Tuesday, February 03, 2009

My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation

Yesterday was the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, a remembrance of when Joseph and Mary took baby Jesus to the temple to present Him. I have been intrigued by this story since I was a child. The beauty of Simeon's faith, and the dedication of Anna to stay in the temple. Both of these godly people had the true privilege of a great discovery: the Savior had come! And they got to see Him with their own eyes.

Painting by Ron DiCianni

This passage fills my heart with wonder. What would it have been like to live in a world which did not have a Savior? I mean, we read the Old Testament with the knowledge of fulfilled prophecy: we know the Savior would be coming, because we know that it has happened! What was it like for the people who lived before He came? How did it feel to wonder "if" and "when" the Messiah would be born? Here are two great examples of people who never gave up hope, and continued to believe in the coming of their Lord. Then one day, it really happened. Just another poor, young couple with a baby being brought to the Lord...and yet, not just another baby! What an incredible moment for both of these aged, righteous people!

The beauty of it, too, is that I can say with Simeon, "My eyes have seen Your salvation." Maybe not in the physical sense that he actually saw the child in Mary's arms. But in the very real sense of knowing Him personally and seeing what He has done in my life and the lives of so many people I know. I guess it would even be accurate to say, "My eyes have seen the result of Your salvation, the One who came into the world has changed lives!"

Another thought about this story: I want to have the faith of Simeon and Anna to continue to believe in the coming of the Lord. Not to waver in the hope of His return, no matter how many years have passed since the promise was given.

I close this post with a link to a beautiful video, and the passage relating the story. Michael Card wrote a song called, "Now That I've Held Him in My Arms," which tells the story of the Presentation through music. (This is an awesome video!) As you watch it, may you be filled with the same wonder and awe as Simeon and Anna were so long ago...

"And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel." And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanu-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him." Luke 2:22-39
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