Sermon 3177. Christ Seen as God's Salvation
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, DECEMBER 23, 1909.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"My eyes have seen Your Salivation." Luke 2:30.
[Other Sermons by Mr. Spurgeon upon the same text are #1417, Volume 24-"YOUR SALVATION" and #2293, Volume 39- SIMEON'S SWANSONG]
THOUSANDS of times that song of Simeon has been sung by careless, thoughtless persons, but surely it is one of those songsthat ought never to come except from believing lips. To make it merely a part of a liturgy and for shamelessly living mento say, "My eyes have seen Your Salvation," must be an atrocious sin before God! Let all who have ventured to use such wordsas these without having thought of their meaning, confess their sin before God and ask that He would make those words to betrue which have up to now been so frivolously uttered and that before they close their eyes in death, they maysee God's Salvation!
I. I shall, first of all, TAKE THE TEXT AS IT DROPS FROM SIMEON'S LIPS and follow his leading.
We will start with Simeon's main idea. He came into the Temple. He saw there a little Babe and he recognized, in that newly-bornChild, Jesus the promised Savior! And as he took up that Savior into his arms, he said, "Mine eyes have seen"-what? "YourSalvation," God's Salvation-not only the Worker of the Salvation, but the Salvation itself! From which I gather that whereverwe see Jesus, we see God's Salvation, Wherever our eyes spiritually light upon the Christ of God, there we see God's Salvation!Whether in Bethlehem's manger, or on Calvary's Cross, or on yonder Throne of Glory from which He shall judge the quick andthe dead-wherever we see Him, we see the Salvation of God!
Let me then take your thoughts along the history of our Savior for a few moments. Far back into the ages, when as yet thisworld and sun and moon were not created-when God dwelt alone-then, in the foreknowledge of God, it was apparent that man wouldsin-that elect men, beloved of God, would fall in the common ruin. Then came the grand debate, the mighty question to be onlysolved by the supreme Intellect of Heaven, "How can sinners be reconciled to God?" And the Covenant was made, that ancientCovenant of which David sang, "ordered in all things and sure." Jesus, the Second Person of the blessed Godhead, entered intoCovenant with His Father, that in the fullness of time, He would stand in the sinner's place and pay the sinner's debt-thatHe would head up in Himself as many as the Father gave Him and become the second and restoring Adam to them, though, throughthe first and falling Adam, they, with others, had been destroyed. Then, when the Covenant was signed and the Divine partiesto that grand transaction struck hands and ratified the bond, my eyes, as they look into that vast eternity and, with holycuriosity, desire to scan that council cham-ber-my eyes perceive God's Salvation in the Person of Jesus Christ!
This was all that could have been seen by faith, even after the world had been created and man had fallen, until that daywhen the fullness of time was come-when Jesus Christ, who had covenanted to save His people, came to perform the work. Oh,the grandeur of that day when angels came in haste to sing that the Babe was born in Bethlehem! Ah, Simeon! What you see thereis not merely a Babe-a little Child hanging upon a woman's breast-it is the Word Incarnate, the Logos, without whom was notanything made that is made! He that spoke and it was done, lies there! He that said, "Light be," and light was-the Word thatwas with God when He balanced the clouds and when He fixed the sockets of the universe, even He is there in the Person ofthat Child! The Son of Mary is also the Son of God! And whenever you, Beloved, look to God Incarnate and understand that wondrousmystery, "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us," and men chosen of Him beheld His Glory, "the Glory as of the only-begottenof the Father, full of Grace and Truth"-then when you see God in human flesh, you see God's Salvation!
