Sunday, December 31, 2006

How Did Simeon Know?

"And it had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple."

I had always thought of that in a mystic sort of way, that somehow the Holy Spirit gave Simeon a "feeling" or implanted an idea in his head. But a year or so ago, I noticed something in the previous chapter. Everybody knew what had happened with Zachariah and Elizabeth. They all knew that something was up with that baby. They knew that Zachariah had seen an angel while he was ministering at evening prayer. They knew that he was mute until he prophesied at John's circumcision. The rumor mill was not silent; Mary told Luke not only about the events of John's birth, but also that it was the talk of the town, and Luke recorded it under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So I figured that Simeon knew that the Messiah was due "pretty soon."

But then Pastor pointed out that John's birth wasn't the only grist for the rumor mill. The shepherds told gobs of people what had happened when Jesus was born.

So Simeon didn't need some weird feeling from God to make him go to the temple that day. He'd heard the news. He'd heard the reports. If he himself hadn't heard the preaching of the shepherds, he heard the scuttlebutt from those who did. Baby boys were presented on the 40th day. If you wanted to see the Messiah, and you'd heard what happened with Zachariah, and then heard what happened to the shepherds, it'd sure be easy enough to count up the days on the calendar and thus know when you could find Mary and Joseph at the temple.

Simeon was not an Enthusiast!

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