Lord, now let Your servant go in peace, as You have said.
This clarion call is all because [Simeon] had received the promise from the Holy Ghost that he should not die before he had seen the Savior of Israel. Now as he held Him in his arms and the Holy Ghost told his heart that this child was the Savior, he was so glad. He was even ready to die because he had seen the Savior. The eyes of faith are so sharp that can see such a mean, poor and ignorable child and yet consider Him the One of whom such great things were prophesied. No one could have believed on such a child, for it came from Mary and Joseph. It was against all reason and nature. Yet this old Simeon saw this by the gift of the Holy Ghost. That is, he saw the kingdom of this child and all the miracles and deeds that this child would do. These matters are altogether unbelievable and ungraspable to reason.
Here you see the skill of faith, which relies upon what it cannot see or touch. As the epistle to the Hebrews says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and gives attention to that which does not appear.” So we must also believe that eternal mercy is ours, that we are saved and rescued from death, sins, devil and hell and will live forever with God. Nature or reason does not believe these things. Reason says “good” when things are going well. But faith acts and believes against all the experience of nature and reason.
It is wondrous to say that I should believe and hold that I am in God’s hands even if I am stuck in the Devil’s jaws, and feel death and sins. Yet I should say that neither sins nor death can harm me, as Saint Paul says, “We are as those being led to death and yet we live, etc.” (1 Cor. 6) And so he says to the Romans, “Who can separate us from the Lord of God? Trials? Or fear? Or persecution? Or hunger? Or nakedness? Or danger? Or sword? As it is written (Ps. 44), ‘For Your sake we are put to death all day long. We are considered sheep for the slaughter.’ But in all this we are more than conquerors, for the sake of Him who has loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, nor powers, neither the past nor the future, neither height nor depth nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” (Rom. 8)
This Simeon, because of his true faith, regarded this poor miserable baby as the king and redeemer of the whole world. No natural man could ever have done that. Now do you see how faith makes one courageous and bold? This observation which Simeon makes about the child makes him so confident that he goes on to say, “LORD, now let Your servant go in peace.” He is saying, “From now on I fear nothing; neither sins, death nor hell. I am completely intoxicated by faith.” Why are you so free, dear Simeon? Because of this:
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Outwardly I am dying, but faith swallows up death. My eyes have received the Savior who takes away sins, death and hell. So if you would die safely and gladly, then treasure this verse, that Christ your Savior has taken away all your need and misfortune. You have received Him in your eyes through faith. This sight makes you secure from all sins and death which are taken away and conquered through Christ.
So we see how faith alone overcomes sins and death. Therefore I am so glad because of it that I could gladly die (says Simeon) since I have seen the Savior, that is, I confess Christ. That is all I need.
– Martin Luther, Church Postil for The Purification of Mary, translated by Rev. Joel Baseley.