Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

Molalla, Oregon

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Simeon and Anna

December 28th, 2009 by Vic

Luke 2:21-52

Let’s review the Christmas story one more time.  Remember who God revealed Himself to?  God found ways to get the attention of several different groups of people.

God sent an angel to Zechariah and Elizabeth.  They were both descendants of Aaron.  Both of them were “upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly” (Lk 1:5).  God had not spoken to prophets or sent angels for over 300 years.

All those worshipping in the temple while Zechariah was delayed by the angel would have known something special was happening.  When Zechariah came out of the holy place he was using his hands to tell them he had seen a vision.  An angel had spoken to him.  God was making promises again.

Zechariah was part of the priesthood.  All the priests would have received the report that Zechariah had seen a vision.

Six months later, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and the Lord appeared to Joseph to announce the birth of Jesus.  God inspired Elizabeth and Mary to sing songs of prophecy to each other.  When John was born, Zachariah prophesied about his son.

While Mary and Joseph were on the way to Bethlehem, did she realize that God was going to fulfill Micah 5:2?  Did she sense God was orchestrating their lives?  Did she tell Joseph that this was not a good time to travel?  Did she want to stay with family?

The shepherds were considered unclean.  They were the rough crowd that seldom went to church.  The angels preached the good news to these untouchable shepherds.  The birth announcement was not delivered to the Temple religious leaders.

A couple years later when the wise men brought the birth announcement to the King and religious leaders, they sent the wise men to check it out.  They were less than a 45 minute walk from Bethlehem and did not seek the Lord.  Did you know that Herod was less than 5’ tall?

The people around Bethlehem would have known of the birth from the shepherds testimonies.  They spread the word of the angels.  The people were amazed that the shepherds were so excited.  They wondered, but Mary pondered and treasured these things in her heart.  Be like Mary.

So both Jew and Gentile received birth announcements.  The poor and the wealthy, the educated and the rough, the powerful and the common — all received an announcement.

2:10 The announcement was to be great joy for all people.

2:11 He is a Savior; one who will rescue you.

2:12 The sign will be strips of cloth in a manger.  Usually dead people are buried with strips of cloth like mummies.  The manger would be a large stone bowl.  Both signs are pointing to His death.

2:13 All of history has been pointing toward this birth.  The angels are worshipping.  The political and religious leaders did not see what was real.

The celebration of Jesus birth is over.  Were you too busy to hear the angels this Christmas?  Were you too blind to see God’s gift to you?

2:21 On the 8th day Jesus was circumcised and named.  This was the proper thing to do.

2:22 After the 40 days of Mary’s purification period, both Mary and Joseph went back to the Temple to dedicate their first born to the Lord and offer the required sacrifice.  Normally a lamb was required, but if you could not afford a lamb then 2 doves were proper.  Isn’t it interesting that Jesus was later identified as the Lamb of God?

2:25-35

Some believe that Simeon was over 100 years old.  His final goal in life was to see the Savior, the consolation of Israel.  He had prepared his heart and was expecting the Savior any time.  He was righteous and devout and full of the Holy Spirit and still unfulfilled.  Without Jesus his spiritual life was incomplete.  More than anything else, he wanted to see Jesus.

Knowing Jesus is the most incredible thing that we can experience.  All other paths and dreams end at the cemetery.  Simeon never lost hope.  He expected God to fulfill His promise.  Do you live life expectantly?  Are you pregnant with the promises of God?

2:25  “He was just and devout,” just towards men and devout towards God.  One tradition tells about a Simeon who had the highest title of the scholars, Rabban, which was given to only 7 of the Sanhedrin doctors.  It is recorded that this Simeon had a well known prophetical spirit.  He was gentle, wise, and respected by all the people but he was removed from his position because he did not believe the kingdom of God was a temporal political kingdom like the Maccabaeus tried to install.  There is no mention of his name beyond the time of Christ.

2:27  On this day he was moved to go back to the temple.  He did not get out much.  Everyone recognized him as he walked to the temple.  God was speaking to his heart to go to the temple.  He was excited.  He did not get out much, but today he felt drawn back to the temple.  He was promised to have a sight of the Messiah.  Was today the day?

What do you suppose he was expecting?  A soldier on a white horse?  A teacher in a long robe?  A cloud filling the temple like Isaiah?  Was he thinking of finding an adult, a child, or a baby?  He got there and looked around.  Nothing was out of the ordinary.  It was still noisy.  It smelled the same.  Then he saw this very humble family bring in a month old baby.  He had dedicated many children in the past.  He was being drawn to this family.  Did this family know something about the Messiah?  Then he saw God in the eyes of the baby.  And more than just seeing, he took him in his arms and praised God.  God had promised him that he would see the Messiah, but never in his dreams had he imagined holding God’s promise in his arms.