Follow with the eyes of your love that Babe when He had become a Man. See Him, in the obedience of 30 years to His reputedfather, handling the saw and the hammer in the carpenter's shop of Joseph. "Being found in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself."See Him in the three years of His most blessed ministry! What work was crowded into those years! How did the zeal of God'shouse eat Him up! The dews fell upon Him in the night when He kept the sheep of God in the wilderness and on the mountain'sbrow shepherded them in His midnight prayers. Oftentimes the sweat fell from Him in that daily service which, as the Servantof servants, He rendered to all His brethren. None toiled as He did-none so arduously, none so perfectly, none so willingly,none with so complete a bending of His whole faculties to His all-absorbing work! Behold the righteousness of the saints-thiswork of Christ is making a robe in which the saints shall be arrayed. His active obedience renders unto God a recompense forour breaches of His holy Law. In Christ, the actively-obedient, you see God's Salvation!
But oh, let your eyes swim with tears as you follow Him from His active to His passive obedience. I stayed midway in a versejust now, "Being found in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself"-as you go on, you read-"and became obedient unto death, eventhe death of the Cross." There He is in yonder garden among the olives! Do you hear His sighs, His deep-fetched groans? Doyou mark the sweat drops of His blood as they fall upon the earth? He is pleading, "If it is possible, let this cup pass fromMe." But it is not possible. Do you see Him hurried away with the felon's kiss still upon His cheek-hurried away by traitoroushands to Caiaphas-hurried to Pilate and Herod, one after the other, scorned and scoffed everywhere? He, whose visage is brightas the morning when the sun arises, and whose Countenance is like Lebanon, comely as the cedars-He it is that they make nothingof, and laugh and scoff at! Into His face, which angels look on with hushed awe, they cast their accursed spittle! They buffetHim and cry, "Hail King of the Jews." They mock His royalty with a crown of thorns and His priesthood by binding His eyesand saying, "Who is it that struck You?" Remember that He who is in this shame is God's Salvation! He is made lower than earth'sbasest menials that He might lift us higher than Heaven's brightest seraphs! He came down from where He was in Heaven's excellencyto all this depth of shame-that out of all our shame He might lift us up to the supernal excellency!
Then, at length, it comes to a climax and the patient Sufferer gives His hands to the iron and His feet to the nails. Theylift Him up-He must die a felon's death! Outside the camp He must suffer. Made sin for us, He cannot be in the congregation.He must be numbered with the transgressors! Behold Him dying in bodily pains not to be readily described! But, the worst wasthis-God, to whom good men look for succor when they die, refused Him help! Jehovah, who never did forsake the virtuous, forsookHim, the most virtuous of all! He who is our castle and high tower, our rampart and defense in our extremity, hid as it were,His face from Him-and that bitterest of all cries, which contains in it as much grief as all the shrieks of the damned inHell, went up, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" There He was, the forsaken One. Yet He was God's Salvation, forHe was-
"Bearing, that we might never bear, His Father's righteous ire"-
enduring to be cast away from Heaven that we, base as we are, might be enfolded in the Divine bosom and loved with the Divineaffection!
Nor is this all. On the third day, He who on the Cross had conquered, rose to claim the victory. Behold Him! He is God's Salvationas He rises from the tomb. Where is your sting, O Death? Where is your victory, boastful Grave? Jehovah Jesus has saved usfrom death! He has risen from the sepulcher. Behold Him as He ascends! Let not your eyes be too dazzled with the Glory. Herides in solemn pomp up to Heaven's gate. Your ears can even now catch the echoes of that song, "Lift up your heads, O yougates; and be you lift up, you everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in." He that enters there has saved usand has gone to receive gifts for men. His entrance there is the entrance of all His people, for He is their Representativeand takes possession of Heaven on their behalf. Being there for us, we are saved! His Presence on the Throne is the Presenceof God's Salvation!
