The Song of Simeon or the Nunc Dimittis (Latin: “now depart”) is found in Luke 2: 25-35:
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 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.”
You can almost sense the heart at peace in this passage, can’t you. Simeon, probably a rabbi, faithfully did what he had to do for many years in the temple, and while many others had lost heart as they impatiently waited for Messiah, Simeon remained spiritually alive while he waited. There is a very good reason for his spiritual life: Simeon had learned the secret of, as the saying goes, “letting go and letting God.”
It says in our scripture that he was righteous, he was entirely conformed to the will of God; in God’s sight, he did what he should, he did what God wanted him to do. He was also devout, (taking hold, holding on, going cautiously.) It should come as no surprise that Simeon’s spiritual vitality had everything to do with God. Did you ever notice that? There is a certain steadiness, peace, faithfulness in people who hold onto God … but it isn’t really their ability to hold on to God, as much as it is God holding onto them. What’s really the focus of a righteous, devout person?
It says in the second part of Luke 2:25 that Simeon was “waiting for the consolation of Israel”. This verse is so huge! The word “waiting” is defined as: to receive to one’s self, to admit, to give access to one’s self, to receive one into intercourse and companionship, to receive one (coming from some place), to accept (not to reject) a thing offered, to expect the fulfillment of promises. To put the word “waiting” in here is pretty lame, isn’t it? Simeon hasn’t just been hanging around the temple aimlessly, wondering if something good might happen. He’s been focused; he is positive that God is going to do what he has promised, because he has received it for himself. This verse could be translated “He was RECEIVING the consolation of Israel”!
The word for “consolation” is paraklesis (This is the same word that the Rabbis called the Messiah the consoler, the comforter. It is the same word that Jesus later used to refer to the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Paraklete.) You have to understand that Simeon had let go of self, it wasn’t about him, it was about what God had promised and what God would do and the result is stated in the last part of the verse, “and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” GOD WAS UPON HIM! He was all about GOD.
How are you like Simeon? Is it time for you to let go and let God?