And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel…
These are the words of Simeon. A beautiful picture — age and childhood meeting together, a gentle shoot and the full ripe corn in the ear, a sapling and a full-grown oak ready for transplantation into that realm where the saints of God flourish with an immortal life and glory.
I. A CHILD. A wonderful thing. A seed containing a world of unknown possibilities. It makes parents glad. It should do so. A gift of God, a pledge and proof of the gracious tenderness which rules the world. But a child should also make parents thoughtful. Children are not mere play-things — ornaments, but undeveloped powers — slumbering volcanoes, which may burst out with desolating eruptions; or shrouded lights, that shall emerge in fuller and brighter radiance from year to year, shedding gladness and blessing all around.
II. "BEHOLD THIS CHILD." Have we not sometimes wished that some Simeon could have taken a child of ours in his arms and become prophetic with respect to his destiny? But it is not permitted — graciously so. We know, however, that the future of children is not a thing of chance, nor is it determined only by what the child is in itself. Otherwise the parental relationship would be largely nullified. A child has its own native powers and tendencies, but they are capable of regulation or perversion. The doctrine of Scripture is that the child will be much what the parent makes him.
III. THE HISTORY OF THIS CHILD WAS TO BE ONE OF A CHEQUERED NATURE, AND THE MOTHER WAS TO ENDURE SAD WOE. "A sword shall pierce," dec. This not uncommon for mothers. Simeon, however, blessed the parents in spite of the sorrow that would be mingled with the lot of Jesus and their own. Blessedness not the same as continuous happiness or pleasure. A pathway of uninterrupted joy may not be a blessing. "Blessed are they that mourn," dec. Christ's life was blessed when He was tempted, had not where to lay His head, was alone upon the mountain, was robed in mock royalty, beaten, spit upon, agonized in the garden, died upon the cross. No one could call Him happy, hut He was blessed.
IV. THIS CHILD WAS SET FOR THE FALL AND RISING AGAIN OF MANY IN ISRAEL: The effect different in different persons. Not, however, intended to be different. The purpose of God is good and gracious. All His gifts are intended for benefit — health, prosperity, afflictions. How differently are we affected by the same things! Children in the same house, under the same training, &c.
1. Falling —
(1) In aggravated degradation;
(2) augmented guilt;
(3) humiliation and repentance.
2. Rising again.
(4) Heaven.The words of Simeon are for this day, for this nation, for you. This Child which was set forth then is still set forth, until in the counsels of heaven the last day shall break upon the world, and the throne of judgment shall be erected where now stands the throne of grace. This Child is still the turning-point upon which are centred the destinies of the world. This Child is not for a race, but for the world; not for an age, but for all time. This Child you have heard of from your infancy. You have not heard so much of any child as this. This child runs as a golden thread through the history of the world. You may neglect Him, but you cannot escape Him. You may despise Him, but you cannot escape Him. You may hate Him, but you cannot escape Him. It cannot be with you as it is with a heathen who has never heard of His name, and upon whom the glory of His brightness has never risen.
(E. Mellor, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;