He Still Wants to See Jesus
This Sunday we will experience a rare moment: a major feast day of the Church will fall on what we often refer to as the Lord’s Day. Normally, when a feast day falls on a Sunday, the Sunday trumps it because Sunday is the weekly reminder of the Resurrection of Jesus. Every week, therefore, we celebrate Easter. But on the rare occasion that one of the Church’s major feast days—that is, a celebration that is commemorated in Scripture or a day that honors one of the saints named in Scripture—that feast day trumps Sunday. And that is what we get this week.
February 2 is the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple. It is the day that Jesus, being the first-born son in his family, was taken to the temple in Jerusalem and presented to the priests, setting him apart as a dedication to the Lord (the command is found in Exodus 13: 2). Thus, Mary and Joseph, obeying the Law of Moses, brought Jesus to Jerusalem to be presented and dedicated to God.
But something remarkable happened when they got there. An old man named Simeon, who had been told by God that he would not see death until he met the Messiah, entered the temple and was immediately drawn to the baby Jesus. Simeon took Jesus in his arms and prayed one of the most poetic, most beautiful prayers in all the Bible—a prayer so lovely that we sing it at every single Evensong service. It is called the Nunc Dimitis, “The Song of Simeon.”
“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace; according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people.
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of thy people Israel.”
-Luke 2: 29-32
Simeon recognized the glory of God in this little baby, saw God’s promises reflected in his eyes, felt God’s love in his tiny little fist. Thus, this day is not only sacred because Jesus is presented in the temple according to Mosaic law, but it is sacred because of the glory of God revealed to someone who had been searching for God his whole life. Now, at this moment, gazing at this little baby in his arms, Simeon saw God. Simeon could rest now because his long journey to find gone was fulfilled.
There are Simeons still in this world, all around us. The world is hungry to see the face of God, hungry to hear the Good News of God’s unending, uncompromising love. Simeon wanders the streets, longing for the church to open its doors. Simeon lays homeless on the corner, praying to get a glimpse of kindness. Simeon sits in the prison cell, holding on to the hope that God will walk through the door.
Simeon still wants to see Jesus, still wants to behold God’s glory. And you are the one to offer it to him. You are the one to show Jesus to Simeon once again, to fulfill his hopes, his prayers, his longings to see the salvation of God.
This is the reason that this Sunday is a major feast, because it is a day that not only recalls the story of Simeon beholding God’s glory and finally being able to rest in peace, but it is a day in which we are called to show Jesus to Simeon once more, to share that love and joy with a world that so desperately longs for it.
Simeon still wants to see Jesus. Will you be the one to show Jesus to him?