Summary: Simeon and Anna are two people that were truly planted in the house of the Lord and flourished for Him as Psalm 92:12-15 speaks of. They waited on the Lord, worked for the Lord, and worshiped the Lord
In Luke 2, Jesus is brought to the Temple to be presented to the Lord 40 days after His birth in fulfillment of the Law. Then the text takes an interesting twist. At such a momentous occasion; the time in which God’s very Son is being presented to Him at His Temple, the focus turns to two of God’s servants who are in their latter years in life, Simeon and Anna. They are two people who lived lives with purpose and would be blessed by God with the privilege to see the Redeemer of Israel. They came to see Jesus, but it is them that the Lord calls for us to “behold” (v25).
Simeon and Anna are two people that were truly planted in the house of the Lord and flourished for Him as Psalm 92:12-15 speaks of. There are three simple points I would like to make about these two older servants of the Lord that helped them to be an example to us of what it means to live a life of fruitfulness and purpose:
1. They waited on God
2. They worked for God
3. They worshiped God
In these three things, Simeon and Anna show us why it is that the Lord takes up more verses to talk about them than He does to talk about His Son who is being presented to Him.
❶ SIMEON AND ANNA WAITED
SIMEON: (Luke 2:25-26)
We are told in Luke 2:25, “And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was…waiting for the Consolation of Israel.” This is surely a reference to His hope for the coming Messiah. He had no doubt been taught the prophecies about God’s coming King; the One who would come to help Israel be freed from their captivity and given peace by God. Then just imagine being in Simeon’s sandals as the Spirit of God reveals a very special promise to him… “You, in your lifetime Simeon, will see the Messiah.” He would not die until he sees the Messiah who has been promised to God’s people for over a thousand years.
We are not told exactly when during his life this promised was revealed to him by the Spirit, but can you just imagine what was going through Simeon’s mind as the years passed by. The anticipation, the excitement of being able to see God’s Christ in the flesh. No matter how long he had to wait, he was going to be willing to wait patiently. He trusted that God would fulfill His promise to Him.
Many people before they die have a long list of things they want to accomplish before it happens; their “bucket list.” I think it’s safe to say that for Simeon, there was only one thing on His “bucket list,” to see the Redeemer of Israel.
ANNA: (Luke 2:36-37)
We are introduced to Anna in Luke 2:36. Her story is one of sorrow. She was married for just seven years before her husband died. She was left as a young widow. She may have been in her early twenties when this happened. One would imagine that in her situation she would soon find another husband, or that her kinsmen redeemer would come and raise up children for her husband who had died. But this is not what happens. She decided to stay single. She took a path that many women of her time would run away from and even loathe. She would, after the death of her husband, be a widow for a very long time. There are two possible ways to look at verses 36-37 when speaking of her age. She may have been married for seven years, and then a widow for 84 years, which would put her in her over 100 years old if she got married in her teens. Or the other possibility is that she was married for 7 years and then became a widow until the age of 84, which would be her current age. Either way, this would be a long time to be a widow.
Anna would spend her whole life on her own, trusting in her God to provide for her physical needs. She didn’t have welfare to help her or social security to collect. She depended on the generosity of others to help sustain her physically. Why would she be willing to live a life like this? I believe the reason is that her sights were not on herself, but on Someone else. She wanted to devote her life to God, and be able to meet, not her kinsman redeemer like in the case of Ruth, but her spiritual Redeemer. She was waiting for the best of Redeemers.
APPLICATION: What is it that we are waiting for? Simeon and Anna show us that there are better things worth waiting for than the things that we tend to focus so much time and energy on. There are better things to devote our lives to; better things to anticipate.