V 32. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
What a wonderfully expansive statement! It covers with unique simplicity the needs of both Jews and Gentiles. This coming Saviour will bring light to the Nations – and that means the Gentiles too, and He is also the perfect summation of everything that is Jewish. Indeed, the whole of Hebrew history had been moving towards this climax in the coming of God’s own Son into the world. Just think of the many great characters you read about in the Old Testament, and Jesus is the head and glory of that whole history. Here we see a child who will be greater than Abraham, greater than Moses and all the prophets.
Simeon had been waiting a long time for this moment. He had this deep-rooted, God-implanted conviction that he would one day see the Messiah. And today was the day!
This song too has found its way into modern prayer books under the title Nunc Dimittis. In the Church of England, it is in the order of service for Evening Prayer along with the Magnificat which we read on Tuesday.
It is a most remarkable, forward-looking prophetic song. In his conversation with Mary, Simeon even foresees the agony that she was to experience in the years ahead as Jesus fulfilled his ministry. ‘And a sword will pierce your very soul.” ‘ (v 35) The pathway Jesus was to follow was no accident of history – it was Father God’s determined purpose for him.