If time did not fail me, I would like to pursue the story and point you to Him, looking still like a lamb that has been slain,pleading with His never ceasing, ever-prevalent intercession. I would like to bid your faith anticipate the day when He shallcome again, with no sin-offering, but unto salvation, when you and I, seeing Him, shall see God's Salvation- when our bodiesshall be perfected, no more to be weak and suffering, but made like His glorious body! Our Brothers and Sisters that havegone before us, who at this moment sleep in their silent tombs among the purple heather, or in the
crowded cemetery, or in the chill vault-they, also, shall hear the sound of His Second Advent when the herald blast shallbid the world know that the Lord has come and-
"From beds of dust and silent clay
To realms of everlasting day"-
they shall wing their triumphant way, for Jesus Christ shall be to them, as to us, God's Salvation! That was Simeon's idea,I think. I have but hammered out his ingot of gold a little to show you that where Jesus is, there is the Salvation of
II. And now, in the second place, we shall TAKE SOME LEAVES OUT OF OUR OWN AUTOBIOGRAPHY.
The text says, "My eyes have seen Your Salvation." Simeon must not be allowed the monopoly of these words. I claim them, "Myeyes have seen Your Salvation.''" Brothers and Sisters, many of you can, in a spiritual sense, use the same language as thePatriarch about to depart uses. You too, can say, "My eyes have seen Your Salvation." Will you turn over the book of yourlife awhile as I turn over mine?
Well, we need not read those early pages, the pages of our estate of sin. Drop tears and blot them out! Dear hand of Jesusstained with blood, wipe down each one of them and blot them out forever! But what is this first bright page? It is the pagewhere we began to live, the page that records our spiritual birth.And I think we shall find written somewhere across it, "Thisday my eyes beheld God's Salvation." Well do I remember that day! I had looked here and looked there. This was my question-Ihave offended God, how can He forgive me? It was no use to tell me God was merciful-I had an answer for that-"God is just."It availed nothing to say, "Sin is little," I knew better! It was heavy to me-what must it do to Him? The question I wantedto have answered was-How can God in justice pass by my iniquities? Then did I learn, as in a moment, this sweet story whichhas been my delight to tell in various forms a thousand times-that Jesus came and said, "I will be the sinner's Surety. Iwill stand in his place of curse and ruin and will bear for him the penalty of pain-for him I will even bear death." I learnedthat if I looked to Jesus-just looked, that was all-that if I simply trusted in Jesus, I would be saved! I looked and, happyday, my eyes saw God's Salvation! That blessed Doctrine of Substitution, that simple command, "Believe and live"-that wasthe glass through which my soul looked and saw God's Salvation!
But if I remember rightly, a little further on-in my case it was not above a week after I had seen my sin forgiven, I feltmyself in another difficulty. I found I could not do what I would. My will now was never to sin again, but I did sin. I willedto be holy, but I was not what I would be. I groaned and cried, "Where is salvation from this evil heart of mine, from thiscorruption of my nature?" And I remember well going to the same place where I had heard of the Savior and hearing the ministerdeclare that if any man felt in himself the evil nature, he was not saved. "Ah," I thought, "I know better than that!" I couldnot be persuaded of that, for I knew I was saved as I had looked to Christ, but I did find that I was where Paul was whenhe said, "To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." I seemed, then, to say to myself,"My will is so fickle, how can I hold on? My power is so feeble, how can I stand against
Ah, and well do I remember the day when I could say in a more emphatic sense than before, "My eyes have seen Your Salvation."For, as I searched the Word, I perceived that as many as believed in Christ had eternallife and eternal lifeis not a lifethat lasts a little while-it is what it is said to be-everlasting life. Then I perceived in the Word that against this everlastinglife the old body of sin and death would struggle, but that it was written that the new life was a living and incorruptibleSeed "which lives and abides forever." And I discovered the Apostle's words, "Thanks be to God, which gives us the victorythrough our Lord Jesus Christ." It was a grand discovery when I perceived that the life God had given me could not die anymore than God could! That it was a beam from Himself! That He had made me a partaker of that Divine Nature since I had escapedthe corruption that was in the world through lust. That the Spirit of the Most High was given to the Believer to dwell inhim and to be with him forever! And that He who began the work had declared that He would carry it on and perfect it untothe day of the appearing of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
When I learned those Truths of God, I felt as if I had not seen God's Salvation before. I had seen so little of it the firsttime-enough to make me leap for joy, it is true-but on the second discovery, I beheld that He who redeemed me from the guiltof sin would quite as certainly redeem me from thepower of sin That He who set me on the rock would keep me there! That Hewho put me on the road to Heaven had said about all His servants, "I will put My fear in their hearts, that
they shall not depart from Me." That was a glorious discovery! None of your two penny-halfpenny salvations that some peopleprofess to have, that only last for a day or two, or a few weeks at most and then depart-in Christ today and out of Christtomorrow! Christ has pardoned their sin and yet they think He has not given them salvation! But to know that "the gifts andcalling of God are without repentance." That He has said, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." That "the righteousalso shall hold on his way and he that has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger." That the Word of Christ stands sure,"I give unto My sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hands"-this is tosee God's Salvation in a broader light! I pray that every hearer who has seen Christ may go on to see more of Christ tillhe has seen his full security in the Person of the Well-Beloved!
