Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | December 8, 2008

Nunc Dimittis

   Simeon is a model of devotion and faithfulness to God (Luke 2:21-35). He is one of two individuals who recognized the baby Jesus as the promised Messiah (read Anna’s Christmas Thanks 06 Dec 08). We don’t know anything about his occupation and can only speculate about his age. However, we do know that he was righteous (spiritually in tune with God) and devout (he took his relationship with God seriously). Simeon had waited expectantly for “the consolation of Israel” because the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would live to see the Lord’s Christ.

   We don’t know for certain how long Simeon had waited for the fulfillment of God’s promise to him (Luke 2:26). However, on the day that Mary and Joseph arrived at the temple, the Holy Spirit prompted Simeon to approach the young couple. Simeon did so and looked into the face of their infant son and recognized Him as the “consolation of Israel … the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:25-26). Simeon then took Jesus in his arms and praised God.

   Simeon’s words (Luke 2:29-32) have been called the “Song of Simeon” or the “Nunc Dimittis,” the first words of its Latin translation. His words are indeed a beautiful expression of praise and thanksgiving to God. Simeon addressed God as Sovereign Lord, an appropriate way for a servant to address his God. He praised God and, because he had lived to see God’s promise fulfilled, asked God to dismiss him (perhaps let him die) in peace.

   Simeon recognized that the baby in his arms was God’s salvation — the means of deliverance for his people. The name Jesus means “the Lord is salvation.” Salvation describes Jesus’ mission. Jesus said that He “came to seek and save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). What do you see in Jesus? Do you see what Simeon saw? Don’t allow the activity and stress of the Christmas season to blind you to who Jesus is and the significance of why Jesus came. Take some time to reflect on the wonder of God’s indescribable gift (2 Cor. 9:15).

   Simeon struck a missionary chord in his song of praise. He acknowledged that God’s salvation is for all people, not just the Jews. From the beginning, God’s plan was to offer salvation to Jews and Gentiles alike. Many of Simeon’s contemporaries were acquainted with Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. Unfortunately, they were not as in tune with prophecies that said God would bring salvation to the entire world. Jesus came to save all who believe, Gentiles as well as Jews.
   Mary and Joseph marveled at what Simeon said about their infant Son. His words undoubtedly reinforced the fact that Jesus was destined for unusual things and that His influence would reach far beyond Israel to all the peoples of the world (Luke 2:32). The baby in their arms would make an unmatched impact on the world, one that continues to transcend the boundaries of geography, culture, and time.

   This Christmas, let’s follow Simeon’s example. Let’s thank God for sending His Son and let’s make ourselves available to tell others why He came. Let’s sing Simeon’s song and keep Christ in Christmas!


  1. Omar,

    I have read the “Nunc Dimittis.” Most of the verses I have read from the Bible.

    Thanks for the posted.


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