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Luke 2:25-35 Introduction

THE STAGGERING PARADOX OF THE


HYMNS IN THE LUKAN BIRTH NARRATIVE
With The Nunc Dimittis, and the
others hymns of the Lukan birth
narratives, such as The Magnificat and
The Benedictus, "we are confronted
with the staggering paradox that He
who is the Lord's Anointed (Otristos
Kyriou) is in truth the Lord Himself
(Chnstos Kynos).
His place and
mission in the
history of revelation
and redemption
receive further
clarification when
His coming is
viewed as accom-
plishing the
fulfilment of the
covenant estab-
lished with
Abraham, 1:54f,
721) and as effecting
the redemption and
salvation of Israel,
0:68; 2:38; 1:69,77; 2:11,20;
1:47)."-Stonehouse
THE NATURE OF THE NUNC DlMITTIS
Simeon's hymn of praise is as
beautiful as any of the psalms of the
O. T. because of ~ "restrained ecstasy
and intense clarity'"-Geldenhuys
. Exposition
THE IDENTITY, FAITH AND
CHARACTER OF SIMEON
The Obscurity of Simeon
Simeon is introduced simply as "a
man in Jerusalem," 2:25. His
significance is exhausted in his witness
to and appraisal of Christ.
The Character of Simeon
Simeon was a "righteous and
devout" man, "a man distinguished for
godliness and life and by godly fear in .
a time of lawlessness and divine promise and found its
apostasy."-Stonehouse expectation in God."-Stonehouse.
The Faith of Simeon in the Messiah HIE DMNE REVELATION TO SIMEON
He was a man of true Old Testament
piety and faith, who was one of the
faithful jewish remnant in jesus' day,
who like all O. T. believers, longed for
the coming of the promised Messiah.
Or in the words of Luke, Simeon was
"looking for the consolation of Israel,"
which was nothing other than the
messianic hope of which the prophets
had spoken. Isaiah especially
characterized the Messianic Age as a
time of comfort, consolation and hope
for the people of God, Isaiah 40:1,2;
49:13; 51:3. God had promised His
people through Isaiah that the Messiah
would "comfort all who mourn, to grant
those who mourn in Zion, giving them a
garland insteadof ashes, the oil of gladness
ins tead of mourning, the mantle of praise
instead of a spirit offainting. So they will
be called oaks of righteousness, the
planting of the lnrd, that He may be
glOrified, ' Isaiah 61:2-3. "Laden with
iniquity, afflicted and oppressed, (by
apostasy and judgment), the people of
God is offered the happy prospect of a
new day when the grace and power of
the Lord of Hosts will have
accomplished her salvation. Simeon
as a true child of God enjoyed the
God-centered faith which rested in the
The Nature of the Divine Revelation
Simeon was more than a holy man,
he was a true prophet, for "the Holy
Spirit was upon him," vs. 25, "it had
been revealed to him by the Holy
Spirit that he would not see death
before he had seen the Lord's Christ,"
vs. 26, "he came in the Spirit into the
Temple," vs. 27, and he prophesied,
vss. 29-35. Simeon was one whom
God had called to
be God's mouth-
. . ... . piece, to speak on
God's behalf to
men. He was
given a direct and
special revelation
of the divine
purpose in the
person and work
of Jesus.
The Content of
the Divine
Revelation
The Holy
Spirit of God had
su pematurally revealed to Simeon that
he would not die before he saw with
his own eyes "the Lord's Christ."
Furthermore, after He revealed that
information to him, the Spirit led him
into the Temple the very day Mary and
joseph presented the infant Jesus in
the Temple.
