ADVENT REFLECTION // WEEK ONE
Spiritual Waiting: God’s Call to Simeon and the joy of fulfilled promises
An Advent Reflection on Luke 2:25-35
By Dr Ivor Poobalan, Principal of Colombo Theological Seminary in Sri Lanka,
LeaDev-Langham Programme Partner
Officials at a cross-country marathon are crucial to the race. The runners may pass through gruelling terrain with no one in sight, so when they turn the corner and spot the official ahead they are rejuvenated. It is assurance to the athlete that she is on the right track, and also a means of information on the way to go. For the official though there is very little to do except to watch, and to wait.
For Mary’s marathon as the Messiah’s mother, God had appointed some race-officials to assure her and inform her. One of them was Simeon. He was deeply concerned for “the consolation of Israel” that had been denied his nation for six hundred years, ever since
the Babylonians had ravaged Jerusalem. Unlike many before him who had tried to
manufacture a solution to their political ills through conspiracy or compromise, Simeon refused such presumptuous pathways. He was righteous and devout and deeply spiritual. In fact Luke thrice mentions Simeon’s spirituality: he was Spirit-endowed (v.25), Spirit-instructed (v.26) and Spirit-led (v.27).
In our modern activism-obsessed age Simeon’s spiritual calling seems like the strangest mission; not to do anything but to wait until he saw “the Lord’s Messiah”. And he had waited so long it felt like he had been shackled to this calling, like a slave to his chains (v.29). Nevertheless Simeon waited; patiently and faithfully, until the day “the parents brought in the child Jesus” (v.27). The climactic moment of his special calling had come: “Now O Sovereign, release your slave, according to your Word, in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation”. What joy there is in this revelation coming to be.
A powerful word of assurance and direction to Mary (vv.34-35),
and Simeon is gone from the pages of Scripture. Yet, not without leaving behind that necessary reminder that God has many
joyous filled callings in his great drama of salvation. Mary had her
marathon calling to bear the Saviour and journey with him to the cross and beyond. Simeon had a different calling: to believe God’s promise, and wait, so he could simply be there to speed the
bearer of the Saviour on her way.