Theology 101 — Simeon’s Song   

Songs of Christmas

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we have looked at theological truths found in three other “songs of Christmas” — those of Mary, Zacharias and the angels.

This leaves us with the song voiced by Simeon on the occasion when Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the temple. Simeon took the infant Jesus in his arms while voicing a prophetic song. As with the previous three, from the Latin this song has been given a title, “Nunc Dimittis” (Luke 2:29–32). Several truths may be distilled from Simeon’s song.

God is the source of peace. Addressing God, Simeon begins by saying, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace” (v. 29). This “just and devout” man had been waiting expectantly for what he termed “the consolation of Israel.”

The Holy Spirit is the divine means of revelation. It had been revealed to Simeon by the Spirit that he would see “the Lord’s Christ” before he died (v. 26).

The Spirit also is the agent of divine leading. Simeon had come to the temple at the day and hour when Joseph and Mary were there with the infant Jesus to fulfill the “custom of the law,” His official naming and circumcision. What had been revealed to Simeon by the Spirit came to fulfillment due to the precise leading of the Spirit.

Prince of Peace

Taking the infant Christ into his arms, Simeon gave voice to his song, acknowledging that God is the source of peace (v. 29). The God of peace had sent the Prince of Peace into the world, and Simeon was blessed to hold the Son of God in his arms while acknowledging God’s faithfulness in fulfilling His word.

In his song, Simeon also was aware that when he looked upon the infant Savior, he was beholding God’s salvation (v. 30). It was as Peter would years later confess before the Jewish Sanhedrin concerning Christ, that there is salvation in no other name, “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Furthermore, that salvation is God’s provision “prepared before the face of all peoples” (v. 31). Whether Jew or Gentile, everyone who enters a saving relationship with God must do so through the same Savior. This Christ is both God’s light bringing revelation to Gentiles and glory to God’s chosen nation, Israel (v. 32).

May we end this year and begin the new year convinced that Christ is still “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).

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