When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Joseph and Mary obediently brought baby Jesus to Jerusalem to be dedicated to the Lord as was the law.
The LORD said to Moses, “Consecrate to me every firstborn male.” Exodus 13:2
The trip to Jerusalem was six miles from Bethlehem and there they met a righteous and devout man, called Simeon whose promise from God was fulfilled upon seeing baby Jesus. Simeon then blessed Mary and Joseph and also gave them a warning. Jesus will be the light, but many will be against him, and all hearts will be laid open to their own truth. Either our hearts will love Jesus and embrace Him or our hearts will be set against Him in anger.
Matthew Henrys Commentary on Luke 2:25-40 helps explain what happens;
This refers to that prophecy (Isa. 8:14, 15), He shall be for a sanctuary to some, and yet for a snare to others, 1 Pet. 2:7, 8. Note, As it is pleasant to think how many there are to whom Christ and his gospel are a savour of life unto life, so it is sad to think how many there are to whom it is a savour of death unto death. He is set for a sign, to be admired by some, but by others, by many, spoken against. He had many eyes upon him, during the time of his public ministry, he was a sign, but he had many tongues against him, the contradiction and reproach of sinners, he was continually cavilled at and abused; and the effects of this will be that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed (Luke 2:35), that is, upon this occasion, men will show themselves, will discover, and so distinguish, themselves. The secret good affections and dispositions in the minds of some will be revealed by their embracing Christ, and closing with him; the secret corruptions and vicious dispositions of others, that otherwise would never have appeared so bad, will be revealed by their enmity to Christ and their rage against him. Men will be judged of by the thoughts of their hearts, their thoughts concerning Christ; are they for him, or are they for his adversaries? The word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and by it we are discovered to ourselves, and shall be judged hereafter.
These prophesies were also fulfilled. The glory of the Lord was revealed to the ends of the earth that Christ would be our salvation light, so all who are now in darkness can see the light and be free.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:5
The Lord will lay bare his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth will see
the salvation of our God. Isaiah 52:10
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. Isaiah 42:6-7
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6
My heart was set against God for most of my life. I would ridicule the gullibility of people believing in fairy tales over being in control and setting their own courses. I had unexplained negative feelings towards anything with a churchy nature, and valued education and achievement. I had not grown up in the church and didn’t have the least interest in finding out about it either. Little did I know that my life would be overturned by the death of our second child who was born prematurely when I was 29. The next ten years would be spent arguing with God as to why there is evil and death and suffering. I didn’t think His plan was that well thought out. Now I embrace what I once raged against, and thank God that He has patience and is allowing all of us time to come to Him.
In Simeon’s blessing of Mary and Joseph, God tells it straight. Your son will cause the rise and fall of many, and he will face opposition, and you will suffer too. A sword will pierce your soul Mary. Some of our souls are pierced before we know Jesus, and we come to know Him through the sword. Mary would know the the joy of his birth, but also the hatred of those who lived with her, in her time, toward her son. Hatred can destroy, but God can restore, and it’s through this baby of Mary’s that the world will learn the truth.
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