THE LOCATION OF SIMEON:
IN THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM
The Temple Motif in Luke's Gospel
Maryandjoseph brought the infant
Jesus to the Temple, "to carry out for
Him the custom of the Law," where
Simeon "took Him in his arms, and
blessed God." "Each side actsits proper
part. The parents bring Him in
accordance with the Divine Law, and
Simeon welcomes Him in accordance
withtheDivineimp1.\lse."-Plumer. And
4 ~ THE COUNSEL of Chalcedon ~ December, 1993
it all takes place in the Temple in
Jerusalem, the sanctuary/palace of the
covenant Lord in the capital of the
Jewish Theocracy.
This is the third reference to the
Temple in the Binh Narratives, 1 :9;
1:21-22; 2:27. Luke will refer to it
again in 2:37 and 2:46. As we have
seen this "temple motif' plays an
important role in Luke's Gospel. The
N.T. gospel begins in the
Temple in Jerusalem as the
center of O.T. life and
religion. It is the focal point
and center ofO.T. religious
doctnne, practice, worship,
service, and hope. It was
the sign and symbol of
God's presence with His
peoplein Christ. It pointed
to God as the reconciled
God who lives with His
covenant people and Who
rules the world through
them, without being limited to them
or dependent upon them. The Temple
in Luke's Gospel is THE WOMB OF
THE NEW COVENANT, emphasizing
the fact thatthe Old Testament and the
New Testament revelation are one
continuous movement in the plan of
God. Christ is the fulfillment of the
. eternal plan of God and the redemptive
hist01Y of the Old Testament. Luke
uses the "temple motif' to impress us
with the continuity of the drama of
redemption between the O.T. and the
N. T. Luke shows us that God used the
Temple, with its worship, its priests,
and all its symbolism and histolY to
help us understand more fully the
nature, purpose and effects of the
incarnation of Jesus. Jesus and His
Church are now the Temple of the
Living God, Eph. 2.
The Blessing ofjesus
by Simeon in the Temple
"The presence of this baby in
Simeon's arms, seemingly qUite like
countless other instances of tender
regard shown to infants in the history
of the race, was thus viewed as an
absolutely unique historical
phenomenon. The Lord Himself is
present in His Anointed One to
accomplish the redemption of His
people. "-Stonehouse.
THE GOSPEL OF THE NUNC DlMITIIS
The Point of the Nunc Dimittis
Salvation has come in the person
of Jesus Christ, the Consolation of
Israel. Luke is alluding to the
prophecies of Isaiah, when he speaks
of Jesus and his salvation as "the
Consolation or Comfon of Israel."
THE PROPHECIES OF ISAIAH
CONCERNING THE COMFORT OF ISRAEL
Isaiah 40:1-2
"'Comfort,Ocon!JortMypeople:says
yow God. 'Speak to the heartofJerusalem;
and callout to her, that her warfare has
ended, thatheriniquily has been removed,
that she has reCeived of the Lord's hand
double for all her sins ....
Isaiah 49: 13
"shoutforjoy, 0 heavens! And rejOice,
o earth! Break forth into joyful shouting,
o mountains! For the LORD has
comforted His people, and will have
compassion on His afflicted."
Isaiah 51:3
"Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion;
He will comfort all her waste places. And
her wilderness He will make like Eden,
and her desert like the garden of the Lord;
joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and sound of a melody ...
THE MEANING OF THESE
ISAIANIC PROPHECIES
The Meaning of Isaiah 40: 1-2
God calls upon His prophet to
"comfort" His chosen, covenant people,
who are at the time of the writing of the
prophecy ravaged by
apostasy and divine
judgment. The comforting
will take place through the
proclamation of comforting
words from God Himself
through His prophet. The
message of the prophetic
proclamation has three
points: 0). There is coming
a time when Jerusalem's
warfare will be over, and
she will be at rest from her
enemies; (2). There is
coming a time when, not only her
period of misery will be ended, but
when all her sins will be pardoned and
God will look upon her with favor;
and (3). There is coming a time when
God's people will receive "double
blessing," in the place of the severe
punishment God has brought on them
for their apostasy, !sa. 61:7;Job 11:6 .
