“When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, 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”[b]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[c]
25 Now 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 on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.27 Moved 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, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then 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, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming 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.” Luke 2.1-38
Simeon and Anna were waiting for the arrival of the Messiah. For their whole lives they had been in the Temple, serving the Lord, preparing for the one who would save Israel from their sins.
Simeon approached the holy family first. He was a man filled with the Holy Spirit and was led by the Holy Spirit that day to go into the Temple courts. There he saw Jesus, took him into his arms and praised God with a prayer that we read in v.29-32. He affirmed the coming of the Messiah by saying, “For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
Anna was the second to testify to Jesus as the Christ. She was very old, from the tribe of Asher, and has been a widow for most of her life. The scriptures tell us “she never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying.” When she came up to Mary, Joseph and Jesus, she “gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
God brought these holy prophets Simeon and Anna, along with a virgin in Mary, a righteous and devout man in Joseph, and angels to usher in his Messiah. The affirmation and arrival of the Messiah called for Jesus to be surrounded by holy people who were set a part by God for this precise purpose.
Which makes me think about my own level of holiness in receiving the Christ into my own life. God comes to holiness and in holiness. Simeon and Anna were examples of this by themselves, not to mention everyone else in this story.
Have you had a visit from the Lord lately? Have you received his Holy Spirit? Is his Spirit leading you and guiding you into all fullness and faithfulness? Why not seek his face today? Like Simeon and Anna who were expecting the coming of the Christ, let us do the same.
“O Lord, you have come into this world, so many years ago, to a humble family and a humble beginning. In a remote part of the world, but central and poised to be a stage for your salvation. Come again Lord Jesus! Help us place our hope in you. In a world in deep need of redemption, make your Presence known. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen