Summary: The legacy of Anna and Simeon for Christmas celebration
Reading: Luke 2:22-40
Let me begin by hoping you all had a Merry Christmas and are looking forward to a NEW YEAR of blessings and prosperity. Let us seek prosperity in gainful knowledge and practice of God’s Word and Will for our lives. – AMEN
In this week’s Gospel Reading, we find a list of characters. Who are they? They each represent very important facts in the life of Christ and lessons for us today. So, let’s list them:
Simeon – “Just and Devout” v:26 An elderly man of God whom God had promised via His Holy Spirit:
That he would see the Messiah before his death. V 26
Joseph and Mary – Parents of the baby Jesus
Anna - An 84year-old widow, who spent her days and nights in the temple praying and fasting. V37
Daughter of Phanuel and a prophetess. V 36
Jesus the Christ – Of Course!
Mary and Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Jerusalem in obedience to the Law of Moses v 23:
“According to the gospel, Mary and Joseph took the Infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days (inclusive) after his birth to complete Mary's ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn son, in obedience to the Torah (Leviticus 12, Exodus 13:12–15, etc.).” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presentation_of_Jesus_at_the_Temple
[We can learn so much taking advantage of the internet with minimal effort]
Here is Mary a mere teenager in the latter days of having delivered her baby, literally recovering and now travelling some sixty-five miles. Presentation of Jesus at the Temple - Wikipedia
That distance and having to travel slowly, would have made a five or six-day journey. Obedience to the law, obedience to the Lord isn’t always convenient, comfortable or fun. It is rewarding, even when we don’t recognize the reward. God blesses obedience to His will.
“Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
Who walk in the law of the LORD!
Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart!”
NOTE: Read and study Deuteronomy 28
Some question why Old Testament Scripture is relevant today. Are you one of them?
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. Matthew 5:17 Jesus’ very own words.
The New Testament does not replace the Old Testament it compliments it, as Jesus says – it fulfills it.
“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31 from the Apostle Paul
I don’t want to belabor this point, but we must understand that the New Testament is merely a continuation of God’s Word. It is more than history.
Every word in the bible has direct relevance to Jesus the Christ:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
Are we to disregard God the Son in the events and prophesies of the Old Testament? NO! That is exactly why I keep saying that we do not pick and choose what to embrace from the bible. It’s either all true and relevant or none of it is. I choose ALL!
Okay, moving on. Let’s talk about Simeon. Who in the world was Simeon?
It was Simeon’s HOPE and Prayer that he would see the Messiah before he died.
And indeed, that prayer was answered.
“And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” v 26
So, when Jesus was brought to the temple, Simeon was also led by the Spirit to go to the temple. There he was privileged to hold the Christ Child, lift Him up to the LORD and give God his thanksgiving for the honor bestowed upon him in this event.
Read Simeon’s prayer of Thanksgiving vs 29-32.
That prayer has been adopted by some faith’s as the Nunc Dimittis and is sung or chanted as a canticle or hymn. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Nunc-Dimittis:
Found in Luke 2:29–32, it is called the Nunc Dimittis for its first words in the Latin of the Vulgate Bible: Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum, in pace, “Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised.”
There are some traditional teachings about Simeon being at the ripe old age of 113. I cannot verify those claims anywhere. We don’t have any real word as to how long Simeon lived past this wonderful blessing. What we do know is that God fulfilled His promise to Simeon, as He does in fulfilling ALL His promises, even today and even to you and to me. That’s a subject for another sermon!