Here is what I learned while I studied these verses.
First— Once again we see that God is Faithful…. God does what he says he is going to do… Simeon had been promised that He would not die before seeing the Messiah. We see God’s promise to Simeon fulfilled. That still leaves Anna, there is not any promise mentioned here. What little we know about Anna is just these few things, her family line, Asher, she was a prophetess, and she wasn’t just old, she was “very old.” We are told how after being married for 7 years, her husband died, and she lived as a widow for a long period of time. Is she 84 when this story takes place? Or as the original Greek seems to say, she lived as a widow for 84 years….. so 84, + 7 + however old she was when she was married… 14-15-16—- That would make her “very old” and what is this “very old” woman doing with her life. We read…
“She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying”
So in the example of Simeon, I can look and say, God is so faithful, he does what he says he is going to do. In Anna I look at her story and what I see is When People Are Faithful, God blesses them. I think Anna was being extremely faithful. How many of us, whenever we get to that age of being “very-old” would be at the temple everyday worshiping, fasting, and praying? Well the good news is that God does not want most of us to be at church every day, worshiping, fasting and praying.
In Anna & Simeon, we have two different people. Two different lives lived. What is similar is that they are both being faithful. They are being who God created them to be. Simeon, a righteous and devote man, was waiting for the Messiah. God through the Spirit tells him. You will not die before seeing the Messiah in flesh. Simeon gets this promise from God, and then stays faithful. He does not rest saying, well I can just sit around and God will bring the Messiah to me, after all he promised me I would see him. No He continues being righteous, devoted, faithful so that when the Holy Spirit calls he hears it…
“Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.”
Anna just doing what she does everyday…. at the temple, praying, fasting, worshiping. Then she sees this little baby, and somehow she recognizes him the Messiah. She thanks God, and then goes around telling people about the baby Jesus. Here is the one we have been waiting for. Our Messiah has come. God uses unexpected people to share the unexpected good news of Jesus. Just like the shepherds from the Nativity Story earlier in the second chapter of Luke:
“When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”
For me when I read the story of Mary & Joseph taking baby Jesus into the temple, having this encounter with Simeon, and then Anna…. It not only shows me that God is Faithful, it shows me God blesses people who are faithful. God rewards people who are faithful!! and usually the way he does it, is with other faithful people….. Joseph & Mary— They were being faithful…. They have both been told, by Angels and people, Mary’s baby, is the long-awaited Messiah. Joseph is not the birth father, God through the Spirit is the real Father. Joseph will serve as a faithful earthly father. I like most men, if I had found out our baby was the Messiah, I would be like, why do we have to do all this religious stuff, he is the Messiah, He is God… What does it matter, why follow God’s Law, He is God’s Law.
Yet Joseph and Mary did everything required of the God’s Law….. No shortcuts….
Circumcised, named the baby Jesus, brought him to the temple….
They were faithful & God rewards them with the affirmations and blessings from Simeon and Anna.
“The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them”
Maybe God knew they needed some reassurance. After all it had been over five weeks. The shepherds had left, It was just Mary, Joseph, and this little baby Jesus. They had left the birthplace Bethlehem, made their way to Jerusalem, to the temple. And they get this unexpected Blessing, having two different people again confirm to them, yes this is the Messiah. This little baby boy, was the long-awaited Messiah……
Here is what my main take away is…God blesses people who are faithful to Him. In today’s story God is showing us how God Blesses people who are faithful. So what should our response be to God being faithful? If you agree with me that God is Faithful, what should your response be? If we accept God as being faithful, should not we in return do everything possible to be faithful to God? “If God is Faithful, We should be Faithful.”
For me, the best way for me to be faithful is to be who God created me to be. Our relationship with God is meant to be two-way. God loves us, wants us to grow into the fullness of what we are destined for. Once we discover that, we can not help but love and worship God. So how is your relationship with God? Do you talk with him daily? God wants nothing more from you than to be who he created you to be. The person he loved from the beginning, the person you are today, God loves You!
God is Faithful, what is your response?
(based on my message from 12/31/17)