18: Symeon’s Crucifixion

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!”

Luk 13:34

The fanaticism, the cruelty and the rebellion of the human heart when it is set against God knows no boundaries. 70AD had witnessed the most severe judgement Jerusalem had experienced since the destruction meted by the soldiers of Babylon centuries earlier. Still, however, the Hebrew people persisted in their bitter antagonism towards the followers of Jesus Christ.

Trajan’s reign, with its revival of the laws against secret societies, of which Christianity was regarded to be one, gave the Jews a pretext to attack the Church. With the persecution fiercest in Palestine and Syria, they seized their opportunity.

The focal point of their hatred was Symeon the aged and faithful Bishop of Jerusalem, Although he was 120 years of age, the most fanatical of the Jews took him, crucifying him. In the years since the death and resurrection of Christ Jerusalem had been responsible for the deaths of several leaders including Stephen, James the brother of John, James the Just and now in 107AD old Symeon was impaled on a cross, just like His master. From that cross of pain he entered paradise to be with his Saviour.

Jesus, I my cross have taken,
all to leave and follow you;
destitute, despised, forsaken,
you on earth once suffered, too.
Perish ev'ry fond ambition,
all I've ever hoped or known;
yet how rich is my condition,
God and heav'n are still my own!

Henry Francis Lyte

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