The Light of Revelation

The song of Simeon
Oil on canvas; 99 x 78.5 cm; c. 1669
Stockholm, Nationalmuseum

Now when the days of her purification were completed, according to the traditions that were observed during that time, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to God. In accordance to the laws of Moses, a consecrating sacrifice would be made in the temple, of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

There was a man living in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. He was a devout, spiritual man, and his whole life was spent in pursuit of God and the ways of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before his eyes had seen the one called the Christ, the child-king that would bring redemption to Israel and to the entire world.

When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus into the temple, Simeon was there, and immediately he recognized the child for who he was. He took the child in his arms and offered this prayer of thanksgiving to God:

"Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
According to your word;
For my eyes have seen your salvation
Which you have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel."

Simeon's prophecy to Mary
Oil on panel; 55.5 x 44 cm; c. 1628
Hamburg, Kunsthalle

And Joseph and Mary marveled at all that was spoken by the elderly man of God. Then Simeon turned his attention to them, and blessed them also, saying to Mary, "Behold, this child will see the rise and fall of many.and the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed."