Keeping a promise takes commitment. Believing in a promise takes faith. And the
longer the promise is delayed, the stronger the faith must be – but, as Simeon would
discover, the greater the reward when the promise is fulfilled.
That’s my introduction to one of my favorite characters in the Bible. Simeon appears in Luke 2:25-35 as a righteous man, “looking for the restoration of Israel,” (2:25). Luke stresses the faithfulness of God in keeping His promises – to provide a Redeemer for the nation in the person of Jesus Christ, and personally to Simeon to allow him to see that Redeemer before he died (2:26).
The Lord has the big picture (in His promise to the nation) and the small picture (His promise to Simeon) equally in view. There is no distinction in God’s compassionate concern for both. He maintains them in perfect balance.
But I needed a point of view to drive the narrative for my performance – to reveal the unique contribution of this character to the flow of the argument in Luke. I needed to maintain the balance between a creative approach that would give this audience a fresh perspective as well as a true reflection of the A/author’s purpose. I prayed (as I always do in the construction of a character) for the Lord to sanctify my imagination to the glory of His name and His word.
So, I play Simeon as an old man whose besetting problem in his youth was impatience. That’s the factionalized part, but it fits with a pattern I’ve noticed in the Bible. It’s often true in Scripture, that a character flaw – a major weakness – in a person is the very thing used by the Holy Spirit to glorify God. For example, the apostle Paul reminds us that, “God’s power is made perfect in weakness,” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I have Simeon visiting the temple courts daily, looking for God’s promised Deliverer. Simeon remains hopeful, despite what I’m sure appeared to him to be a delay in the fulfillment of God’s promise. The Lord’s promise that Simeon “would not die” before seeing the Messiah” (2:26) along with his own prayer that God allow him to “depart in peace,” underscore a long-held hope – fulfilled in the baby he held and blessed in His arms.
Our perspective on God’s promises is bound up in our humanity. But our hope extends beyond the limitations of our flesh. By God’s grace we can embrace the reality, the sure reality of His promises. Like Simeon, we should cling to the integrity of God’s character, believing with all our hearts that God will keep His promises – that the Lord Jesus Christ will come again, and that He will make all things right.
And when He comes again, it won’t be as a baby, but as a victorious King of Kings who will keep His promise to turn the world right side up.