Luke 2:35a Then Simeon blessed them…
Picture the scene. The four of them—Simeon, Mary, Joseph and infant Jesus—standing in the temple. Most likely, this would occur in the Court of the Gentiles. Rather than a peaceful church scene, this is chaos. Traders with their animals, customers trying to barter for a better deal, priests and Levites heading through to report for duty, strangers from the known world coming to learn more about the Jewish God. Dozens if not hundreds milled around them. It is neither quiet nor picturesque.
But Simeon created a pocket of serenity within the craziness of commerce and mingling neighbors.
As only someone who has seen many years can do, Simeon gratefully handed the baby back to Mary, then encouraged the young parents to bow their heads. He put one wrinkled hand on each. Then he prayed for God’s provision and mercy on these two people who loved God so much they were risking everything.
Did Simeon know anything of the trials of the next few years? Did he see the coming slaughter of the innocent or the flight into Egypt? Did he know how many times Joseph would need to rely on God’s wisdom to preserve the child Jesus for his ministry?
We don’t know. We know he had a glimpse of hardships and pain coming by his own words. But we don’t know how much he knew and how much he, in his own wisdom and reliance on the Holy Spirit, did not reveal to them because they were not ready.
Perhaps he simply gave the standard blessing from Numbers 6:24-26. It would cover the details. Joseph and Mary need to be kept in the center of God’s will.
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”
Simeon blessed them after he offered his praise, but before his warning and prophecy. I think he worked it that way to remind them that with God there is always hope.
A Sixty-Day Countdown to Christmas