But further on, (and it was with me a long time later), when I had discovered that the Christ who saved me from the guiltwas also pledged to save me from the power of sin-then I found afresh that He was God's Salvation! I discovered partly throughthought and partly through the clear testimony of the written Word, that every soul that believes in Christ, believes in Christbecause God made Him believe in Christ That concerning that soul there was a purpose made by God that that soul should bea Believer-and that purpose was made from all eternity, and that purpose once made could never be changed! It was like themountains of brass which could never be moved. I say that the salvation of the Believer in Christ did not rest on his ownwill, but on God's will! That the purpose that saved him was not his own purpose, even as it is written, "it is not of himthat wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy." Why, I remember that was as good a discovery to me as thevery first one that I made! It was almost like another conversion! I had been up to the ankles in the Water of Life before,but now I was up to my very neck! And what could I say but this-
"I'm a monument of Grace, A sinner saved by blood! The streams of love I trace Up to the Fountain, God. And in His sacredbosom see Eternal thoughts of love to me"?
Here it is that "my eyes have seen God's Salvation"-seen the source of it, the secret springs of it, the eternity of it, theimmutability of it and the Divinity of it! I pray that every burdened child of God may also get to see that. Then will heindeed sing for joy of heart!
Probably, dear Brothers and Sisters, we have not all gone further than that, if as far, but it is a very blessed thing whenwe are led to see another Truth of God, namely, that every quickened Believer is one with Jesus Christ. "We are members ofHis body, of His flesh and of His bones." The Christ in Heaven is the same Christ who is here on earth in all of His savedones-they are all parts of Him. There is a vital union subsisting between them so that whatever Christ is, they are. Theywere one with Him of old, they were one in the grave, one when He rose, one when He triumphed over His foes and they are atthis day one with Him as-
"Now in Heaven He takes His seat, While seraphs sing all Hell's defeat"
Every Believer is as much one with Christ as the finger is one with the body. If I lost my finger, I would not be a perfectman as to my body. And if Christ lost the meanest member of His body, it would be a part of Christ that would be lost-andChrist would not be a perfect Christ! We are one with Jesus by indissoluble, vital union-and if your soul perceives that,you will clap your hands and say to the Father-"I have indeed seen Your Salvation, for now I see that I am in Heaven." He"has raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." We are saved and glorified in ChristJesus as our Representative and Covenant Head!
Not even yet have I exhausted this theme! And I only pray that you and I may go on to know yet more and more the heights anddepths of God's Salvation! I was thinking just now before I began to preach that if ever you and I should be permitted tolook down upon the world of misery-if in some future state we should ever gaze into that land of darkness and despair wheresinners cast away from God are suffering the due reward of their sins-if our eyes should ever see their agonies and our earsshould ever hear their cries of despair, we would, among other things, say, "My God, I never knew before how great Your Salvationis, for I also should have been there, but for Your mercy. Until I saw something of what Hell is, I could not tell how muchI owed You. I could not say that in its heights and depths my eyes had seen Your Salvation."
