"The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: 'This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.'"
What did Simeon mean when he said, "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel"?
Simeon lifted the baby in the air, and praise erupted from the depths of his soul. The joy was like an overflowing spring of sweet water as he sang, "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel" (Luke 2:29-32 NIV). Simeon rejoiced before God as if he were a man reborn.
He nestled the child against his chest and stood before the young couple. The mother's eyes were damp as she smiled through her tears. The father's face shone with humility at the words spoken by the prophet (Luke 2:33). Simeon reached out and blessed the young family, his heart full of happiness yet heavy as the reality of the Scriptures imprinted in his mind became clear.
"Young mother," he said, placing the child back in her arms, "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel." He shared the hard truth of the future of the Promised One. "A sword will pierce your own soul too," he said sadly (Luke 2:34-35). The couple solemnly nodded as if the words revealed what they already knew in their hearts.
Not far away, the sounds of a woman worshipping God filled the air. She had risen from her knees to stand and watch Simeon as he rejoiced with the child in his arms, but her praises continued to flow. "It is Anna," Simeon told the couple. "She is a prophetess, a righteous woman."
Anna had devoted her life to praying for others, crying out day and night to God. She was thin, for she fasted continually. The sight of Anna kneeling in worship and prayer in the temple court was as familiar a sight as the sun that shone each morning.
She hesitated for a moment then walked toward Simeon. "Could it be?" she asked.
Simeon nodded. "Yes, Anna, it has come to pass," he said. "The Messiah is here!"
After gazing upon the face of the Christ child, basking in the goodness of God to send His Son for a few precious moments, she turned and ran. Her back was bent with age, but her steps were quick as she spilled the news to those who had gathered around the courtyard.
"The redemption of Israel has arrived!" she called out (see Luke 2:38 NIV). "The Messiah has come!" Though her eyes were failing from age, they shone brightly from those few moments of seeing Jesus, and tears of joy slipped down her cheeks.
Lord Jesus, help me to share the Good News with those who cross my path. I thank You and praise You for giving us salvation. Amen.