22When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."
25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel."
33The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. (NIV)
Gleanings from this Passage
1. Godly people are careful to make sacrifices to the LORD out of obedience to Him.
-vv. 22-24, 29
- Joseph and Mary observed the law of purification by offering a burnt sacrifice and sin offering
- While Christ’s sacrifice alone makes us acceptable to God, we are now called to offer our bodies as living sacrifices “in view of God’s mercy (Rom 12:1) – through giving praise to God, doing good and sharing with others (Heb 13:5-6)
2. Godly people wait patiently for God’s redemption.
(Simeon) – “he was waiting for the consolation of Israel” (v. 25) (see also Isa 40:1-5)
- “Do not grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope…we will be with the LORD forever” (1 Th 4:13-18; also 1 Pet 1:13; James 5:7-11)
3. Godly people give themselves to spiritual disciplines (vv. 26, 29).
- It is evident that Simeon knew God’s word; so should we (Ps 1:1-3; Ps 119:11)
- Anna gave herself to fasting and prayer. As Christians we are commanded to –
and need to – pray (1 Ch 16:11; Mt 26:41; 1 Th 5:17)
- Fasting – the deprivation of food – seems also to be prescribed for God’s people (Mt 6:16-18; Lk 5:33-55), but its importance lies in its connection with prayer (Mt 9:25-29; Ac 13:1-3)
4. Godly people acknowledge Christ as the centre of God’s plan of salvation.
”my eyes have seen your salvation” (v. 30)
”she…spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption…” (v. 38)
How is Christ is the centre? It is He who achieved our redemption (Rom 3:24; 1 Pet 1:18-21)
- for the Apostle Paul, the cross is at the centre of his ministry: Gal 6:14; 1 Co 2:2
5. Christ is good news for Jews and Gentiles.
- For Jews, promises of God’s deliverance will be fulfilled (Isa 46:13)
-To Gentiles, God’s mercy will be extended (Isa 49:6)
6. Christ is bad news for some.
- He is a “cornerstone” that means security for some, but a stumbling block to others (1 Pe 2:6-8)
- He is a “sword” that has not come to bring peace, but division (Mt 10:34-39) because, like a sword, His words cut through all false pretenses and exposes the “the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb 4:12).
7. The growth of Christ reveals his true humanity.
We ought to take comfort that he was made like us in every way, and there is nothing we experience that he can’t identify with (Heb 2:14-17)
1. What is it about the characters of Simeon and Anna that encourage you and challenge you?
2. In what ways can we Christians lose sight of Christ as the centre of our faith?
3. How is the gospel good news? How is it bad news?