And, Brothers and Sisters, (to put a better, a more pleasing light upon it)-
"When I stand before the Throne, Dressed in beauty not my own"
when I shall see Him-and see Him I shall, for I can say with Job, "Whom I shall see for myself and my eyes shall behold, andnot another." When you and I shall cast our crowns at His feet, when we shall raise our voices with all the white-robed throngin the everlasting hallelujahs, then we shall say, "My God, my Father, 'My eyes have seen Your Salvation.'"
III. Time fails me, so I must pass on to spend a few minutes in a third portion of my topic. It is this-THERE ARE SOME HEREWHO HAVE NEVER SEEN GOD'S SALVATION.
The Gospel is hid from them. And if it is hid, it is not hid because we have used hard words to hide it. "If our Gospel ishid, it is hid from them who are lost; in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not." BlindSinner, do you desire to see the Salvation of God? "Ah," you say, "If I know my own heart, I do." Why, then, can you not seeit, Man? It is very plain. Ah, I see, your eyes are sealed up!
The first seal I see on your eyes, like a fixed scale, (and oh, I wish I could take it off of you), is this-you do not evenbelieve that you need any salvation. The man who does not believe he needs saving, of course will never see God's Salvation!In your heart you say, "I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." But my poor Friend, be persuaded totake God's opinion of you, which is much nearer the truth than yours. You are naked, blind, poor and miserable! You are lost,ruined and condemned, as it is written, "He that believes not is condemned already." Is that scale gone?
Now I see another, (I wish that I could take that off, too), and that is, you know you are blind, but you say, "I must tryand save myself" This is a very thick scale. You will never see while that is on your eyes! Do you not notice how Simeon putit-not, "My eyes have seen my own salvation,"" but, "My eyes have seen YourSalvation,"" that is, God's Salvation, the Lord'ssalvation! Let me tell you, poor Man, if ever you are saved, your salvation must be God's in the beginning, God's in the carryingon and God's in the concluding! No salvation will ever serve your turn but one which is Divine from top to bottom! If Nature'sfingers could nimbly spin a garment that should cover human nakedness, it would be of no use. All that Nature spins, God mustunravel before a soul can be clothed in the righteousness of Christ! It is not your doings, Man-it is Christ's doings thatmust save you! Not your tears, but Christ's blood! Not your feelings, not anything in you or from you! Listen you who havean ear to hear it-"Salvation is of the Lord"-from first to last!
If that scale shall come off your eyes, I know that you will say, "Now I begin to see enough to know that I cannot see. Ihave just enough light to discover the darkness I am in. I see that none can save me but God. He must do it-but will He saveme? Will He save me?" Lend me your finger, Man. Do you see? No, you do not, but there is the hem of Jesus' garment-touch thatwith your finger and you shall be restored to sight at once! I mean this-Jesus died to save such as you are-trust Him andyou are saved! You are saved completely and at once! A physician who was under some concern of soul, asked his patient, whowas a godly man, "Can you explain to me what faith is?" "Yes," said his godly patient, "I can let you see it very soon ifGod will let you see it. It is like this-I am very ill, I cannot help myself, I do not attempt to do it, I have confidencein you-I put myself into your care, I take what medicine you send me-I do what you bid me. That is faith. You must trust yourselfin the hands of Christ like that." That is it. When you, my dear Friend, wholly and entirely trust yourself in the hands ofChrist-then your eyes have seen God's Salvation!
