“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation.”
As a young man awaiting the birth of our children, I never worried that something could go wrong. I just didn’t think about the dangers of pregnancy or childbirth, not even after our second child required time in the neonatal intensive care unit. Later, after seeing close friends experience the tragedy of stillborn births, I found myself very anxious when waiting for news that a new grandchild had safely arrived, and all was well with mother and child.
Anxious waiting, this well describes Simeon’s experience. As a Jewish man with Messianic hopes, he was waiting for a baby…waiting for a Savior…waiting for God’s salvation…waiting to die in peace. Then the day came and Simeon—led by the Holy Spirit—went to the temple so that he might see Jesus. Today, people are still led by the Spirit to go to places of worship so they can see Jesus with the eyes of faith and embrace him in the arms of faith.
Why? So that they might have peace. In Jesus, there is the peace of forgiveness for all our sins instead of painful separation from God because of sin. There is the peace of God’s presence in our lives. There is the peace of the present rescue from the guilt of sin and the peace of future rescue from every painful effect of sin. Jesus removes anxiety, fear, and shame and, in their place, grants us his peace.
So many people say with thanksgiving: “My eyes have seen God’s salvation.” We see it in the promises God has given us in the Bible. We see it through the faith the Holy Spirit works in our hearts. As the Lord has promised, we can, with Simeon, one day depart this world in peace just as the Lord has promised.
Dear Lord, help me to see you in your Word and to hold you in my heart. Fill me with your peace. Amen.