A Generation of Simeons?
Do you remember Simeon from Luke chapter 2? Luke tells us that Simeon "was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel ”because “The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.”
We don’t know how long Simeon had waited, but when he finally saw and held the baby Jesus, he praised God, saying,
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the nations,
and the glory of your people Israel.
Simeon was overjoyed because God had allowed him to live to see the promised Messiah!
Is it possible that ours could be a generation of Simeons? That like him those of us who are alive today may have the joy of seeing the Messiah return before we die?
It is! Here's why I think so:
In Matthew 24, Jesus’ disciples asked, “What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?” He replied, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” When will Jesus return? He said, only after the gospel has been preached to "all nations."
When we hear the word "nations," we think of countries like France or China. But in the Bible, the word has a different meaning. In the Bible, the word translated "nations" is "ethnos," and it refers to groups of people who share a common heritage, culture, geography, ancestors, and language. The very smart people who study these things tell us that there are about 12,000 of these Biblical nations on earth. And Jesus has told us that he won't return until we've taken the gospel to every one of them.
We're incredibly close to that finish line. Every year, hundreds of Biblical “nations” are hearing the gospel for the first time, and only about 150 groups remain who have never heard. By God’s grace, it is possible that all of them will hear within the next year.
And then--Could it be?--we may become a generation of Simeons!