131218 Luke 2:28-32

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 December 2013 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Luke 2:28-32

Sermon Theme: THE SONG OF SIMEON: THE NUNC DIMITTIS

Simeon took him [Jesus] in his arms and praised God, saying: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."

As many of you know, I LOVE Christmas music! I start listening to the music I have saved on my computer already at the beginning of November. As soon as a radio station switches over to "all-Christmas music, all the time", I quickly reset my preset stations. I know that there are some that join with me, and start playing their Christmas music early. I also know that there are others who won't start playing their music until after Thanksgiving. One of the reasons they will give is that they don't want to get sick of hearing Christmas music. I will admit that there are some of the Christmas songs I hear on the radio, that after a while, when I hear them come on, I quickly change to another "Christmas station" I have set. During our Mid-Week Worship Services this year, we have taken a closer look at some on the "Songs of the Seasons". These are songs that we don't get tired of hearing. They are songs that we sing throughout the year, not just at Christmas time. Two weeks ago we focused on "The Song of Mary", also known as The Magnificat. Last week, Pastor Pagels helped us to focus on "The Song of Zechariah", also known as The Benedictus. Tonight, as we bring to a close our Mid-Week Advent Worship Services, we listen to another "Song of the Season". Tonight, we listen to "The Song of Simeon", also known as the Nunc Dimittis.

Before we take a closer look at his song, let's answer the question: "Who is Simeon?" One church tradition says that Simeon was one of the 72 translators who translated the Old Testament into the Greek Bible known as The Septuagint. The story goes that Simeon hesitated over the translation of Isaiah 7:14 which tells us that the promised Savior would be born of a virgin. So, as the tradition goes, an angel appeared to him and told him that he would not die until he had seen the Christ born of a virgin. However, if this tradition is true, that would make Simeon well over 200 years old by the time we reach the event recorded for us here in Luke chapter 2!

Instead of trusting this tradition, let's look at God's Word. What does the Bible tell us about this man Simeon? The answer? Not a whole lot! Earlier in Luke chapter 2 we are told, "Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ." This is all that the Bible tells us about Simeon. He lived in Jerusalem. He was clinging to the promises the Lord had made about the coming Messiah. In some way, the Holy Spirit had told Simeon that he would not die before he saw the promised Savior. That same Holy Spirit led Simeon into the temple that very day. Then he led Simeon directly to Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Seeing the baby Jesus, Simeon takes him in his arms and breaks out in his words of praise to God. He begins: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace." During the Christmas time of year, we hear a lot of talk about "peace on earth". But you and I know that because of sin that is in the world, there will never be 100% peace on this side of heaven. You and I also know that we don't deserve to be at peace with the one true God. The one true God is the One who tells us that if you and I want to live forever in the eternal peace of heaven with him, we need to be holy, that is without ANY sin. But you and I know that on our own we can't claim to be holy. We confess that we are sinful from the very beginning of our lives. The sins that we commit in thought, word and action make you and me guilty. We don't deserve peace with God. Rather, we deserve the never-ending punishment of hell.

So, how are you and I able to join Simeon in talking about "peace" with the One true God? Simeon answers that question we he says, "For my eyes have seen your salvation..." With his own eyes, Simeon was able to look down on his Savior that he held in his arms that day. Simeon had peace knowing that because of his Savior, all of his sins were forgiven. Simeon knew that because of his Savior he would live forever in the peace of heaven.

You and I are able to have that same peace. You and I can be sure that we are at peace with our God in heaven, because our Savior, Jesus, came, lived, suffered, died and rose again. All of your sins and all of my sins are forgiven! Because of Jesus, the eternal peace of heaven is ours to look forward to. While you and I aren't able to hold our Savior in our arms like Simeon, we are able to say along with Job, "Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever! I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes--I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!"

How can you and I be sure that Jesus came to be the Savior of all people (including you and me) and not just one particular group of people? In his closing words, Simeon proclaims the Good News: "For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." As he held the baby Jesus in his arms, Simeon held the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies and promises of the coming Savior. He held your Savior and mine. This is the Good News for you and me to hear. On that day in the temple, Simeon held the Savior of all mankind. This is the Good News for you and me to share.

Tonight, as we bring to a close our Mid-Week Advent Services, it is my prayer that we never become tired of singing the "Songs of the Season" that we have focused on the past three Wednesdays. It is also my prayer that we never become tired of sharing with others the Good News that these songs proclaim: a Savior has been born for us – he is Christ, the Lord! With joy in our hearts, I invite you to join with me now in singing the Song of Simeon: The Nunc Dimittis.

 

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Oconomowoc, WI 53066
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