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The Sermon in Simeon’s Song

Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart
in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
imgA Light of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.

—Luke 2:29–32

The New Testament call to evangelism and world missions begins, not with the “Great Commission,” but in Luke 2.


The baby in Simeon’s arms was not only for Simeon to see, or just for the Jew, but for everyone. In the gospel of Luke, every time someone prophesies about Jesus we learn a little bit more about who he is and what he came to do. Simeon is the one who takes the gospel and makes it global. Earlier, when the angle spoke to the shepherds, the good news about the coming of Christ was specifically for the people of Israel (Luke 2:10). But Simeon had good news for the whole world. The salvation the God provided in Jesus is for everyone to see. It is for “all peoples” (Luke 2:31). To make his meaning clear, Simeon went on to specify that Jesus came for the Gentiles as much as the Jews.

This is the basis for our evangelistic outreach around the world. Simeon’s prophecy was about global evangelism. Jesus is God’s light to the nations. The whole world is covered with darkness through sin, but Jesus has come to dispel the darkness, to shine the light of salvation into every dark corner of every dim heart. It is because of him that we have a gospel that we can take to all nations and offer to everyone. We can say to people, “Look, here is salvation. Jesus Christ is God’s light for the world. See him and be saved.” This was the sermon in Simeon’s song.

—Philip Ryken, The Incarnation in the Gospels (P&R Publishing, 2008), 127.

Posted 2013·12·18 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Christmas · Evangelism · Gospel of Luke · Philip Ryken · The Incarnation in the Gospels

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