It Will Be Okay, I Am Ready To Die

Text: Luke 2:33-40

In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

While he looked into those sleepy eyes and let the tiny hand wrap itself around one of his fingers, did Simeon feel like dancing?  Did Simeon giggle?  Did Simeon’s smile go from one ear to the next ear?  Did Simeon lift up his eyes to heaven when he prayed, or did he just look into the eyes of the promised Christ as he held him?  When he kissed the child, did Simeon’s grey beard and rough lips cause the baby Jesus discomfort?  Did Simeon take a deep breath, taking in the precious smell of a newborn babe? Or, did Simeon fall to his knees as he held the babe?  Did he hug him close?

And what was in Mary’s mind and heart when she noticed the old-man-Simeon making his way toward her with his arms stretched out?  Did she recognize in his eyes the same wonder that had filled the eyes of the Shepherds forty days before?  Did she realize that Simeon was another one of God’s saints who had been let in on the secret that the Messiah had been born?

And Joseph, faithful Joseph, standing by and watching.  What went on in his mind as he watched Simeon start spreading the word about the Child? 

Truth be told, many watched for the coming of the Messiah.  However, many had their own ideas about what God’s glory and splendor would be like when it actually took place.  You see, many expected something greater than a mere babe born in a cave, but not Simeon.  Simeon knew who had come to the temple that day, and he worshipped in awe and reverence.  Simeon was not put off by the lowliness of Jesus’ appearing but instead said these very words, 

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.:

In other words, Simeon stared at the Christ child and stated that he was ready to die.  Yes, you heard that correctly; he was ready to die because he knew that the Lord had truly kept all of His promises.  Simeon knew that he had been given the most precious gift of all, the Messiah, Christ Jesus.  And so, Simeon was set free with peace.  He was gloriously free for the rest of his earthly days.  Forever free with peace because he had held Jesus in his arms.  

Peace, my friends, it does not come from the sound of gentle water flowing over rocks. Peace does not come from quiet meditation.  Peace does not come from soothing music. Indeed, peace does not come from any of this.  But rather, peace comes from receiving Christ Jesus.  

But how does Christ give such peace, peace that the world cannot give?  Did Simeon receive peace from Christ because He was a cuddly little baby?  Did the baby Jesus in Simeon’s arms function as a comfort animal, giving him solace and peace?  Did the sight of a baby remind Simeon of younger years, during a time where there was less stress, pain, and hardship?  No, it was none of these things.  Instead, Christ was peace to Simeon because Christ is God’s salvation.  

It is very obvious if you look around in our culture that there is not much peace.  Instead, it seems as if our culture is driven, more often than not, by fear.  Oh, and don’t be fooled by those who say, “I am not afraid.”  Those who try and convince you that they are not afraid are typically the ones who are most afraid in this life, or worst yet, selling fear to line their pocketbooks.  But truth be told, we shouldn’t really blame everyone else around us too much.  The reason why?  The world lives in darkness.  It does not live by faith but lives in fear.  And where there is fear, there is no peace. 

And we Christians, well… we are no better off.  You see, we often say that we have peace, but in reality, what little peace that we do conjure up from our religious endeavors is typically attacked by the devil, ridiculed by the world, and dismissed by our old Adam.  And this is the reason why we must learn to sing the Song of Simeon not only on Sundays but throughout the whole week.  

But what is this Song of Simeon that I speak of?  Don’t worry; you already know.  And you know it very well.  You see, you and I sing the Song of Simeon after receiving the Lord’s Supper each week.  We call it the Nunc Dimittis.  When we sing the Nunc Dimittis after receiving the Lord’s body and blood in our hands, we are essentially singing with Simeon: 

“It’s okay, Lord.  We have peace.  We can die now, and it would be all okay.  We’re ready to go home.  We’ve received salvation.  We have touched - handled the flesh of Christ.  We’ve touched and eaten Love Incarnate.  We can go home now.  Glory to God in the highest!”

Baptized Saints, like Simeon, you hold Jesus in your hands during the Lord’s Supper.  And as you eat and drink, your fears about death, your agitated minds, and your troubled hearts are met with God’s salvation.  And this salvation is not just a theoretical idea or a pious sentiment but real salvation.   

There is no doubt about it that death is quite terrible.  And the devil is indeed full of poison and lies.  And the world is full of trickery that plunges us further into darkness.  But make no mistake, whoever has Christ, has salvation.  And since Christ is salvation, you have a defender that is strong enough to move you out of death to life, out of sin’s condemnation to the radiance of righteous favor, out of fear, and into peace.  

As we heard on Christmas Day, Christ Jesus has dominion over all things.  And Simeon, he knew this.  Simeon got to see the Savior.  Simeon knew that he held salvation in his hands and arms.  And so, Simeon became unconcerned about when and how death would overtake him.  He was ready for it every moment. He was ready to be dismissed from this life into death and unto paradise in peace.  

And like Simeon, you too have salvation.  You, too, have peace that chases away fear. And that is why we sing the Nunc Dimittis after receiving Communion.  It is why we can sing the Song of Simeon as often as we need. Come hell or high water, as a Christian; you can sing the Song of Simeon and confess, 

“It’s okay, Lord.  I have peace because I have you.  If today is my day to die, it will be okay. I am ready to go home at any time, at any place, and in any way because I have you, and you have me.  Glory to God in the highest!”

Baptized Saints, in this life, there will indeed be black clouds, fear, pain, and suffering.  But in Christ, there are no black clouds and no fear, for Christ is your salvation.  And as your salvation, Christ went for sin and death’s jugular by taking on the human condition, dying for sin, and rising from the grave for you.  

Lord, now let us go in peace; Your Word has been proclaimed. Our ears have heard salvation. Amen.

Portions of this sermon are indebted to Rev. Will Weedon’s “1st Sunday After Christmas Sermon,”  (December 27, 2015). 

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