This threefold message of comfon
corresponds to the threefold
declaration of that comfon unfolded
in the following chapters in Isaiah.
(1). Isaiah 40:2-48:22. In this section
Isaiah proclaims to Jerusalem her
redemption and deliverance from
judgment. (2).lsaiah49:1-57:21. Here
Isaiah proclaims that God will bring
salvation to Israel in place of her sins.
(3). Isaiah 58:1-66:24. In this final
section Isaiah pictures the glO1ious
future that awaits the people of God in
salvation.
The Meaning ofIsaiah 49: 13
"Commensurate with the
magnitude of the salvation is the
December, 1993 THE COUNSEL of Chalcedon 5
command that all nature rejoice. -- By
thus commanding all nature to rejoice
he is foretelling the joyful change that
the day of favor will bring."-Young.
What is the reason for such cosmic
rejoicing? A time is coming when
Jehovah will comfon His people by
restoring them as His people and His
friends, which position they had
forfeited by their apostasy.
The Meaning ofIsaiah 51:3
The comfoning salvation Jehovah
promises to bring to His people in His
Messiah will be like the Original state
of man and woman before the Fall,
when they enjoyed perfect communion
with their Creator. "The present
desolate condition of Zion will one day
be like the Garden of Eden; thence
there will be available for all who are
there joy and gladness, With
thanksgiving and the sound of
song."-Young,Isaiah, Vol. III, pg. 308f.
(Remember how the prophets used
past tense verbs in their prophedes.
"Although the tense of the verbs is
preterite, in order to bring out the idea
of certainty they are to be rendered by
the future. They do not describe an
action already accomplished, but one
yet to occur in the future.""Young.
These future events are certain to take
place because they have been
foreordained in the mindof God.)
THE FULFILLING OF THESE
PROPHECIES IN JESUS CHRIST
Luke, in his narrative of Jesus'
presentation in the Temple, and
Simeon, in his hymn, make clear that
these prophedes ofIsaiah are fulfilled
in the incarnation, person and work of
Jesus Christ. He came to earth as the
Divine-Human Savior to bring
"comfort" to His people by saving them
from their sin and its consequences,
i.e., apostasy and judgment. By
incarnation He took their sins upon
Himselfand endured the divine penalty
those sins deserved as their substitute.
"Consolation" in the phrase, "the
consolation of Israel," in Luke 2:25 is
P ARAKLEIS in Greek, (the verb is
PARAKALEO). It means to give
exhortation and encouragement in
times of sorrow. There is no true
"comfort" apart from God, Psa. 69:20;
77:2; Lam. 1:2, 9, 16; Eccles. 4:1.
True "comfort" is found only in God.
He alone can turn desolation into
consolation, Psa. 23:4; Isa. 54:11f;
40: If; 51:3. The O.T. uses the
metaphors of a shepherd, Isa.40:11,
and of arnot her, !sa. 66:13, todesctibe
God's comforting of His sin-weary
people. His people find comfort at his
breast, lsa. 66:11, and on His knees,
Isa. 66: 12. God channels His comfort
to us through "mediators": His Word,
Psa. 119, and His Christ, lsa. 61:2.
In the N.T. P ARAKLEIS receives its
content from the event of salvation in
Christ. It denotes that "comfort" that
God brings in Christ in present and
future salvation, Lk. 2:25. "Hebrews
6:18 and 12:5 relate this comfort to
exhortation and encouragement.
Romans 15:4 shows that it comes
through Scripture and bases it on the
Divine constancy. This constancy is
that of the Divine love displayed in
Christ, II Thess. 2: 16-1 7. -- Comfort
is given by human agents but is real
comfort only as it comes from God.
God is the God of all comfort, II Cor.
1:3-4, who makes the fellowship of
suffering a fellowship of comfort, 1:5ff.
While comfort derives .from present
salvation, it stands in the light of future
deliverance, and is thusIinked to both
SOTERIA, (salvation), and ELPIS,
(hope), II Thess. 2:16; Rom. 15:4.
