Vicar Matt Doebler
Matins Devotion: January 3, 2022
Luke tells us that Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel. That’s a rather loaded phrase that Luke is using. It’s a call back to prophets such as Isaiah, who amid their predictions of Israel’s punishment for their faithlessness, also proclaimed God’s words of comfort—God’s promises that he would rescue Israel from captivity and restore their fortunes. In a nutshell, Luke wants us to understand Simeon’s waiting through gospel preaching of these Old Testament prophets. Simeon was waiting for the day that God would visit them. For the day when God would comfort his people in their sickness, clothe his people in their nakedness, and call his people back from their wandering. Though it no doubt seemed to many in Israel that these promises weren’t worth the parchment that they were written on, Simeon devoted his life to hearing them, believing them, waiting on them.
That’s what makes Simeon’s response to the Christ child so shocking, and so wonderful. Imagine waiting your whole life in expectation of a powerful savior and a mighty king and being presented instead with a tiny baby. A baby born to parents who were so poor that they could only afford to offer two little birds instead of the typical lamb. And yet, Simeon doesn’t respond with disappointment—he erupts in joy. He doesn’t mock God’s promises with skepticism—he takes the child in his arms and praises God for the fact that his eyes have at last been allowed to see what his ears have always heard and what his heart has always believed. That the consolation of Israel had arrived. That not only Israel, but that all the world would be blessed through the child he was now holding. That the song of faith that burst forth from his lips would continue to be sung by people of faith generation, after generation, after generation:
Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace
According to Thy word.
For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation,
Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people.
A light to lighten the Gentiles
And the glory of Thy people Israel.
Jesus Christ is our consolation. The light from heaven that has enlightened our hearts. The powerful savior who ransomed us with his blood. The mighty King who became poor so that we might share in the richness of his grace. Like Simeon, let us receive this proclamation with a heart of faith, and let us sing this confession with lips of praise.