Summary: Everyone waits for Christmas. Christmas is the promise of gifts. In Simeon and Anna we see that finally the Christmas promise has arrived. The silence is over in these latter days God has spoken to us in His Son.
Intro: It has been 400 years since the Word of the Lord came to the prophets of Israel. Finally the still small voice whispers grace to those that will hear. In the 400 years of Gods silence Rome has risen to power and controls the Promised Land. A remnant of the people of Israel are still looking for the promised one. In the Christmas story as told by Dr Luke we see two peoples hope realized. Simeon and Anna finally get to see the consolation and redemption of Israel.
Everyone waits for Christmas. Christmas is the promise of gifts. In Simeon and Anna we see that finally the Christmas promise has arrived. The silence is over in these latter days God has spoken to us in His Son.
I. The Promise of Comfort – Simeon
A) Seeing the consolation of Israel prepares us to depend
What a wonderful name! Simeon means one who hears and obeys. Simeon heard by way of the Spirit that He would not die until his eyes witnessed the messiah Luke 2.26. Even during the 400 hundred year period of silence from the voice of God Simeon was confident that God would fulfill the promises and prophesies about Messiah. This was the time of the crafty and cruel king Herod. Political independence was gone and the once great nation was ruled by the Romans.
There is so little for people to depend on today. Retirement accounts are emptied, marriage covenants are broken, company promises are rescinded, parent responsibilities rejected, ministry vows shattered. In our economic and social climate of fear and doubt there is something we can point to for people to depend on! Jesus Christ.
The Bible says this righteous and devout man. Simeon was waiting on the promise of Christmas. Jesus appeared before him and he saw what the prophets had hoped to see. The comfort of Israel and the hope all people. In this Christmas season where people should feel comfort many are insecure, empty, and afraid. But in Jesus Christ all can have comfort.
B) Seeing the consolation of Israel prepares us to depart
Luke 2.29-32 Simeon was prepared to face death after seeing Jesus, The Lord is salvation. How amazing it must have been to see Jesus! The hope of the world! Now Simeon could leave this world of pain and sorrow. Friend you are not prepared for this life, much less the life to come until you see your salvation. Unless you are born again Jesus said, you cannot even see the kingdom of heaven. Paul was torn between departing and staying. Once you have a glimpse of Jesus, this world doesn’t hold the same attachment as before. I love my wife, kids and all of you but if it were time I am ready to depart. The word Simeon used to say he was now ready to depart tells us something of the Christians life and death. It means to set free a prisoner, to cut loose and set sail, to take up a tent. We are ready to depart because we are comforted with the presence of Jesus.
C) Seeing the consolation of Israel prepares us to declare
Look at what Simeon did next. Luke 2.29. He took the baby Jesus into his arms and blessed God. He praised God with a song. A light to the gentiles you and me. Jesus is revealing what
God requires, righteousness that comes only by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Gentiles looked for wisdom and Jews looked for light. Jesus brings both the light of the glory of God. He completely explains God. The wisdom of God is found in knowledge or a relationship with the Holy one. That is what we declare the light and wisdom of God.
II. The Promise of Forgiveness – Anna
Anna also has a wonderful name it means grace. This lady whose name means God’s favor saw the embodiment of grace. God’s timing still amazes me. Anna came up to the place where Simeon and Mary, Joseph and Jesus were. Simeon was saying praises to God for the consolation of Israel. The messiah had come and Anna was favored by God to see Him in the temple. 84 years she lived. A majority of those years were spent in the temple praying and praising God.
Anna came from the tribe of Asher which means blessed, happy. She knew that the true source of happiness does not consist of your outward circumstances.
What was the secret that kept Anna waiting?
A) A life of devotion
Luke 2.37 “She never left the temple.”
What is the secret of making it through the regular routine of life? Realizing that the monotony of life will one day be replaced with the majesty of God’s presence. Drawing close to God is not boring it is refreshing. The presence of God makes the routine superb and trivial moments tremendous opportunities to live for God! Annas life was a life lived in the grace of God.