! The Lessons for the Last Days
Simeon’s Prophecy and Anna’s Testimony
As I read through this account I want you to pick up on the character qualities of Simeon, Anna and the priest, they were looking for the 1st coming of Jesus, we are looking for the 2nd coming – ask yourself the question what is God trying to teach us about how we should be living in these last days until Jesus comes?
· Read the passage with emphasis
Before we get started at looking at the text, to have a fuller understanding of its meaning we need to look at its historical background first, in other words what it meant to the first readers, why did they do what they were doing – and from that we can learn the correct lessons to apply to this text.
Come back and see verses 22 – 24 to get the context.
The first thing to notice is that it is in a temple setting, it is associated with the sanctuary and its services – keep that in the back of your mind as we move through.
The Requirements of The Law
1. Jewish law required that after the birth of a male child his mother was regarded as ‘unclean’ for 7 days and had to remain at home for a further 33, after which on the 40th day a purification sacrifice had to be offered (Lev.
This could be done only at Jerusalem and necessitated a journey there.
Although Luke says /their/ purification, it was only Mary and not her child who needed to be purified.
Luke has run together the purification of the mother and the ‘redemption’ of her child.
The sacrifice offered was the less expensive one, of only two pigeons, permitted to poor people,—a reference to the ‘humble’ status of Joseph and Mary.
If able, they would have offered a lamb (Lev.
The law required that each firstborn son of a Jewish family belongs to the Lord and must be redeemed (Exodus 13–16).
All firstborn creatures were regarded as consecrated to God.
This was expressed by sacrificing the firstborn of animals and by making a payment of five shekels in lieu of children when they were a month old.
13:13; Nu. 18:15–16).
The law did not require the presence of the child at the temple for this purpose.
Jesus was present because Mary seems also to have made a special offering of her child to God for his service, just as Hannah had given Samuel to God at the tabernacle.
(1 Sa. 1:11, 21–28) In these ways all possible requirements of the law were fulfilled (Gal.
· About forty days after the birth of Christ, Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, and to offer sacrifice.
This was according to the Jewish law, and as man’s substitute Christ must conform to the law in every particular.
He had already been subjected to the rite of circumcision, as a pledge of His obedience to the law.
· As an offering for the mother, the law required a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering.
But the law provided that if the parents were too poor to bring two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering, the other for a sin offering, might be accepted.
· The offerings presented to the Lord were to be without blemish.
These offerings represented Christ, and from this it is evident that Jesus Himself was free from physical deformity.
He was the "lamb without blemish and without spot." 1 Peter 1:19.
· The dedication of the first-born had its origin in the earliest times.
God had promised to give the First-born of heaven to save the sinner.
This gift was to be acknowledged in every household by the consecration of the first-born son.
He was to be devoted to the priesthood, as a representative of Christ among men.
· In the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, the dedication of the first-born was again commanded.
While the children of Israel were in bondage to the Egyptians, the Lord directed Moses to go to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and say, “Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, even My first-born: and I say unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy first-born.”
Ex. 4:22, 23.
· Moses delivered his message; The Lord worked for His people by signs and wonders, sending terrible judgments upon Pharaoh. the destroying angel was bidden to slay the first-born of man and beast among the Egyptians.
That the Israelites might be spared, they were directed to place upon their doorposts the blood of a slain lamb.
Every house was to be marked, that when the angel came on his mission of death, he might pass over the homes of the Israelites.
· After sending this judgment upon Egypt, the Lord said to Moses, "Sanctify unto Me all the first-born, both of man and of beast: it is Mine;" "for on the day that I smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto Me all the first-born in Israel, both man and beast: Mine shall they be: I am the Lord."
Ex. 13:2; Num.
3:13. the first-born were regarded as the Lord’s, and were to be bought back by a ransom.
· Thus the law for the presentation of the first-born was made particularly significant.
While it was a memorial of the Lord’s wonderful deliverance of the children of Israel, it prefigured a greater deliverance, to be wrought out by the only-begotten Son of God.
As the blood sprinkled on the doorposts had saved the first-born of Israel, so the blood of Christ has power to save the world today.
It is with that background, that the theme of redemption and sacrifice had its echo’s in the passage we are looking at today – it was these great themes from the saving acts of God, did Mary and Joseph recognize the significance of the event.
And if you want some good reading this afternoon, read desire of ages chapter 5 called “The Dedication” – where I got a lot of ideas for this sermon from.
Lets look at the main parts of the story
· /Two elderly Israelites consoled by his coming./
· A prophet named Simeon (2:25–35) and a prophetess named Anna (2:36–38) testified to the identity of the infant Christ.
· Both were elderly, and Anna was a widow.
· God had told Simeon, who was waiting for “the Messiah to come and rescue Israel,” that he would see the Messiah before he died.
· