Summary: See the longing and faith of the devout awaiting for the fulfilment of the Messianic prophecies. The devout believes God, are led by God and sees Jesus.
How much can you trust God? How much do you really believe the Word of God?
• Christmas didn’t come easy to believe. The Jewish people has had 400 years of silence between the OT and NT during which God did not speak.
• The Roman Empire conquered Jerusalem in 63BC and ruled over the land.
• It certainly seemed as though God has forgotten them. Nothing externally points towards the imminent coming of the Messiah.
That explains why John the Baptist’s ministry was so significant. He was in fact the first prophet called by God since Malachi some 400 years earlier.
• Yet despite this challenging circumstance, we read in the various Christmas accounts the faith of a small group of remnant.
• They were willing to believe the Word of God, when confronted with the news of Jesus’ birth.
• And under very difficult circumstances, for Joseph and Mary, after 400 years of silence without any prophet speaking the Word of God.
Can we be found among the remnant of faith?
Can we trust the Word of God even after such a long wait and against all odds?
We have to. His Word is the only unchanging truth in all that changes around us.
• God fulfils His promises in His own way and at His own time.
• Gal 4:4-5 ESV “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
• In the FULLNESS of time – the right time, the perfect time, at precisely the moment God wants it to be. Nothing was delayed.
Historians tell us this TIME was good because:
• The Roman Empire brought about peace to the entire region and established a road system that facilitated travel throughout the land.
• The Gospel message would be able to reach the farthest lands.
• The Greek civilization provided a trading language which was adopted as the lingua franca of the empire, so making it possible to communicate the Gospel to all the different people groups in one common language.
In this FULLNESS of time, two devout believers of God met Christ in the Temple.
• We are going to read them today in Luke 2:25-38. These TWO are described in ways that highlight their righteous and devout living.
• One is SIMEON, a righteous and devout man. The other is ANNA, a prophetess.
[Read Luke 2:25-38]
We do not know for how long they have been waiting to see this day.
• Simeon says that the Holy Spirit has assured him he would not die before he had seen the Christ (2:26). It would seems that He is old and time is not on his side.
• For Anna the text says she was very old (2:36). 2:37 says she has been ‘a widow until she was 84’, which can mean she was a widow who was 84 years old or she has been a widow for 84 years old, which would make her much older.
• The references to Simeon not dying and Anna being old were likely to highlight to us that their wait has been very long.
They waited to see the Messiah, for a long time and did not give up hope.
• SIMEON was “waiting for the consolation of Israel” (2:25) and ANNA spoke of Him to all who were “looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” (2:38)
• They were the devout WAITING and LOOKING FORWARD to the coming of the Messiah.
They waited for this day BELIEVING that it would come because God has spoken, through the prophecies of the OT.
• It doesn’t matter if the political landscape has changed. It doesn’t matter if God did not speak for the last 400 years (because He has already spoken before that).
• The Word of God remains true even in the silence of God. Our hope is in the REVEALED Word of God.
• Never mind what God did not say (long silence). Hold on to what God has already said.
THE DEVOUT BELIEVES GOD
The devout believes the Word of God and obeys it. Luke seems to make an extra effort to highlight this to us in this chapter.
• 2:15 - the shepherds said to one another: “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
• 2:19 – “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
And then look at what the couple did (note how Luke expresses it):
• 2:21 – Joseph and Mary circumcised Jesus on the eighth day – “when it was time to” (which is according to what God has instructed in Lev 12:3).