Most of us have had the experience of anticipating something: a holiday, graduation, a wedding, the birth of a child, a vacation. Doesn’t the anticipation of an event make it more special when we finally see it happen?
One of my favorite people in the Gospels is Simeon. Luke introduces us to him in chapter two of his Gospel: “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 would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”
Simeon is prompted by the Holy Spirit to go to the Temple just when Mary and Joseph bring Jesus there. This faithful man holds the Savior and blesses God for letting him see God’s salvation. I can only imagine the incredible moment when Simeon held the object of his faith and longing!
Simeon was looking for God’s promise to be fulfilled because he believed the prophecies about the Messiah. His coming was foretold in the Old Testament in many places, but Daniel’s prophecy gives the reader the exact time frame that Messiah would enter Jerusalem.* Did Simeon know it? I believe so, because he was “looking for the consolation of Israel.”
Jesus rebuked the people of Israel for not studying Scripture themselves and comparing what the prophets foretold to the things they had seen in Him.
“When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out. And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it turns out that way. You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?” Luke 12: 54-56
Every believer in Jesus Christ is encouraged to anticipate His return in Scripture. In fact, we’re promised a special crown for doing so! Check out 2 Timothy 4:8:
“In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing.”
Do we know the day He will call the church to Heaven? No, but we can recognize the season! Do you want to know what they are? Jesus discusses them in the Olivet Discourse (Mark 13; Matthew 24; Luke 21).
I want to be like Simeon! I look at every promise in Scripture, even the incredible promise in 1 Thessalonians 4, and know that our God is able and faithful to keep every promise He has made to us. One day, I know, our faith will be our sight!
* This is found in Daniel 9:24-27. Probably one of the easiest explanations I’ve seen of this is found online www.carm.org/does-daniel-9-24-27-predict-Jesus