Enjoying the divine comfort, the
Corinthians are to forgive and console
the one who wronged Paul, II Cor. 2: 7.
Events as well as words bring comfort,
II Cor. 7:6. But the final comfort, Mt.
5:4, is the eschatological act of God
which reaches into the present so that
those who mourn are already blessed.
Those who look for the consolation of
6 THE COUNSEL tJf ChalcedtJn December, 1993
Israel, Lk. 2:25, are awaiting messianic
salvation, [sa, 40: If. The comfort of
present salvation is set in the light of
the coming consummation when God
will remove all suffering by his glorious
presence,Rev.21:3f. For this reason it
is eternal comfort and good hope, II
Thess. 2: 16.
THE MANUMISSION OF SIMEON,
GOD's SLAVE
Now that Simeon had been allowed
to see the Messiah with his own eyes,
as the Holy Spirit had revealed to him
"that he would not see death before he had
seen the Lord's Christ," he could pray,
"Now Lord, Thoudoes letThy bondservant
depart in peace, according to Thy
Word",,"
This language denotes the release
from slavery of a slave, or the
manumission of a slave, ;vith death as
the liberating, releasing agent of the
Sovereign Master, (Lord is DESPOTA
in Greek, meaning absolute sovereign
master of everything, who has
everything under his control). Having
been informed that by his Sovereign
Master that he would live to see the
MeSSiah, Simeon faithfully executed
his responsibility of "watchman".
"Accordingly, Simeon's words give
powerful expression to the thought
that Simeon, having beheld Christ in
fulfilment of the divine word
concerning his life, has fullyperformed
his service. His watch is concluded
with the artival of the One for whom
he was watching. The watchman may
now retire; the slave may in truth now
be emandpated. There is nothing
more to do, there is nothing more to
live for."-Stonehouse. Now having
seen the Messiah Simeon can die in
peace.
The Meaning of "my eyes
have seen Thy salvation"
"The very presence in the world of
this baby of Bethlehem, well before his
public ministry could be discharged in
terms of deeds and words, was
acknowledged as the manifestation of
the divine action of salvation. Bound
up as it was with the person of Chlist
and his appearance in the world, it
possessed a finality and exclusiveness,
a decisive once-for-all character, that
gave the religion based upon it a
character of its own ... ." -Stonehouse.
As Luke emphasizes time and again:
the incarnation was fully historical and
the salvation it brought to man was
truly histOlical. God really did visit
mankind in jesus. Jesus brought real
salvation from sin to real
conversion of the non-jewish peoples
of the world, who would be included
in thecovenam "assembly," (Gen. 12:3;
17:5; 28:3; 49:10; Psalm 22:270, and
who, regardless of ethnic origin would
be accounted as the seed of Abraham,
Gal. 3:28-29. Now Simeon declares
that this salvation is for "all peoples."
ltisa "light of revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of Thy people Israel."
"The universality of Chlistianity,
while it awaited historical
developments to be grasped in its fuller
to CllIist by faith regardless of ethnic
origin, Gal. 3:28-29. Behind this new
universalism of the gospel, there
remains a particulatism. The "light" of
the gospel shines on the "Gentiles,"
and Christ's salvation is "unto the end
of the ealth: lsa. 49:6; 42:6; and yet
the object of Christ's salvation is to
"help" "Israel," LIe 1:54-55, "to raise
up the tribes ofjacob, and to restore
the preselved of israel," Isa. 49:6; 42:6.
In other words, it is upon God's elect,
(Eph. 1 :30, found aU over the eanh
sinners. Chlistianity does
not tly to divorce revealed
tluths [rom historical fact.
Divine Revelation is both
Event and Interpretation.
