an Adjective that means, “delivering, saving, or salvation.” Here it is used pronominally, as a noun, for “Salvation,” thereby being a title given to Jesus. This is the first time it is used in the NT, which means its connotation carries to all the other uses of this word in the NT. It is used in Luke 3:6; Acts 28:28; Eph 6:17; Titus 2:11. As such, in each of its uses, we could substitute “salvation” for “Jesus,” with the understanding of what He brought or accomplished for all of mankind.
Acts 28:28, “Therefore, let it be known to you that this salvation (Jesus) of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”
Eph 6:17, “And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION (Jesus), and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation (Jesus) to all men.”
SOTERIOS is also used in the LXX in Psa 50:23, “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.”
Interestingly, in the Greek language, this word could also refer to a thank-offering for salvation as noted in Psa 50:23 above, or a physician’s fee. Again, we see our Great Physician, Jesus Christ, who we are to thank for bringing salvation into the world.
Luke 2:31, “Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples.”
This salvation, i.e., Jesus, God has “prepared,” (the Aorist, Active, Indicative, Verb HETOIMAZO, ἑτοιμάζω that means, “Put or keep in readiness, make ready or prepare,”), “in the presence of all peoples,” KATA PROSOPON, (cf. “before,” Luke 1:76), PAS HO LAOS.
From eternity past, God the Father has had and prepared a plan for the salvation of the world. From eternity past, God the Father has prepared God the Son for this mission to bring salvation to the world. From eternity past, Jesus Christ has prepared and been prepared to come into the world to bring salvation to all peoples of the world. From eternity past, God the Holy Spirit has been prepared to sustain the person of Jesus Christ to fulfill the Father’s plan of salvation for all peoples of the world.
Luke uses “in the presence of all peoples,” in such a way that at the Advent of Jesus Christ, the world now sees God’s great plan of salvation in the flesh.
Luke 2:32, “A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
Simeon notes that this salvation is for both Gentiles and Jews. “A light of revelation,” PHOS EIS APOKALUPSIS, ἀποκάλυψις, meaning, “revelation, reveal, disclosure, or manifestation.” It too is used for the first time in the NT. It is from APO, “from” and KALUPO, “to cover or hide.” So, it means the opposite of covering or hiding and means, “to unveil, disclose, or reveal.” It is one of the most prominent words in the NT for conveying the Biblical concept of Divine revelation. It denotes God’s tangible self-revelation to men. Whereas in the past, under the old covenant, God spoke in various ways and on different occasions through the prophets, in these final days He has revealed Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ, especially to the Gentiles, Heb 1:1; cf. John 1:1f.; Eph 1:9-11.
Heb 1:1, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways.”
John 1:1-5, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
“Gentiles,” is the noun ETHNOS that can mean, “nation, people, heathen, pagans, or Gentiles.” Here it is used for everyone that is not of the people or bloodline of Israel. Simeon first notes the Gentile peoples, where Jesus would be a great light unto them, as He is “the light of the world,” 2 Cor 4:4; John 8:12; 9:5; 11:9.
2 Cor 4:4, “In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
John 8:12, “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life’.”
John 9:5, “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”
Jesus is the revealed light of God’s plan of salvation to the Gentile peoples who did not have the promises given to them.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#19-028 & 19-029 & 19-030
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!