31 Days of the Christmas Story from Genesis to John: Day 27 – Simeon and Anna in the temple

Rembrandt painting of Simeon at the Temple, painted in 1631

The first revelation that the Messiah had been born was told to the shepherds. Next, before the Wise Men arrived, the Messiah baby was recognized by Simeon and Anna in the temple. Mary and Joseph had traveled to Jerusalem, about six miles north of Bethlehem, to present the baby Jesus to the Lord. Luke tells us their story.

When the days of their purification (40 days) according to the law of Moses were finished, Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (just as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male will be dedicated to the Lord) and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons) – for a poor family.

There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple complex. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law, Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said:

Now, Master,
You can dismiss Your servant in peace,
as You promised.
For my eyes have seen Your salvation.
You have prepared it
in the presence of all peoples—
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and glory to Your people Israel.

His father and mother were amazed at what was being said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed— and a sword will pierce your own soul (testifying that Mary would suffer at seeing her son’s crucifixion)—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (those of the Pharisees, Sadducees and others).

There was also a prophetess, Anna, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well along in years, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and was a widow for 84 years. She did not leave the temple complex, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers. At that very moment, she came up and began to thank God and to speak about Him to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

– from Luke chapter 2

May you get to know this Jesus, the One that was sent as the Messiah to all the world.

* Merry Christmas *

In Jesus’ Words: Lamentation over Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-39)

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem! The city who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, yet you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will never see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'” – Matthew 23:37-39

In the final days of Jesus’ ministry, he expresses his sorrow and immense desire for the repentance of the nation of Israel.  And with this statement, he announces that his public teaching ministry is over – no more arguments with the Pharisees or teaching in the synagogue.  What is about to follow, which we will see in the next chapter of Matthew, is called the Olivet Discourse, where Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives and speaks about the end times.  This was also amazingly predicted by the prophet Ezekiel when he spoke to the Jewish exiles in Ezekiel 11:23: “The glory of the Lord rose up from within the city and stood on the mountains east of the city.” (Mount of Olives)

Jesus ends his lamentation to Israel by quoting from Psalm 118:26:

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.