by John Bueno
During the events surrounding Christ’s birth, one of God’s great servants made a startling statement. Simeon had been promised he would not die until he saw the Messiah. When Jesus was brought into the temple by Mary and Joseph, the Spirit immediately bore witness to Simeon’s heart that this was indeed the Messiah. Simeon exclaimed, “Lord, now I can die content! For I have seen him as you promised me I would. I have seen the Savior you have given to the world. He is the Light that will shine upon the nations, and he will be the glory of your people Israel!” (Luke 2:29–32 TLB)
We need to reflect on the importance of this statement as it relates to Simeon’s own experience as well as the challenges of our day. All of the Old Testament pointed to this moment and to this person. From the third chapter of Genesis, the promise is made of the Messiah. The prophets and the patriarchs spoke of the Messiah. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon devotes several chapters to what he terms “wisdom,” but in the application to spiritual truth, he’s speaking of the Messiah as well.
This was the moment Israel had been awaiting for hundreds of years. This was the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham and the great covenant of Genesis 15. It was a pivotal moment in history when Simeon saw the Messiah and the Spirit spoke to his heart, and eventually he took that babe into his arms and exclaimed, “Now I can die content.”
I have often walked the great cities of the world and sensed nothing but spiritual darkness and oppression. I’ve often wondered what it will take to bring the masses of humanity into the knowledge of Jesus Christ and into the light of Jesus Christ. Dark countries and dark cities and dark hearts need the impact of this light. Even in our own lives, darkness can envelop us with seemingly no way of escape. Yet Simeon’s words assure us Jesus is the light of the world. Only He can dispel the enemy’s darkness. These two verses in the book of Isaiah contrast the light Jesus gives and the artificial light of humanity:
The people who walk in darkness shall see a great light—a light that shall shine on all those who live in the shadow of death.” (Isaiah 9:2, TLB)
But see here, you who live in your own light and warm yourself from your own fires and not from God’s. You will live among sorrows. (Isaiah 50:11, TLB)
It seems as though, from the beginning, humans have tried to warm ourselves and bring light to our experiences through human efforts. Almost everything you read in the religious sections of our bookstores is about self-improvement and how to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. It is a tendency in humankind to find ways to solve our own problems and to develop schemes that will in some way bring solutions to the darkness of our world. It is a human tendency to warm ourselves with fires that have no real source, but Simeon saw in the Messiah the one who would be a light for the nations. I pray the warmth of this light will give hope to difficult places and to those who are going through dark moments in life.
Jesus came as the light that dissipates sorrows in the deepest darkness. The hope of the nations is the light that shines forever: the glory of God and our redeeming Messiah.
John Bueno is the founder of Latin America Child Care and serves as Chairman of the Board for Global University. For more information about Latin America Child Care, visit http://lacc4hope.org/