And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Simeon’s thankful praise caused Mary and Joseph to marvel (see Luke 2:29-32). And then he blessed them with a prophecy that predicted what would come about in Israel from Jesus. He would be a sign opposed, and Mary’s heart will be pierced as though with a sword, so that many hearts would be revealed. The contrast between Simeon (a devout man) and the religious leaders later on in the Gospel accounts is profound. As Simeon took Jesus into his arms with joy and praise, many in Israel would reject Him in their hearts (see Isaiah 8:14-15)
Why is it that Jesus divides? It is because whenever a person encounters the Lord, he or she must make a personal deision about Him. The Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day would see that He was crucified, and then they would reject the accounts of His resurrection. But those who accepted Him would ultimately understand why He was crucified. Leter they would be thankful for His death and resurrection. Jesus is coming back one day to separate the righteous from the unrighteous. In that day, the separation will be final.
Have you ever been the subject of ridicule or rejection because of your testimony in Christ? Will you thank God today for the sacrifice He made on the cross for you?