Luke – Doors Wide Open!
All of us know how it feels to wait for months, maybe even years for something to happen. You feel so passionate about it that you are determined to work for it as you willing wait for it to happen. What if what you are waiting for goes beyond waiting for that job promotion, your man to propose or your girl to say yes to marriage, graduation from college, or those painfully long nine months before your first baby is born? Maybe it’s waiting for a loved one to finally come to Jesus with a heart to follow Him completely in a new relationship. Waiting is not our strongest attribute as humans, is it?
In our passage today, we read the passion of two people, Simeon and Anna, who waited well. God fulfilled His promise to these two prophets who knew He would. Their wait was finally over. Their excitement went beyond the “night before Christmas wait” for gifts to be opened. (Or in this case, eight days after Christmas!) Obedience led Mary and Joseph to the Temple that day. Obedience to the Holy Spirit led Simeon and Anna there, also. God then orchestrated the union between the prophets wait and the parents who held the Messiah!
Yes, the expectation of Simeon and Anna, who have waited all their lives for the coming of the Messiah, is realized in this baby in arms. They knew immediately Who this baby was and what He would do. The Gift of Salvation has been born! The Redeemer has come to save all people from sin and restore a right relationship with God whom they have served all their lives! The wait is over! They have seen Him with their own eyes! They know they are in the Presence of God in human form.
His Name is Jesus.
Luke 2, NLT
Jesus Is Presented in the Temple
21 Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.
22 Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 23 The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.” 24 So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
The Prophecy of Simeon
25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised.
30 I have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared for all people.
32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
The Prophecy of Anna
36 Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
39 When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40 There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.
GOING DEEPER STILL…
One of the traditional Jewish prayers is, “May I see the consolation of Israel!” That prayer was answered for Simeon when he saw Jesus Christ in the temple. He was a man who was led by the Spirit of God, taught by the Word of God, and obedient to the will of God, and therefore he was privileged to see the salvation of God. How important it is for people to see God’s salvation, Jesus Christ, before they see death.
God’s timing is always perfect. Anna came up just as Simeon was praising the Lord for the Child Jesus, so she joined in the song! I would like to have heard these elderly people singing in the temple! Their praise was inspired by the Spirit of God, and God accepted it. But Anna did much more than sing; she also spread the good news among the other faithful members of “the remnant” who were waiting for the redemption of Israel. The excitement began to spread as more and more people heard the good news.
What was the message of the prophets now?
The wait is over! The Redeemer has been born! Excitement spreads like a wild fire among the “remnant” of God’s people who did not give up hope.
And His Name is Jesus!
What have you been waiting for?
He’s here…waiting for you to accept, believe, follow and live abundantly and securely under His wing. He is Jesus, God’s Son. He is who you have been waiting for to fulfill you life completely.
What is our message to those who do not know?
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
Thank you for saving our souls and making us whole. Thank you for restoring us to full relationship with You. Thank you for the leading and guiding of your Holy Spirit. Thank you for always being with us. Thank you for the example of “holy waiting” from Simeon and Anna. Thank you for Truth.
In Jesus Name, Amen