For my prayer tonight I will recite Psalm 9:14.
That I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in your salvation. Amen.
We all deal with stress.If someone you know is stressed out just do what I do and tell them, “They need to relax.” You’d be surprised how many people looked me in the eye and very loudly told me, “Wow! I never thought of that!”
Good thing I was there for them.
I have a problem with eating my stress. Obviously, I still have stress in my life.
A few years back, my wife and I were going through a stressful time. I was at least 50 pounds heavier and I had bell’s palsy so on the right side of my face all my muscles stopped working. That side of my face drooped. It also caused me to drool.
Something I mastered with my many naptime sessions during my classes in high school.
I couldn’t blink my right eye so I needed an eyepatch.
I really need you to visualize all of this. This will be a very visual sermon.
Do you have the vision of a drooling, droopy and anxious pirate-looking guy?
I had recently broken my leg and badly damaged my right knee, so I was also in a leg brace.
At the time we were in a bit of a bad financial situation, so I was also signing up for paid medical studies. The one at that particular time was a sleep study.
Back in high school that would have been the class of my dreams! My drooling would’ve been more appropriate in a sleep study class.
Before bed I needed to put on a vest and a cap which were wired together, had a battery pack and included electrodes that I needed to put on my chest and around my face.
Still with me on the visuals. Now we have this weird drooling pirate ready for his lie detector test. Only way that could have been more ridiculous would’ve been a big pirate hat to go with the eye patch.
Also, when I went to bed I had to use a machine that would take my leg and continually bend and unbend my leg throughout the night. A very big clunky device which thankfully wasn’t as noisy as it looked.
So really visualize all of that and picture me going to bed. I couldn’t see this from the outside. I asked my wife to take a picture but at the time she couldn’t see the humor in it BUT I sure did.
I would just lay there in bed and think…
“What a vision I am.”
I picked that opening Psalm because it has a lot to do with what Simeon says in our Gospel. King David wrote that Psalm because he wants to cry out his praises to God in the most public way to the citizens of Jerusalem. Express his complete joy at being delivered from sin and its consequences.
I also want you to keep that visual mindset going as I share my thoughts on the tonight’s Gospel. Verse by verse. “And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses,”
Purification was a 40 days period. This is to take place about 6 weeks after Mary gave birth. “They brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lordand to offer a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
There was no visit from the wisemen, so this is the offering of a poor family. They weren’t presented with the gift of gold yet. So, two birds would be an acceptable substitution for a lamb.
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout,…”
There are only about ten people in the bible described as righteous and Simeon is one of them. Wouldn’t be great if this is how someone described you? Righteous and devout. What a beautiful testimony.
Simeon was “waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.”
The Holy Spirit was upon him. We think of the Christmas story but we often overlook the bit players like Simeon but today let’s consider how important he must be. Here’s a righteous man filled with the Holy Spirit. Plus, I’m imagining a long white beard so he should definitely not be overlooked in a Christmas story.”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. And he came in the Spirit into the temple,…”
The Holy Spirit is referenced three times with this man. And he would not see death until God’s salvation was revealed to him. Our Gospel doesn’t give an age for him but various sources outside of scripture give him an age range from 120 to almost 400 years of age.”and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, 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; for my eyes have seen your salvation’
Translation is tricky from the New Testament. It is written in Koine Greek but what the Jews spoke was Aramaic not Greek. Aramaic is a slang form of ancient Hebrew. So, I believe Simeon was speaking Aramaic. Here is where Simeon also declares His name.
“For my eyes have seen God’s salvation.”
This is what it sounds like in Hebrew. Pronounce: Vena latia Yahweh-shua gudesh Did you hear the name in there? The name is Yahweh-shua in Hebrew, but it is Jesus to us. Simeon is doing exactly what David spoke of in the Psalm. The name Jesus being proclaimed for all to hear in the temple. Simeon not only saw his salvation but held it in his arms. Was Simeon righteous because of the things he did? No. He was righteous because he knew he needed God and that he needed a savior! Simeon has looked into the eyes of 6-week-old baby Jesus. Simeon has seen the physical face of God and lived. Simeon is now declaring the name Jesus to all who would hear, and he could finally die. Simeon could now rest in peace and he understood that death had lost its sting.