I have no time for more. I wish I had. But I want to say this final word to everyone who has seen God's Salvation. Perhapsone of you is poor. Well, go home tonight saying, "I am poor, but my eyes have seen Your Salvation." One of you, perhaps,is in suffering. Then say, "I feel ill. Never mind, my eyes have seen Your Salvation." And perhaps there are some warningsand intimations that make another of you think you will soon be called to die. Consumption is undermining your constitution-nevermind, don't fret-your eyes have seen God's Salvation! How much better to die in an attic or in a ditch and see God's Salvation,than be carried in the most pompous manner to your grave a soul that knows nothing of God and of the Savior! O you that aremuch tried and much troubled, bear up, bear up! Your sorrow will not last much longer! When you and I get to Heaven, as Itrust we shall, as I know we shall if we are resting on the Atonement of Christ, these troubles by the way will only be matterfor us to talk of, and to say to one another, "How graciously the Lord has upheld us in His Providence, and how wonderfullyHe has brought us through every trial! Even in my poverty,
my eyes saw His Salvation. In my sickness and in my death, I did but see it all the more clearly because of the clouds anddarkness that were round about me!" God bless you, dear Friends! I earnestly pray that you may all see God's Salvation! MayHe hear the prayer, for Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: LUKE2:1-40.
Verses 1-9. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world shouldbe taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria). And all went to be taxed, every one into hisown city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which iscalled Bethlehem, (because he was of the house and lineage of David), to be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, being greatwith child. And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she broughtforth her first-born Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for themin the inn. And there were in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night And,lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the Glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sorely afraid. Thesemen were probably poor and illiterate, but that did not hinder God from revealing Himself to them, nor prevent the comingof His Son to them! They were engaged in their ordinary calling, "keeping watch over their flocks by night," when this greatblessing came to them. Seldom does such a blessing as this come to idlers. It was not while they were gadding abroad and wastingtheir time, but while they kept watch over their flocks that "the angel of the Lord came upon them." First one angel led theway and then a multitude of the heavenly host followed and these poor men, perhaps troubled with the common superstition ofthe Jews that the appearance of God, or any supernatural visitation, would always be followed by death, "were sorely afraid."
10, 11. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of greatjoy, which shall be to all people.For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. The anointed Savior has full powerto save, for He "is Christ the Lord" and, therefore, He is able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by Him.
12. And this shall be a sign unto you-You shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger [See
Sermons #1026, Volume 17-JOY BORN AT BETHLEHEM and #1330, Volume 22-THE GREAT BIRTHDAY] Not in marble halls, wrapped in purpleand fine linen and welcomed by the great and mighty of earth! No, this greatest of all princes is born amid the poverty ofour ordinary manhood! He is One chosen out of the people, the people's Savior-and a manger receives the people's King.
13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising Go . They could not stay behind! The newsspread through Heaven that an angel had gone to announce the birth of Christ and the others flew through the pearly gatesand hastened to overtake the herald-and reached him just as he had concluded his message- "Suddenly there was with the angela multitude of the heavenly host." These cohorts of the Lord came riding post haste, Praising God.
13-17. And saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angelswere gone away from them into Heaven, the shepherds said, one to another, let us now go even unto Bethlehem and see this thingwhich is come to pass, which the Lord has made known unto us. And they came with haste and found Mary, and Joseph, and theBabe lying in a manger And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this Child.Good news is not to be kept to ourselves. When we have ascertained its truth we are to tell it to others, and we are especiallyto tell the goodness of salvation! Tell it, O you who know it in your own hearts by blessed experience! Tell it, though itwill sometimes be with broken accents in the feebleness of your flesh, yet even then tell it in the ardor of your heart'saffection and God will bless your testimony-and others will learn the Good News through you.
18, 19. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all thesethings and pondered them Weighed them, estimated them at their right value.
19. In her heart. The best of coffers to lay up anything in is the heart! Happy are those who, like Mary, store up the thingsof Christ, not in their brain, though that would make them orthodox-but in their heart-for that will bring them salvation!