Simeon saw a real baby
whose very presence in the
world meant historical and
eternal salvation [or all the
people of God. See Exodus
14: 13; 15:2; II Chronicles
20:17; Psalm 118:14; Isaiah
12:2; Psalm 53:6; Isaiah
"With the incarnation of Jeeu15, the
dawn of the New Covenant, and the
redemptive work of Jeeue the
redefinition and reconetruction
of lerael hae taken place. The New
lerael in Chriet ie comprieed of all
. who belong to Chriet by faith
among all the Jewish and
non-Jewish peoples, that the
Light of the Gospel will
shine. Or as Stonehouse has
said it, "behind the histOlical
universalism of the N.T.
there is a deeper particu-
larism bound up with the
sovereign operations of
God's grace .... "
The Meaning of '''a light of
revelation to the gentiles, and
the glOly of Thy people Israel"
98:3; 49:6.
The Meaning of "which thou has
prepared ill the presence of all peoples'
THE SOVEREIGN PLAN OF GOD
IN THE EFFECfS OF THE INCARNATION
"Which Thou has prepared"
indicates that God took special
thought, care, effort, and sovereign
planning to bling into existence the
gospel and its results on mankind.
THE COSMIC EFFEO"S OF THE
INCARNATION OF CHRIST
The salvation Jesus brought to the
human race is not only historical, it is
also universal. God had prepared,"
planned and predestined that this
salvation in Chlistwould not be bound
to one ethnic group or nation. Rather,
Chlist came to purchase for Goel with
His blood "a people from every tribe
and tongue and people and nation,"
Rev. 5:9. Throughout its pages the
Old Testament prophesies of the
regard Ieee of ethnic origin."
God prepared "salvation"
implications and realized in practice, to come to jews and Gentiles as
is thus rooted in the revelation "LlGHT"and"GLORY." The revelation
contemporaneous with the birth of of God in theincamation of Christ was
Christ. But this revelation in tum is fitting revelation for the Gentiles,
but a reiteration of an alTesting feature revealing their lost condition and
of the earlier prophetic testimony, in showing them God's grace in Christ
fact the very words employed here for deliverance from sin and death,
echo the language of Isaiah, lsaiah lsa. 9:2; 42:6;49:6; 60: 1-3. Thesaving
52:10; 40:5; 49:6; 42:6. It is not act of God revealed in Christ's
inSignificant that Luke, who was to incarnation was "glory" for genetic
show how the universalism of Israel. It is this people that gave birth
Christianity came to be realized in the to the Messiah. To the end of time
early history of Christianity, 'salvation is of the jews,' john 4:22.
underscores here at the beginning the No nation on earth has such a
universality of the gospel as a note of gloly."-Lenski
the revelation contemporaneous with
Christ's birth. "-Stonehouse
With the incarnation ofjesus, the
dawn of the New Covenant, and the
redemptive work of jesus the
redefinition and reconstruction of
Israel has taken place. The New israel
in Chlist is complised of all who belong
TIle salvation God has brought the
world through jesus Chlist is LIGHT
and GLORY,]ohn 1:7; 12:35,46. Itis
the removal of the gross darkness that
has covered the Gentiles, lsa. 25:7;
60:2, unveiling" the truth to them,
and "instructing" them in the ways of
God, ("revelation" is APOKALUPSIN
December, 1993 'I THE COUNSEL of Chalcedon 'I 7
in Greek). "Israel will see glory in its
truest and fullest sense when it sees the
Son of God. His being a light to
Gentiles means no diminution of
Israel's glory but rather its full
realization." -Morris. "LIGHr is the
true knowledge of God and of self,
"holiness, love, joy as never before
expenenced."-Hendriksen. "Whenwe
associate 'glory' with Israel we are
reminded especially of this
unprecedented honor bestowed upon
it, namely, that God chose it for the
purpose of spreading the true religion
among the nations of the world, !sa.
49 :6; 60:1-3; Zech.
passion narratives disclose with special
clearness, anticipated His rejection on
the pan of Israel and also taught that
He had come to bring division, Mat.
