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Incarnation Contemplation - Simeon & Anna

Posted on December 22, 2015 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Simeon and Anna were elderly people who had anticipated the appearance of the Messiah for many years. Here are their stories.

 

Luke 2:21(VOICE) Eight days after His birth, the baby was circumcised in keeping with Jewish religious requirements, and He was named Jesus, the name the messenger had given Him before His conception in Mary’s womb. 22 After Mary had observed the ceremonial days of postpartum purification required by Mosaic law, she and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. 23 They were fulfilling the Lord’s requirement that “every firstborn Israelite male will be dedicated to the Eternal One as holy.” 24 They also offered the sacrifice required by the law of the Lord, “two turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

 

Jesus was circumcised as the Law required on the eighth day. After Mary waited the required 40 days for purification, Mary and Joseph took the baby to the Temple in Jerusalem. As the firstborn male, he was to be dedicated to God. Two turtledoves or two young pigeons was the sacrifice for poor people who did not own or have the ability to purchase a perfect lamb. However, they were dedicating THE PERFECT LAMB! At this time, He was given the name Jesus which means “Jehovah is generous. Jehovah saves.” God’s free gift of grace was purchased by Jesus on the cross to save us from our sins, a generous gift indeed. Before Jesus created the world, before He spoke everything into being, He was “…the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” Revelation 13:8b (KJV). This means that even before Adam and Eve could sin and be deceived, God in His mercy, had cleaned up the mess of sin. In God’s timing it was as if Jesus had already gone to the cross.

 

Luke 2:25 While fulfilling these sacred obligations at the temple, they encountered a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was a just and pious man, anticipating the liberation of Israel from her troubles. He was a man in touch with the Holy Spirit. 26 The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Anointed One. 27 The Spirit had led him to the temple that day, and there he saw the child Jesus in the arms of His parents, who were fulfilling their sacred obligations. 28 Simeon took Jesus into his arms and blessed God.

 

Simeon means “obedient, listening” in Hebrew. Simeon definitely was an obedient listener, hearing the Holy Spirit. For us to be enabled to hear the Holy Spirit, we must be obedient listeners. We must listen intently and intentionally. Simeon heard the Spirit in his heart assuring him he would live to see the Messiah. Somehow the Spirit prompted him to go to the temple that very day and hour that Jesus was being dedicated. There he saw baby Jesus in his parents arms and KNEW this infant was the Son of God. He was filled with hope, peace and comfort.

 

Luke 2:29 Simeon: Now, Lord and King, You can let me, Your humble servant, die in peace.

30 You promised me that I would see with my own eyes

what I’m seeing now: Your freedom,

31 Raised up in the presence of all peoples.

32 He is the light who reveals Your message to the other nations,

and He is the shining glory of Your covenant people, Israel.

 

Simeon now can rest because he not only believed that the Lord was in control but he had seen that the Lord was in control.  He had been allowed to see the promised Hope, our freedom the chain breaker, the One who delivers us from the prison of sin. He also acknowledged in his speech that Jesus was not for Israel alone. He was to make the message available to other nations.

 

Luke 2:33 His father and mother were stunned to hear Simeon say these things. 34 Simeon went on to bless them both, and to Mary in particular he gave predictions.

 

Simeon: Listen, this child will make many in Israel rise and fall. He will be a significant person whom many will oppose. 35 In the end, He will lay bare the secret thoughts of many hearts. And a sword will pierce even your own soul, Mary.

 

Jesus would have a polarizing effect on people. They would either recognize Him as the Messiah and be raised to walk with God, or they would reject Him and ultimately fall. He will be a significant person now seems to be a humongous understatement. Our entire western calendar revolves around Him. Granted, His life was unique, but one ordinary person can have a tremendous impact as well. I do not know how many days I have left, but I am determined to use my influence on behalf of God to the fullest extent of God’s ability within me. Exposing our secret thoughts is an intimidating and somewhat ominous proposition especially if we have not yet experienced God’s saving grace. Jesus makes our sin and failure apparent to us in order that we may see our need of Him and His availability to us when we surrender to Him.

 

Mary’s heart would be broken as she saw her innocent Son crucified. However, we know the rest of the story, that she would see Him raised from the dead!

 

Luke 2:36 At that very moment, an elderly woman named Anna stepped forward. Anna was a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for seven years before her husband died 37 and a widow to her current age of 84 years. She was deeply devoted to the Lord, constantly in the temple, fasting and praying. 38 When she approached Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, she began speaking out thanks to God, and she continued spreading the word about Jesus to all those who shared her hope for the rescue of Jerusalem.

 

Anna in Hebrew means “favor or grace, God has favored me”. God certainly favored Anna in allowing her to see the baby Savior. Anna’s husband died when they had been married only a brief time. What sustained Anna much of the time was not physical food, but prayer. She made the food for her spirit the priority rather than her physical appetite. At this point she was 84 years old. She, also, immediately knew that Jesus was the Messiah. But for her, it wasn’t time to go and rest. She now felt compelled to go and share the good news of this Messiah wrapped in the tender skin of a baby.

 

39 After fulfilling their sacred duties according to the law of the Lord, Mary and Joseph returned with Jesus to their own city of Nazareth in the province of Galilee. 40 There Jesus grew up, maturing in physical strength and increasing in wisdom, and the grace of God rested on Him.

 

After a brief sojourn in Egypt, they returned to Nazareth where Joseph worked as a carpenter. Jesus had to grow up and get stronger just like any other child. He had to satiate His hunger, hydrate, and eliminate just like the rest of us. He had to obey His parents (those He created). He was fully human yet fully divine.

 

APPLY THIS TO YOUR LIFE:

 

1. Remember that Jesus came with the cross already in view. Incarnation is not only about a baby in a manger.

 

2. Are we expecting Jesus to break through the clouds as if it could be today? And are we excitedly anticipating His moving in our lives right now?

 

3. No one knows how many days or years they have left to serve the Lord, but we can choose to live each moment with Jesus’ influence flowing through me in this life.

 

4. Anna had lived with an appetite for the Lord. Once she met Him, she was rejuvenated to share about Him with everyone. Share the Good News today!