Intro: In our passage today from the gospel of Luke, the newborn Jesus is taken to the temple and presented or consecrated to the Lord. This obedient act of Joseph and Mary fulfills the ceremonial law and is a public announcement that this baby belongs to God (Lev. 12:2-3). Jesus is approximately one month old at this time.
While the holy family is at the temple, first we meet Simeon—an elder and prophetic man of God. Simeon’s arrival to the temple is ordained and orchestrated by God who is planning a miraculous blessing for this righteous man. Simeon has been waiting a long time to witness the consolation of Israel—the coming of the Messiah to remove Israel’s sorrow and comfort the nation.
Can you imagine Simeon’s exuberant joy to the revelation that he is holding the Messiah? The One for whom he had waited years to arrive—the One who will set God’s people free from sin, evil, and error—rests in his old and weary arms. As Simeon holds his Savior, the peace of God fills his soul. He is overwhelmed by this honor.
Simeon bubbles over with a prophetic message for Joseph and Mary. I am sure the message is bittersweet to their hearing and understanding. Simeon shares a promise, as well as a warning. He prophesies that Jesus will have a different affect on the heart of people—he will be accepted by some and rejected by others. Jesus will be the target of evil, because he brings the message of life with God.
Next at the temple, we meet the widow Anna—a prophetess—who speaks the Word of God and proclaims the truth. Like Simeon, Anna hangs onto her hope to see the Messiah. God has arranged for Anna to be there, because she will now share the Good News and truth with others that the Redeemer has indeed arrived. The glorious Hope of the world has come to the rescue!
I find it inspiring these two elderly saints never loose their hope in the promises of God. If you have invited Christ into your heart and life, you have the Living Savior as your Friend and the Holy Spirit as your Companion. So, whatever is going on in your life, never forget the Savior now holds you in his mighty arms and he has promised to deliver you into his eternal goodness. He has come to rescue you from sin, evil, and error, as well as give you eternal hope!
Luke 2:25-38 NLT The Prophecy of Simeon
25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.
I have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
The Prophecy of Anna
36 Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
Prayer: Lord, I know I hold you in my heart, but a greater reality is that you hold me in your righteous arms and actually invite me to dwell in your holy heart. Thank you for loving me and giving me the right to use your name, Jesus! Amen.