Summary: Characteristics taken from the life of Anna and Simeon that are important today.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 4
“The Waiting Game”
The events recorded in the second half of Luke, chapter two are important, they have to be important because they are the only events from the infancy of Jesus that Luke chooses to highlight. Luke no doubt had many incidents he could have recorded for history, but he chose the presentation of Jesus and the proclamations of Simeon and Anna. Here two godly saints appear in the Temple and proclaim for the world that Jesus is indeed the long awaited Messiah, Savior of the world. Their goals and priorities and their persistent lives of faithfulness are examples for the ages. There are three ceremonies that are condensed into just a few verses.
First, is the ceremony of circumcision (v. 21), it was at this point that the child is officially given his name. “And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.” Both Mary and Joseph had been told separately by an angel to name the child Jesus. The angel said to Joseph, “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." (Matt. 1:21). Gabriel’s announcement to Mary was similar, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS” (Luke 1:31).
The name Jesus is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Joshua, it means “Jehovah saves.” His name was to be Jesus because his mission was to save His people from their sins.
The second ceremony is the redemption of the first-born. When a Jewish family redeemed their first-born they were acknowledging that this child belonged to God. Much as we do in our church when we dedicate a baby to the Lord. This incident reminds us of how highly God values human life and how important he considers the special moments of consec-ration. God has given children to parents as a sacred trust – to name them, shape them, then send them out on their own. What a privilege, parenthood is in sharing the life that God has created.
The third ceremony was the purification of Mary.
Verse twenty two, “Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (23) (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD”), (24) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
It would seem that Joseph and Mary combined the presentation or dedication of Jesus and the purification of Mary into one visit at the Temple. Thus Jesus would have been approximately six weeks old at the time of his presentation. It is probable that the first sign of the identity of this child that was given to Simeon was when he was told that his name was Jesus.
The fact that Mary needed cleansing is indicative of the fact that she like everyone else was not sinless. As Mary paid the price of her purification little did she realize that the baby boy in her arms would one day pay the ultimate price of the ultimate sacrifice so that she and all who would receive it would receive the ultimate cleansing.
In the redemption ceremony, the father brought the child to a priest. The mother was not obligated to attend but often did so. The priest held the child while the father gave the priest five silver shekels in the place of his son. The priest then returned the child to the father.
The humble sacrifice would suggest that they were too poor to bring a lamb (2 Cor 8:9). But he was the lamb.
Now according to verse twenty-five the young couple met a man named Simeon, “And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.”
The name Simeon means “hear and obey.” We are told very little about this man, Simeon. He is not mentioned anywhere else in scripture. We do not know anything about his family, whether or not he was married or had any children. We are told nothing about his occupation, although some assume because of his presence in the temple that he was a priest. The only things we are told are the things that matter most to God – things which pertain to his character and his relationship with God.