20-24. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it wastold unto them. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, His name was called JESUS, whichwas so named of the angel before He was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the Lawof Moses were accomplished, they brought Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord; (as it is written in the Law of theLord, Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord) and to offer a sacrifice according to that which issaid in the Law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. Our Savior put Himself under the Law for our sakesand in every jot and tittle He observed it. So we are delivered from its dominion, for if Christ has fulfilled the Law onour account, it has no more claim upon us. "You are not under the Law, but under
25. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. [See Sermon #659, Volume 11-SIMEON] And the same manwas just and devou. This combination makes up a complete character-"just" towards man-"devout" towards God. There are manywho think they are just, but their justness does not extend to their fellow creatures, and they forget the claims of the MostHigh upon them. On the other hand, I have known men who have pretended to a vast amount of devotion, but who have never beenjust. Such persons are hypocrites, as the others are robbers of God! But he who is just and devout-just towards man and devouttowards God- has the character of a true man! Such was Simeon, "just and devout."
25-29. Waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit,that he shouldnot see death before he hadseen the Lord's Christ. Andhe came by the Spirit into the Temple: and when the parentsbrought in the Child, Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the Law, then he took Him up in his arms and blessed God, andsaid, Lord, now let You Your servant depart inpeace, according to Your word. You see, dear Friends, he was not afraid to dieand he knew that he could not die until he had seen the Messiah! Some of us, if we had a Revelation that on the occurrenceof a certain event, we would die, might be filled with alarm or anxiety! But it is not so with holy Simeon-he rather longsto depart in peace. He looks upon the coming of "the Lord's Christ" with great joy because now he knows the battle of lifefor him will soon be over and that he will enter into his victory!
30-34. For my eyes have seen Your Salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all people; a Light to lighten theGentiles, and the Glory of the people Israel And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken ofHim.AndSimeon blessed them andsaid unto Mary, His mother, Behold, this Childis set for the fall and rising again of many in Israe.[See Sermon #907, Volume 15-CHRIST-THE RISE AND FALL OF MANY] There were many who fell through their offenses against Jesus,but blessed be His name, there are still many who rise through Him, rise first to newness of life on earth and afterwardsto resurrection life in Glory! Jesus is set for both-He must be to one the savor of death unto death, and to another He mustbe the savor of life unto life.
34. And for a sign which shall be spoken against How true has this been! The Cross has been to many a stumbling block, andto the worldly wise it has been foolishness. And so will it be to the world's end!
35. (Yes, a sword shall pierce through your own soul, also) Great privileges often involve great troubles. Mary was highlyfavored and truly blessed among women, yet no woman ever had greater sorrow than she had!
35. That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. Christ's death revealed the thoughts of many hearts. It revealed thethoughts in the heart of Pilate, that he loved popularity better than the Truth of God. It revealed the thoughts of the heartof Judas, that he loved gold better than he loved his Master. It revealed the thoughts in the heart of Caia-phas, that hewould keep to old customs rather than to the right. It revealed the thoughts in the hearts of the disciples and showed whatpoor timid, trembling hearts they had. Peter's impulsive spirit, too, was revealed in all its weakness by the death of theSavior. The Cross is the great touchstone! Wherever it goes, it tests and tries us-even as the crucible tries the metal thatis put into it-and lets us know what manner of men we are. Do you love Christ? Do you glory in His Cross? Then it is wellwith you. But do you despise the Cross? Do you set up your own righteousness in opposition to it? Are you depending upon anythingbeside Jesus Christ and Him crucified? Then His Cross reveals you to be self-righteous
and dead in trespasses and sins! Our Savior was not only to be received by men, but He was to be welcomed by women also, sonow we read.
36-40. And there was one Anna, a Prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age and hadlived with her husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about 84 years, which departed not from theTemple, but served God with fasting and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant, gave thanks, likewise, untothe Lord, and spoke of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. And when they had performed all things accordingto the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the Child grew and waxed strong in spirit,filled with wisdom: and the Grace of God was upon Him.