I love one-hit wonders. I’ve written about them before: individuals who appear just once in the Bible, giving us just enough to be grateful for what we know, while leaving us wanting more.
One such example is Simeon. When Mary & Joseph bring Jesus to the temple to dedicate him as their firstborn son, they run into him (literally?). Luke describes Simeon as one who is waiting for the consolation — the encouragement — of Israel. Who knows how old this guy is, or how long he has been waiting, but the reader can’t help but think of a weathered old saint who has been waiting and looking for a long time.
And the time Simeon has been watching for is now. As Jesus comes into the temple, carried by his parents, Simeon sees him. He really sees who he is.
How? Because of the Spirit. In 3 straight verses, in 3 different ways, Luke makes clear that Simeon is full of the Holy Spirit. In chapter 2, verse 25, Luke says: Notice this person Simeon. The Holy Spirit is upon him. In the next verse, Luke tells us that it had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that he wouldn’t see death until he sees the Messiah. In verse 27, Simeon goes into the temple in the Spirit and takes the baby Messiah into his arms, and speaks the truth about who he is.
Three verses. Three different prepositions to describe how this one-hit wonder, Simeon, is in tune with the Spirit of God. The Spirit is upon him. The Spirit is in him. And it by this Spirit that Simeon sees Jesus in this God-drenched Temple. Surrounded by people and religious activity and “God” things, Simeon sees what no one else can — because he is full of the Holy Spirit.
Simeon shows us that when we live a Spirit-focused life, we can’t help but see Jesus. When the Spirit is active in our lives, He is leading us to Jesus and the life that follows after the Master. This is what the Spirit does. He helps us see Jesus — that this Jesus is the glory of Israel, incarnate, and will also be light to the nations. Because the Holy Spirit is upon Simeon – he sees what would have been invisible to everyone else. This Jesus will finally bring the glory to Israel they have sought for a thousand years, but that glory will be most clearly seen in the light it shines upon the Gentiles. By this Messiah, the light will shine on all people.
Some will rejoice at this. Some won’t be sure. And some will reject it – and him. But the truth is there for all to see. And Simeon shows us: eyes that look in the Spirit see Jesus for who he is — and in him, find life.