Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Sanhedrin that condemned Jesus to death. He dissented from the council’s decision, however, and was in fact a follower of Jesus. He had been “waiting for the kingdom of God” and recognized it when it came in the person of Christ. After the Crucifixion, he obtained permission to wrap and bury Jesus’ body (see Luke 23:50–56). For a Jewish religious leader, this was a bold step indeed!
In our passage, we find another Jewish believer waiting for the kingdom: Simeon. He had waited a lifetime for this moment in the temple courtyard. Specifically, he had been waiting for “the consolation of Israel” (v. 25). He had waited with the attitude of expectant faith and hope that we’ve seen is the biblical example of godly waiting, as enabled by the Holy Spirit (v. 26). He wasn’t the only one. Anna is mentioned a few verses later as also “looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (v. 38).
The term consolation means “comfort,” in the specific sense of “help” or “rescue.” Simeon was waiting for Israel’s deliverance in the person of God’s Messiah. In his words over the infant Jesus, Simeon talked about God’s sovereignty, fulfilled promises, and salvation for all nations (vv. 29–32). His words to Mary reveal his understanding about the Messiah’s mission (vv. 34–35).
When we consider that spiritual waiting means waiting for God’s justice, grace, forgiveness, and love, it’s no surprise to find the theme of waiting interwoven with passages on Christ’s first and second comings and His mission of redemption. Waiting and God’s plan of salvation are so closely linked, in fact, that in this section of our month’s devotional, we’ll spend ten days exploring the interconnections.
Simeon could never have waited as long as he did and as faithfully as he did without the Holy Spirit’s power and wisdom (v. 26). Expectant hope, after all, is not natural but supernatural! As you seek to cultivate godly waiting throughout your own life or in a current tough situation, pray for the Spirit’s power and wisdom to fill you for this challenge.