Luke and The Lost
We live our lives for God with the best intentions, but then unexpected things happen. For a few moments, we stall in our faith. Our focus becomes dim and confusion sets in about who we are and what we doing. We become wrapped up in the circumstances surrounding our journeys. We worry and fret and wonder when will “this” be over and we can get back on track again. We forget what God is doing in the middle of it all. This is human thinking.
Let me introduce you to two people who are honored for living life with “prayerful expectation”. They never gave up praying for the release of Israel by the Messiah they knew would come…because God said so. Simeon was deemed a “good man”. The Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit led him. He obeyed God. Anna, a widower for most of her life, turned to God, never leaving the Temple area, “worshiping day and night”, “fasting and praying.” She becomes an evangelist at seeing The Child.
As Simeon prayed blessings, thanksgiving and prophetic warnings over the infant, Jesus is in the arms of his earthly parents. It surprises me that Mary and Joseph are speechless at the words…or are they surprised at Simeon who knew what they knew? Were they encouraged or anxious by the public praises of Anna? Did Mary and Joseph, who were diligent to follow the ritual of God’s Law, need a reminder of Who they held in their arms? Did Mary and Joseph, in the midst of living, need to refocus their mission of caring for the Son of God?
We need to remember that Mary and Joseph are humans. They love God and are obedient to God, but they are humans. They have been through a lot in their young married lives. They have been humiliated and criticized in their community. God sent two people who pray expectantly to encourage and prepare them for what lies ahead. What a mighty God we have. God love us. He prepares those who hearts are completely His. I praise God for His Holy Spirit who leads and guides us with care and compassion still today.
Luke 2, The Message
21 When the eighth day arrived, the day of circumcision, the child was named Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived.
22-24 Then when the days stipulated by Moses for purification were complete, they took him up to Jerusalem to offer him to God as commanded in God’s Law: “Every male who opens the womb shall be a holy offering to God,” and also to sacrifice the “pair of doves or two young pigeons” prescribed in God’s Law.
25-32 In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:
God, you can now release your servant;
release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
and of glory for your people Israel.
33-35 Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother,
This child marks both the failure and
the recovery of many in Israel,
A figure misunderstood and contradicted—
the pain of a sword-thrust through you—
But the rejection will force honesty,
as God reveals who they really are.
36-38 Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fastings and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem.
39-40 When they finished everything required by God in the Law, they returned to Galilee and their own town, Nazareth. There the child grew strong in body and wise in spirit. And the grace of God was on him.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Guide our ponderings as we meditate on Who You are and the story of You in Your Word. May Your Holy Spirit lead us. Help us to listen more intently. Help us to focus in the midst of life to see You with clarity. Be thou my vision.
In Jesus Name, Amen