Response to Jesus: Joy is found when you fix your eyes on what is eternal
His old eyes have seen it all. Decade after decade promising a better government, a charismatic leader, a new relationship, a quick fix. He knows the new ideas people strive after each new decade are the same broken thing in a different, shiny package. He has learned that the hope he is looking for cannot not be found in things that change with each passing season. He has learned to look to something else, something eternal.
This passage in Luke shows us a man who is patiently waiting. He is waiting for the consolation of his people who have experienced all sorts of oppression. Consolation is a fancy word for comfort or peace. His whole life has been spent praying, waiting, watching for comfort. He is an old man who has fixed his eyes on the word of God, trusting him to fulfill his promise to bring peace after all these years.
When a baby named Jesus is brought to the temple, Simeon’s response shows that his greatest joy is in something eternal. Simeon could have been angry with God. He had been waiting for decades to see the one who would save and bring comfort. Not one of those days in all those years was he expecting help to come in the form of a tiny newborn. He could have felt tricked by God that he had been waiting around for...this? His people are oppressed, they are held captive- they need a hero on a white horse, not a baby. Has God forgotten? Was he laughing? Was he even there?
But his response shows where his true hope lies. He responds by quoting scripture. He responds by repeating back to God what God had already said about his plan. He responds by rejoicing that God’s way is so much higher and better than his way. There is no room for dissatisfaction when we cling to the words of our only hope.
True joy is found when you fix your eyes on what is eternal.
So what is your response to Jesus when he shows up and his plan is different than yours? Will you respond by claiming his promises, whether they feel true or not, leading your heart to joy in the midst of ever-changing circumstances? Or will you respond in anger and bitterness, speaking your own words over a situation, leading your heart to the dead end of your own tunnel-vision emotions? Let us respond like Simeon. Let us respond with the joy of fixing our eyes on timeless truth, no matter the circumstance. Let us find our comfort in the word of God.