10:34f. But this feature, as introduced
by Simeon in the binh narratives of
Luke, is not a novelty. For like the
theme of the universality of the gospel
it also appears in the prophets. Just as
behind the historical universalism of
the New Testament there is a deeper
particularism bound up with the
sovereign operations of God's grace
and with the rejection of the gospel on
the part of sinful men, so there was
happens. The coming ofJesus Christ,
either in incarnation orin the preaching
of the gospel, necessarily puts people
in a crisis situation. His coming always
involves judgment. 'Some welcome
the light; others 'love the darkness
rather than the light, because their
deeds are evil, In. 3:19, and are by
their own conduct condemned. Judas
despairs, Peter repents; one robber
blasphemes, the other confesses, II
Cor. 2: 16. lienee the 'ptosis', (fall), of
man is an inevitable RESULT of the
manifestation of the Christ. Yet the
(ultimate) PURPOSE is not 'ptosis:
(fall), but 'anastasis',
8:20-23. Even more
specifically, that he
selected, it to bring forth
the Christ according to
his human nature, Rom.
9:5. And Christ is 'the
light of the world,' J olin
8:12. THAT, more than
anything else, was Israel's
glory." -Hendriksen
"The Magnificat taught us that
Jesus Christ has brought a great,
global reversal of life and society.
Now The Nunc Dimittis teaches
(rising), and 'soteria:
(salvation),Rom.ll:ll,12.
Elsewhere in the N.T.
'anastasis' means 'the
resu rrection of the
dead," -Plumer
THE ADDITIONAL
EXPLANATION
OF JESUS' FUTlJRE
TO MARY
After such a joyous
song of historical and
us how that happens. The coming
of Jesus Christ, either in incarna-
tion or in the preaching of the
gospel, necessarily puts people in
a crisis situation. His coming
always involves judgment."
'Jesus, Simeon declares,
will be like a stone over
which some will trip and
fall and perish, but by
which others will be
enabled to arise and be
saved. In order to fall, it
must be assumed that a
person is first standing. So
these words mean that
those who imagine
universal salvation; Simeon addresses
Mary and explains more about the
mission of her Son in more somber
chords. "Behold, this Child is appointed
Jar the Jail and rise oj many inIsrael, and
Jar a sign to be opposed-"-and a sword
will pierce even your own soul---to the
end that the thoughts oj many hearts may
be revealed," vs. 34-35.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN
SALVATION
"There comes to expression at this
point a thought wrnch was to be
expounded profoundly by the apostle
Paul inRomans9-11, where he declares
that according to the divine purpose
'they are not all Istael who are of
Israel,' Rom. 9:6. Jesus Himself, as the
already behind the rather pervasive
historical particularism of the Old
Testament a more basic particularism
which constantly stands in judgment
upon the presumption of any race or
any individual to appear in the presence
of Him who alone is holy, apan from
the divine redemption and apan from
genuine conversion. . .. the
universality of the promised salvation
is bound up with its divisive
particularism .... " -Stonehouse
The Meaning of
"the fall and rise of many in Israel"
The Magnificat taught us thatJesus
Christ has brought a great, global
reversal of life and Society. Now The
Nunc Dimittis teaches us how that
8 ", . THE COUNSEL of Chalcedon December, 1993
themselves to be strong and high, who
rely on their own merit and powet,
will come to woeful ruin and undoing,
because in their pride they do not
realize their own need and doom and
do not take refuge in Christ. But the
humble ones, those who bend low at
His feet with confession of sin and
faith in Him, will be raised up by His
mighty arm to eternal life. No one will
be able to take up a neutral attitude
towards Him." -Geldenhuys
The Meaning of
'lor a sign to be opposed"
A "sign" is "a manifest token, a
phenomenon impossible to ignore, by
means of which something else is
known." -Plumer. Jesuswill be "a clear
sign by which God makes known to
man that everyone in himself is
doomed and guilty and that there is
salvation forthe penitent only in Christ.
