Chapter 6 - Senior Saints Seek The Saviour
Helen Dowd

Simeon and Anna's Dream Fulfilled

The devout in Israel had watched so long for the promised Messiah that they knew every sign given them by the prophets of old. And now it was evident that the time was imminent. Their Messiah must come soon. Many of the very devout believed that they would not die until their eyes had seen His coming. Simeon and Anna were two such people.

Luke 2:30 - Simeon: "For mine eyes have seen thy salvation..."
Luke 2:38 - Anna: "And she gave thanks unto the Lord."

Historical Setting:
Time:
Forty days after Christ's birth - about 4 B.C.
Place: The Temple at Jerusalem
Persons: Simeon, Anna, Mary and Joseph and the Baby
Scripture: Luke 2:21-39

According to the Law, Leviticus 12:3 a Jewish boy was to be circumcised when he was eight days old. It was very important for Mary and Joseph to follow all the Jewish laws. After all, they were laws laid down by God, and this Baby was the Son of God. So on the eighth day Mary took her Son to be circumcised. She had already been told by the angel, before His birth, that His name would be Jesus, but at this ceremony she made it official.

It was now forty days after Jesus' birth. Moses, under the direction of God, had laid down **certain laws that must be carried out. One of these laws was that a new mother of a son must go through a certain ceremony to be declared clean. At this ceremony a lamb for those who could afford it or two pigeons for those who could not, were to be offered. Leviticus 12:6

God had chosen that His Son should be born into a family who were considered poor. Had Jesus been born into a wealthy, or even moderately well off home, many of the world's destitute might feel that they were unworthy of God's Salvation. But God sent His Son into the world for ALL. John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Jesus' family brought two pigeons to the temple in Jerusalem, for their sacrifice. It was time to present the Baby to God.

Many of the very devout believed that they would not die until their eyes had seen His coming.

Simeon Sees The Savior

The Holy Spirit had revealed to one of these very devout believers that he would not die until he had seen the "Consolation of Israel. " As he did every day for as long as he could remember, Simeon went to the Temple. He was now a very old man and would welcome death, but not until he had seen Israel's salvation. Simeon knew the time had come. He had had a dream. Today would be special. Today was the day he had been waiting for. Today he would meet the Redeemer face to face.

"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, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God. 2:27-28.]

"Now I can die in peace," Simeon said, "for my eyes have seen Your salvation. A long time ago You promised that You would send a Redeemer for ALL people - a light for the Gentiles and a glory for Your People Israel."

Mary and Joseph stood in awe as the old man poured out a blessing on their Son. "How could Simeon have known?" Yet, in their hearts they knew how Simeon knew. God had revealed His Son to this Godly man in the same manner as He had revealed Him to the humble shepherds, and to themselves.

Simeon continued his blessing. He laid his hands on Mary and said: "This child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. 2:34-35. Mary would not understand what these words meant, until many years later, when she witnessed the death of her Son, the Son of God, on the cross of Calvary.

Simeon's blessing was finished. He now could die in peace. God had sent His promised Messiah to free Israel--and the entire world--from the bondage of sin.

Anna Awaits

Not only did Simeon await the announcement of the Messiah, but so also did a very elderly prophetess, Anna. She was looking forward to the time when Israel would once again be free from Roman oppression. "There was one Anna, a prophetess the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; and was a widow about fourscore and four years." 2:36-37

Anna had lost her husband after only seven years of marriage. At the time she was still very young. According to ancient Hebrew customs, the minimum marriage age was fourteen. So Anna could have been as young as twenty-one when her husband died. Ever since that time she had served in the Temple. And now she was at least eighty-four, if not older.

Daily Anna preformed the duties that were assigned to her, and every day she wondered when that day would come that she knew in her heart would happen: the day when she would hold the Christ Child in her arms and bless Him.

And now that special day was here. While she was doing her Temple duties, she had noticed a couple come in, with a Baby in their arms. She had witnessed the blessing by Simeon, the elderly man of God whom she had seen every day at the temple. Right away Anna knew that this was the Promised One. She took the Baby in her arms and blessed Him. Now she was ready to die whenever God called her. Her eyes had seen the glory of the Lord.

Joseph and Mary had finished all the ceremonies required by law. * They could now return to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth. Everything that had transpired since their arrival in Jerusalem, all the special blessings, all the puzzling words that had been spoken by the two elderly people of God, Mary kept stored in her heart. She would not fully realize what they meant, until many years later.

* Please Note: The stories up to here are ones presented by Luke. He omitted telling us that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus went to Bethlehem from Jerusalem and then took their flight into Egypt before returning to Nazareth. Matthew makes this clear by taking up the story while they were in Bethlehem following the presentation in the temple. So if there seems to be a discrepancy, there isn't. It is just that two people used by God to record the events on and around Christ's birth, are telling their stories from two different points of view.

Luke does not tell about the wise men's visit, or of the flight to Egypt. The next two stories will be from Matthew's point of view.

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Helen Dowd

Continue with Study 7 - Wise Men Follow The Star



  

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