Speaking of, around that same time as all my stress from before I was also stung by a yellowjacket and had a bad reaction to it. But on a more relevant note, one time at my neighbor Janice’s house a bumble bee got into her dining room and was terrorizing the children. I caught it in my hand and went to toss it out through the sliding doors without killing it when it stung me. I tossed it outside anyway and the children then expressed concern about the people out on the deck. I told them the stinger was still in my hand. The bee can’t hurt anybody else because this type of bee only had one stinger. Luckily, I didn’t have a reaction that time.Simeon is seeing the face of God. Let’s compare this to others who have beheld the glory of God. Moses was allowed to see the glory of God. Moses was even carried by God and placed in a cleft in the rocks on the side of the mountain. Moses asks to behold God’s glory. God basically tells Moses, “OK, but not my face.” God’s face contains the full glory of His goodness and love. I guess the eyes are the windows to the soul and no one can handle looking deep into the eyes of God and seeing the eternal depth and love of God’s soul. That would be too shocking a change for a human mind to comprehend. Imagine all of your brain neurons firing with no way to stop as they continually try to process eternity. This would basically be the most sever epileptic seizure of all time.
God defies the laws of nature and the laws of physics but when He takes on a physical form or the form of a man (in this case, a gigantic one) then some of those laws that He created do impact Him bodily. The physical presence He manifested was filled with His glory.
Why would someone die from seeing Gods face? Let’s just consider His eyes in a physical host.
In order for light waves to pass around a circular object the waves and particles work together to bend themselves to move around the orb and appear to go through it without actually passing through resulting in the brightest point being in the middle of the darkest shadow. It’s called the Arago spot. Basically, each of God’s eyes become like an eclipse. At the circumference of the orbs the light waves grab point sources and then bend due to what is called the Fresnal diffraction. This brightest point in the center would then be intense points of light being emitted almost like laser beams. So as living humans we can’t make eye contact with God unless we want to be blinded like Paul was.
Moses was allowed to be held by and then to see God’s hand as He passed by, blocking His full glory and then Moses saw His back as He passed by. Jesus had the hands and the back of a first century carpenter and stone mason. The callouses, dirt and sweat covered their glory. Jesus’s hands were pierced, and His back was torn from the Roman whips. BUT immediately following the resurrection, where Jesus’ full glory pulsed briefly from inside His linen wrappings, Christ would’ve had an afterglow as He left the tomb. This is what Moses was allowed to see. The aftereffects of God passing by. Like the sky still illuminated after an amazing sunset. Afterwards, Moses needed to wear a veil before others due to the radiance of seeing God that still shone from his face.
Elijah also saw God and was on a mountain standing in cave when he met God. God puts on a display mocking the thunder God of fertility Ba’al. He causes a great wind, followed by an earthquake and then thunder and fire. But Elijah watches all of this and knows it isn’t God. Then there is silence. And Elijah hears the sound of silence. Not the song that I spoke about in my last sermon but God’s whisper. And Elijah immediately covers his face to go before the presence of God. Again, the glory of His face is too much for these great prophets.
In the book of Revelation, the apostle John describes the glorious face of Jesus, but I believe he was allowed to see it as a mental image. I believe John was put into a spiritual state for this vision so it’s not the full physical glory of Jesus. In my dreams, I have looked directly at the sun, but my physical eyes suffer no damage. Due to John’s vision, he is able to describe the face. Eyes like fire (the laser eclipse I mentioned before), white hair that has absorbed the fullness of His light into the pigment molecules. Skin illuminated from the inside to appear like brass.
This is actually something you can see today. Biohackers for the last twenty years have been implanting LED lights under their skin. They activate when magnetized. These will probably be the tattoos of the future. Keep visualizing!
Here we have one more great prophet, Simeon. One of the last great prophets representing the prophets of the Old Testament. Jesus is the rock of refuge for believers like the cleft where God placed Moses and the cave for Elijah. Now the face of God can be seen. Perfect glory hidden behind the eyes of a baby boy. Simeon the prophet recognizes God as Peter, James and John did at His transfiguration where they saw Him together in His perfect glory with Moses and Elijah. What always makes me happy about that (besides the revelation of the glory of Christ) is that the disciples see Moses in the heart of the Holy Land that he wasn’t allowed to enter into in life. A revelation of God’s eternal and perfect forgiveness. The transfiguration is also a mental image according to the words of Jesus. He said, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” A vision meant for Peter, James and John. And, of course, us since He is risen. He is risen indeed, Hallelujah, Jesus is the face of our creator, our salvation and our forgiveness. The true and perfect face of eternal love. The truth is God’s Face won’t fry our brain. His eyes won’t laser through our faces. Sin removes us from the truth of His love. All truth and meaning in life, the entirety of creation exists in the face of God. For us to see that revelation would destroy the entirety of our being. We would self-destruct upon seeing and knowing that we’ve separated ourselves from Him. Righteous Simeon does not witness the consolation of Israel but the consolation of ALL creation. Our consolation. Our own personal consolation. Jesus makes all things new and we can now behold the face of our true Father. All is restored.What a vision, the great I AM!