Another devotional from Ann Schwarm. I am incredibly grateful to my co-conspirators in this devotional writing process.
Daily Scripture Reading: Luke 2:22-40
Simeon’s and Anna’s Prophecies
There is a lot of waiting associated with Christmas—waiting for packages to arrive on time, waiting for Christmas cards to be addressed and placed in the mail, waiting for family and friends to arrive, waiting for the turkey to roast and the rolls to rise, waiting for Christmas morning. Waiting!
But no one has experienced waiting quite like the two heroes of today’s scripture. Simeon and Anna were both very old. Simeon is characterized in verse 25 as “righteous and devout…and the Holy Spirit was on him.” The widow Anna “never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying” (verse 37a).
The Holy Spirit led Simeon to the temple that day. Anna was already there, a temple regular worshiping and serving. These patient, spiritually sensitive individuals met Jesus and knew that they had laid eyes on the Lord’s Messiah. This passage from Luke tells us of the promise made to Simeon and what Anna did next. The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Thus, the promise was fulfilled that day. I wonder if Simeon, who was quite elderly, then sat quietly contemplating his own death. I think perhaps he did since he said in verse 26 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace for my eyes have seen your salvation….” Anna, after giving thanks to God, spoke about Jesus to everyone who was waiting for God to rescue Jerusalem. Since she spent “night and day” at the temple, Anna must have been well known to many. After decades of prayer and worship, Anna was able to share from her deep well of faith and understanding.
Two faith-filled, spirit-filled individuals recognized what was right before them that day. To others, Jesus must have looked like any other baby and Mary and Joseph like any other new parents doing what was required of them. Those of the Jewish faith were well acquainted with the Old Testament prophies (Isaiah and others) regarding the Messiah. Simeon and Anna’s clear understanding of God’s plans provide timeless examples of faithful anticipation. While others “missed it,” these two senior saints praised God and spoke to others with powerful authority rooted in their faith and their age.
Have you ever waited what seemed to be a very long time for God to answer your prayer? What insights from today’s scripture do you take with you for the next time waiting for God’s answer is required?
Have you ever feared that “something big” was happening and that you might miss it? What lessons can be learned from this gospel lesson?
Did you notice that in verses 31-32 (NIV), Simeon references “all nations,” “Gentiles” and “your people Israel”? What do you believe he was saying?
Dear Lord, Thank you for the steadfast, faithful examples of Simeon and Anna. Help me to emulate their time-tested devotion to You. Please let the Holy Spirit grow in me patience, faith and hope.
In Christ’s Name I pray. Amen
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