33 “And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:33-35)
Simeon’s response upon seeing the baby Jesus was praise and prophecy. Joseph and Mary’s response upon hearing what Simeon had to say was astonishment and wonder.
Simeon then blessed the young family in general and spoke to Mary in particular. He said, ““Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Simeon said four significant things.
First, he said that Jesus Christ was appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel. This means that there would be those who would reject Jesus and the gospel while others would receive both in their conversion. Scripture clearly teaches that for the unbeliever Jesus Christ is a stone of stumbling (1 Pet. 2:8). However, for those who are converted in Christ, God raises them unto new life (Eph. 2:6). Cf. Isa. 8:14–15; Hos. 14:9; 1 Cor. 1:23–24.
Second, Jesus Christ is a sign that is opposed. Simeon mentioned only the verbal insults hurled at Christ, but the figure of speech involves more than that. It involves Israel’s rejection, hatred, and crucifixion of the Messiah.
Thirdly, Simeon said that a sword would also pierce May’s soul. Undoubtedly, this is a reference to the pain and sorrow Mary would experience when she witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus.
Finally, Simeon said that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. People’s true nature is revealed when the subject is the person and work of Jesus Christ. The rejection of the Messiah would not only reveal the appalling truth about the apostate state of the Jews but also the ungodliness of the Gentiles (Romans 1:18-32).
Simeon’s prophetic song and subsequent revelation to Mary clearly sets forth Jesus’ mission as culminating in the cross and later, the resurrection. The birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the pivotal point of history. Do you recognize this as such?
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!