But many will refuse to accept the sign
and to seek salvation through Him;
they will contradict the sign and resist
Him. This will bring about their
everlasting fall. This resistance to the
Redeemer reached its climax in the
Crucifixion and we know what
judgments of Godafterwards overtook
the jewish people. Their
resistance brought them to
a faU and they forfeited their
special place as the chosen
people of God."
-Geldenhuys. Perhaps
Simeon had Psalm 118:22
inmind;and perhaps, Peter
had Simeon's statement in
mind when he wrote, I
Peter 2:6-8.
The Meaning of
"a sword will pierce
your own soul"
Simeon blesses Mary
and directly addresses her, and for the
first time the coming struggle and
suffering of Christ are mentioned. It is
obvious that Simeon here has the cross
in view. "The historical realization of
the divine salvation was perceived as
being so imminent that the rejection of
the Child as the sign appointed by God
would s p ~ l l the sharpest smart
(anguish) for His mother. Here the
cross is indeed virtually in view, and
Mary is standing before it, sorrowing
at what would befall her
son." -Stonehouse. Mary will be
overtaken with the deepest sorrow
because of what will befall her Son.
"Portents, (signs of the future), of this,
(intense resistance to jesus), dUling
His childhood years no doubt ahead y
began to make good the propheCies.
When during His public appearance
He was treated by thejewish authorities
with growing hate, envy and
persecution, she experienced
ever-increasing grief. But it was
especial! y when He was nailed to the
cross that the 'sword pierced through
her soul.' She is, therefore, rightly
called Mater Dolorosa, (Mother of
Sorrows), and represented as such in
Christian art."-Geldenhuys
The Meaning of "to the end that
thoughts from many hearts
may be revealed"
The revelation ofjesus Chlist would
also mean the revelation of the true
condition of human hearts as people
either embraced Him in faith as their
Lord and Savior, as Simeon had done,
or rejected Him and repudiated the
claims of the divine revelation
conceming Him.
THE RESPONSE OF MARY AND JOSEPH
TO THE NUNC DlMITTIS
Luke tells us that after Simeon had
finished his hymn, jesus' "father and
mother were amazed at the things
which were being said about Him,"
2:33. Although Mary and joseph
believed and to some measure
understood the angelic message
regarding the incarnation and virgin
bitth, Lk. 1:26-38; Mat. 1:20, and
although they had seen the miraculous
birth ofjesus, and had been told the
words of the shepherds, and heard the
hymn of Simeon, they still did not
grasp the full significance of all these
stupendous things. The whole incident
was surely overwhelming. Therefore,
the Nunc Dimittis caused them deep
amazement. "Simeon's words
especially, regarding the universal
purport and significance of the
redemption wrought by God through
Jesus, bring to joseph and Mary a
clearer perception of the divine majesty
of the Child." -Geldenhuys
Conclusion
This concludes our
study of the revelatory
hymns in the early chapters
of Luke which herald and
explain the meaning of the
birth of Jesus. They all
present us with this great
truth: Jesus Christ, being
fully God and fully man in
one person, has brought
personal, global and
comprehensive salvation
from sin and its
consequences to earth by
accomplishing the redemption of His
people through His vicarious suffering
in their behalf.
"J esus is the Inescapable
One---sooner or later everyone MUST
take up a position with regard to Him
and must choose for or against Him. A
man's attitude towards Him reveals
and defines the real quality of his
character. It is not an outward 'doing
good' or a 'good life' that counts before
God and reveals the deepest inclination
and character of a man; what really
matters is his attitude toward Christ.
On this, and on this alone, the eternal
weal and woe of everyone depends.
He who in his pride of self-satisfaction
despises Chlist thereby dooms himself
to everlasting ruin. But he who
humbles himself under His might aim
is raised up by Him to everlasting
salvation." -Geldenhuys n
December, 1993 ~ THE COUNSEL of Chalcedon ~ 9