As someone who tried to follow the law and eagerly anticipated the Messiah, Simeon had his work cut out for him.
We tend to think of the term ‘godly man’ on this side of the cross. It means someone who loves Jesus and tries to follow him as best as he possibly can. He may make mistakes, but then he confesses them, repents and moves on.
I think Simeon lived in Jerusalem because it was easier. The temple was right there. Any time he needed to make a sacrifice, any time he needed to present an offering to atone for a sin, the priests were available and on call every day of the year.
If you look at Leviticus and truly imagine trying to live by it and live by it honestly, you can see that just keeping the law is a full-time job. But it was so important to Simeon that the Holy Spirit was upon him. Looking at people before the second chapter of Acts, those with the anointing of the Holy Spirit were few and far between.
For the sake of culture, I would have preferred to have been a man in the early AD years. Women had few, if any, opportunities. But in terms of religion, I would rather have been Anna than Simeon. Not only would his efforts to abide by the law cost a lot of money, but they would take a lot of time and energy. And from every indication, he kept it up for years.
Just the fact that the Bible says he was such a good man says a lot about the daily life he lived and how he poured himself out—all for the hope of the Christ.
A Sixty-Day Countdown to Christmas