Simeon personally received Jesus.  He did not admire Him from a distance.  I’m not sure he asked permission to hold him.  He grabbed the opportunity to cuddle the promised child and praised God.  He had waited.  He expected.  He received.  Now your physical self can be the temple of God.  The gift of God can be in you.

With overwhelming joy he believed the child in his arms was the promised savior.  The tears were flowing.  It felt like he was on a mountain with clean rarified air.  Praise erupted from his heart.  This is the 5th song in Luke.

2:29  Sovereign Lord, You have kept your promise.  All my hopes and dreams have been fulfilled.  My eyes are seeing your gift to all nations.  My arms are holding the most precious gift ever given to men.  He will bring light to all people and glory to God through the Jews.

This gift from God to the world is going to grow up in the sight of all people.  He will not be hid in a corner, but a light to those living in darkness.

2:33 Joseph and Mary were speechless.  Sometimes it is wise to keep our mouths shut.

2:34 Simeon blesses these young parents and tells Mary a little of what is happening.  This child is now the dividing point of history.  He is the dividing line of nations.  He is the dividing choice of all people.  He will be a sanctuary to some and a snare to others.  He will be a sign to be admired by some, but spoken against by others.  Men will be judged by the thoughts they have concerning this child.  A sword will pierce His body and your heart.  He will suffer and you will suffer with him.

He is prepared for the re-birth of many, the conversion of many that are dead and buried in sin will receive new life.  He will be the consolation and comfort of many that are lost in sorrow and despair.  He brings peace.

2:36  Anna, a prophetess, may have heard the praise and noticed what was going on.  Maybe she came to greet Simeon as an old friend.  Then she saw the face of the baby in Simeon’s arms.

Anna could have been a widow for 84 years or she may have just been 84 years old.  So she could have been well over 100 years old.  She had the Spirit of prophecy which had been absent in Israel for over 300 years.  She was the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher, which was in Galilee.  Could anything good come out of Galilee?  One of the poorest tribes with a poor reputation was becoming a light to all nations.

2:37  She worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.  She became known for here devotions and her prophetic words.  She may have had an apartment in the temple.  As a prophetess, she may have had on office area where she could be consulted and teach those wanting to know the mind of God.  When any good work was to be done, she was ready to join in.  When you went to the temple, you could always find Anna.  She was always praying.  She was expecting God to do a new thing.

2:38  She came close to them and started giving thanks to God.  She confirmed what Simeon had just said.  She talked to those listening and said if you want to know how God is going to set Jerusalem free from slavery, come close to this child.  Jesus would redeem all mankind.  Those who know Jesus have a reason to praise God and give thanks.

2:39-40  Luke does not mention the wise men and the stay in Egypt.  Joseph and Mary were careful to do everything required by the Law.  Mary was now ritually clean.  This first born was dedicated to the Lord.  They returned to Nazareth in Galilee.  Jesus grew up like any other child, yet without sin.  Did Mary assume all her kids would be this good?  How was Jesus filled with wisdom?  How can we know that the grace of God is on our kids?

2:41-52  Jesus probably went with Joseph every year to one of the feasts.  Because he was illegitimate he could not attend Bar Mitzvah.  As a 12 year old He would have been expected to be able to read from the Torah.  He was now expected to keep the law on his own.  He was expected to fast on the Day of Atonement.

For the Feast of Passover all Jews were expected to participate the first 2 days.  All the requirements of the law could be fulfilled the first 2 days.  But Joseph and Mary stayed the full 7 days before heading home.

2:43  Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem and they did not know it.  Families and relatives traveled together.

2:46  After 3 days they found him listening and asking questions.  What a model for us and our kids.  Asking a good question is much better than making a profound statement.  I understand there is a reason God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth.

Jesus was sitting in the midst of them, not standing as a normal Bar Mitzvah student being questioned regarding the Torah.  They were allowing him to sit among them.

2:48  Don’t you know your father and I have been worried sick about you?

2:49  Mother I thought you knew my Father’s house is where I should spend some time.  My Father spoke to both of you through angels.  Don’t you remember?  They did not understand.

Jesus could have said, “Just go home.”  I’ll catch up later.  Instead He gave us an example of submission.

Our culture has trouble with submission.  Like Jesus, we may need to be submissive sometimes when the other person is wrong.  The parents did not understand, but they were in authority over Him.

Submission promotes humility.  It is attractive.

Psalm 22:9-10  Jesus knew the voice of His Father while in the womb.

We have this record of one time when Jesus withdrew himself from his parents, to attend his heavenly Father’s business.

2:52  He increased in wisdom and stature as a human.  It is assumed that the divinity that dwelt in him gradually came to His consciousness in proportion to his capacity.  As the faculties of his human soul grew more and more capable, the gifts it received from the divine nature were more and more communicated.  He increased in those graces that made him acceptable to God and man.

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