Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Simeon and the Holy Spirit

By Dennis Pollock


Of all the writers of the Bible, Luke seemed to emphasize the Holy Spirit the most. His book which we call the Book of Acts, has more references to the Holy Spirit than all the rest of the books of the Bible combined. And the book below that, with the second most Holy Spirit references is also written by Luke, which is known as the Gospel of Luke. In this study we will look at a short account Luke gives us concerning the old man Simeon, who was promised a glimpse of the Messiah before he died.


Luke tells us: "And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him." The Consolation of Israel, was, of course, the Messiah, and Simeon fully believed the prophecies that God would send a Messiah to Israel. He had no doubt prayed for this Messiah often, and on this particular day, we find that "the Holy Spirit was upon him." This idea of the Holy Spirit coming upon a person may seem strange if you do not know the Bible, but Bible readers will instantly recognize that this is a common phrase. After our Lord's resurrection, He told His disciples, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8). When would the disciples receive power? After the Holy Spirit had come upon them!


In the Old Testament Book of Judges, we read about Samson, who was minding his own business walking near some vineyards. Suddenly a lion appeared and attacked him. The Bible tells us, "And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand." (Judges 14:6). What was it that enabled Samson to destroy that fierce lion without any kind of weapon in his hands? It was the result of the Spirit of the Lord coming upon Samson mightily. It is amazing what men and women can accomplish when the Holy Spirit comes upon them.


And those are just two examples. There are many more examples in the Bible of God's Spirit coming upon men and women and lifting them beyond their ordinary abilities, enabling them to accomplish extraordinary feats or speak extraordinarily. To have the Holy Spirit come upon you is to be empowered and divinely energized by the Spirit of God, to be infused with God's power to such a degree that you know that God is involved. And on this day the Spirit of God was upon Simeon. He had a sudden sensation that God was up to something and he became spiritually alert. What we might call "the anointing" was manifested, and Simeon did not merely believe that the Holy Spirit was real by faith; he literally felt the Holy Spirit and knew something big, something divine was about to happen.


Revelation by the Holy Spirit


Next Luke writes: "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." (Luke 2:26). How did Simeon know that he would live to see Israel's Messiah? Because "It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit had given him this amazing piece of knowledge, saying basically, "Simeon you will live to see the Messiah." We find that the Holy Spirit is a communicator. He can tell us things. Of course, this should not surprise us, since Jesus says in John 16: "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come."


It is terribly sad that many Christians today have been convinced by pastors and so-called theologians that God has stopped speaking to His children. He has now given us the Bible, so don't expect God to ever say anything to you directly. Just be a good little boy or girl, read your Bible regularly, and you will learn all you need to know. This is nonsense. There are so many things in life that the Bible does not address. Nowhere in the Bible are we told who we are to marry, what is to be our career, which church we should attend, and so forth. If we are just on our own in making these decisions, without any divine urges or whispers from God, we are in trouble. There is no Bible evidence, weak or strong, that tells us that God ever stopped communicating with His people after the Bible was written or after the last apostle died. He has been speaking to me all my life, and I don't think I am an exception to this. Sometimes He speaks through dreams, sometimes through divine impulses, and sometimes in the process of thought and the assessment of situations. No, the Holy Spirit is not a chatterbox, but at critical times He can and will speak to those who have ears to hear Him. The greatest "revealing" the Holy Spirit does to us is to show us that Jesus truly is the Christ, the Son of the living God when we are still sinners. How can we believe in Jesus for salvation unless the Spirit of God reveals Him to us? Is this not God speaking to us?


Directed by the Spirit


Next, we read: "So he (Simeon) came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: 'Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word…' " (Luke 2:27-29). Here is a third instance of the Holy Spirit moving upon elderly Simeon. First, the Holy Spirit came upon Him, next we are told that the Holy Spirit had revealed he would not die until he saw God's anointed One, and now we read that Simeon "came by the Spirit into the temple." Perhaps he was not planning to come to the temple that day; maybe it was not on his "to-do" list. But the Spirit of God moved on the old man to walk to the temple and spend some time there. A faithful servant of God that he was, Simeon obeyed and thus found himself in the temple at the precise time Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus showed up.


By now the Holy Spirit was all over Simeon, and he instantly knew this tiny baby was the One for whom he had waited and prayed, and He was the One who would rule over Israel. Simeon must have asked Mary, "Can I hold your baby?" to which the young mother agreed. And as he held little Yeshua in His arms, he prayed, "Lord, I can die now in peace. You kept your word to me. I have seen Israel's Messiah."


In this short, little story of Simeon, which lasts just a few verses, we find the Holy Spirit everywhere, confirming to Simeon, to Mary and Joseph, and to us today that this Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, and the Savior of the world. It's a great story, but it should also be a challenge to us. The Holy Spirit's work in the life of Simeon can and should be our experience as well. No, of course, we will not see Baby Jesus in a temple in Israel, but like Simeon, in our small way, we can hear from God, we can be divinely led throughout our lives, and we can have the Spirit of the Lord come upon us. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was only for special people like kings, warriors, and prophets. But today Jesus’ promises He will pour out His Spirit upon "all flesh," meaning that ordinary men, women, and even children can experience the Holy Spirit. He is God's special gift to those who receive God's Son Jesus, and He wants to work powerfully and constantly in your life.


How about you? Has the Spirit of God come upon you? The Bible tells us that when David was anointed with oil by the prophet Samuel, "the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward." From then on, and for the rest of his life, David experienced fillings with the Holy Spirit, direction from the Holy Spirit, and was given divine truths by the Holy Spirit. You, too, can experience the Holy Spirit. Come to Jesus and call upon Him for continual fillings with the Holy Spirit. To have an active relationship with the Holy Spirit is the inheritance for all who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." (Romans 8:14).




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