Simeon’s song

luke-2-24-26

In today’s blog entry we examine an occurrence taking place eight days after the birth of Jesus Christ, as recorded at the end of chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke. Here we find a remarkable man who comes into the Temple in Jerusalem at the same time as Mary and Joseph, who are bringing the newly born Christ-child to be circumcised, according to customs described in Luke 2:22-24 (AMP):

22 And when the time for their purification came [that is, the mother’s purification and the baby’s dedication] according to the Law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord [set apart as the Firstborn] 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy [set apart and dedicated] to the Lord)” 24 and [they came also] to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord [to be appropriate for a family of modest means], “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

The subsequent verses, which form the Verse of the Day for December 26, 2016 introduce a remarkable man of God who sees the infant and recognizes him as the Promised Messiah and makes a prophetic declaration which has been preserved in Scripture:

Luke 2:25-32 (AMP):

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout [carefully observing the divine Law], and looking for the Consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). 27 Prompted by the Spirit, he came into the temple [enclosure]; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him the custom required by the Law, 28 Simeon took Him into his arms, and blessed and praised and thanked God, and said,

29 
“Now, Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to leave [this world] in peace,
According to Your word;
30 
For my eyes have seen Your Salvation,
31 
Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 
A Light for revelation to the Gentiles [to disclose what was previously unknown],

Olshausen describes Simeon’s prophetic words as a “swan-like song, bidding an eternal farewell to this terrestrial life.” Sometimes referred to as “Nunc Dimittis,” translated from the Latin phrase meaning “you can now dismiss,” Simeon’s psalm of praise has been set to music in this composition by Michael Card: “Now that I’ve held him in my arms”:

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