Simeon and Anna form the afterword of the story of Jesus’ birth. They enter the story forty-one days after the birth when Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple for the offering of purification and Jesus’ dedication to the Lord.
Simeon was called righteous and devout. He also practiced the admonition of Scripture and was waiting for the Lord to come. The Bible also records that Simeon was filled with the Holy Spirit. This filling was possible because Simeon allowed the Holy Spirit to have full control of his life. We can recognize the Spirit’s control by Simeon’s response when Jesus was brought into the temple; he knew the child was the person he was waiting for. Simeon had been given a very special promise from God – he would see the Messiah before he died.
Anna loved God as well. She had been serving in the temple for many years. She was a widow who had spent most of her life as a widow. No children are mentioned in the Bible; so it would seem that not only was she a widow, but she was also childless. This could have been a lonely life, except that she filled her life with service for God. She was also a woman who was filled with the Holy Spirit. Her response to seeing Jesus is our clue to this quality of Anna. When she saw Jesus, she praised God and told others about Jesus as well. When you read Luke 2:38, you see the pronoun he. The he could refer to God or it could refer to Jesus. I believe that it must refer to Jesus, because the people to whom she spoke were the ones who were looking for redemption. Redemption comes through the Messiah, who Anna realized was Jesus, the child she had just seen.
Simeon and Anna were blessed. They saw the Messiah and actually knew who He was. They had waited many years for this moment. They didn’t lose faith in God; they believed that He would keep His word.
Our response should be the same as Simeon and Anna’s, believe God’s Word. He will keep His promises. We will be blessed as well. If we put our trust in God, we will daily experience His help and guidance. Ultimately we will see Him face to face and be able to live with Him forever.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord,
that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord,
will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God,
and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together
with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,
and so we shall always be with the Lord.
Therefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:14-18
This story began with a prophecy, Zecharias’s prophecy concerning the work that the Messiah would perform.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of David His servant—
As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old—
Salvation FROM OUR ENEMIES,
And FROM THE HAND OF ALL WHO HATE US;
To show mercy toward our fathers,
And to remember His holy covenant,
The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,
To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
The story ends with another prophecy, Simeon’s. This prophecy pointed to the death of the Messiah. Simeon did not talk specifically about how the Messiah would die, but the idea of a sword piercing Mary’s soul gives a solemn tone to this prophecy.
And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother,
“Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and for a sign to be opposed— and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Jesus’ birth was announced by angels. He was visited by plain shepherds and extraordinary wise men. He was blessed by two patient, God-fearing people. He was loved and cared for by two ordinary people, Joseph and Mary. Simeon hinted that Jesus’ end would be sorrowful. It was a sorrow with the purpose to bring each of us to God.
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return;
while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness;
for by His wounds you were healed.
1 Peter 2:21-24