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Old, bold prophets

“I have seen the Savior you have given to all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!” — Luke 2:30-32

In the fraternity of fliers they say, “There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots. But there are no old, bold pilots.”

Those who choose to fly by the seat of their pants run the risk of being prematurely laid to their rest.

The same is not necessarily true of prophets. There are old, bold prophets. Simeon is a great example. He had been around a long time and had earned a reputation for righteousness and devotion. “He was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he eagerly expected the Messiah to come and rescue Israel” (Luke 2:25).

Although he was advanced in years, he did not spend his time reminiscing about “the good old days.” Instead, he “eagerly expected” Messiah’s coming and the glory days that would follow.

This did not mean he was living an illusion about his days being numbered—he was fully convinced that “he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah” (2:26). As soon as he had seen Jesus, Simeon calmly prayed, “Lord, now I can die in peace!” (2:29). In other words, here was an old man growing old gracefully.

But Simeon was a bold man, too. Referring to the baby Jesus in his arms, he prayed to the Lord in front of Mary and Joseph, with insight born of the Spirit, “He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel” (2:32). Bold words, indeed.

This baby, according to the bold, old man, was none other than the Messiah. And in addition to being the glory of Israel, He was about to bring light to the world—to Israel and to lands far beyond Israel. No wonder Joseph and Mary were amazed.

But there was more. Simeon went on, “This child will be rejected by many in Israel, and it will be their undoing” (2:34).

Simeon was daring to suggest not only that Messiah was not the exclusive preserve of an elite Judaism, but he was audacious enough to say that sections of Judaism would reject him and Messiah would be their undoing! And, speaking the truth in love, he did not hide from Mary the sobering news, even on this happiest of days, that “a sword will pierce your very soul” (2:35).

Old, bold men speak truth with love in the Spirit out of rich experience. They are national treasures. We need more of them!

For further study: Luke 2:25-40

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.