Now I Can Die in Peace

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Joshua 19-21; Luke 2:25-52

Friends, I owe you an apology. I thought I had set this post to publish early this morning. Obviously, I was wrong. I only discovered this when I started to write the post for tomorrow. Not only did I not set it to post, I found out I hadn’t even finished it. Oh, well. I try.

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25 A man named Simeon was in Jerusalem. He was righteous and devout. He eagerly anticipated the restoration of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he wouldn’t die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Led by the Spirit, he went into the temple area. Meanwhile, Jesus’ parents brought the child to the temple so that they could do what was customary under the Law.28 Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said,

29 “Now, master, let your servant go in peace according to your word,
30     because my eyes have seen your salvation.
31 You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples.
32 It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles
    and a glory for your people Israel.”

 

33 His father and mother were amazed by what was said about him.34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “This boy is assigned to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that generates opposition 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your innermost being too.” (Luke 2:25=35, Common English Bible).

We have all heard it said by others. Perhaps we have said it ourselves at some point. Something happens that we dreamed of happening. Something happens we not only dreamed of, but something we never actually thought possible. “Now I can die in peace,” we have said or at least heard someone else say.

Simeon, by tradition, was a very elderly man. In fact, many believe Simeon was much older than the typical man of the era. This doesn’t necessarily mean he was an old man by our standards. First, the scripture never assigns an age to Simeon. It could have been that God made a promise to Simeon at a very young age and then fulfilled that promise in a relatively short period of time. Second, to us, if Simeon were say, for example, 60 years old at the time of the story, we wouldn’t think such an age to be old at all. But, in the New Testament era, average life expectancy was 35-40 years old. A sixty-year-old would seem pretty old to the average citizen even if we fail to see such a person as old.

God made a promise to Simeon. By the way the lesson reads, it leads us to think, Simeon was an old man who had been waiting for a long time. Now, God had finally fulfilled the promise that Simeon would see the Messiah before He died. Now, Simeon was ready to go, though there is no indication in Scripture about how much longer Simeon actually lived.

As for us, our matters of dying in peace, most of the time, seem far more trivial than what Simeon knew. Seeing the Messiah was everything. Waiting to see the Chicago Cubs win the World Series (or any other team for that matter), well not so much. Perhaps we need to rethink that whole “die in peace” thing and save it for times when it would really mean something.

Have a blessed day (what is left of it) in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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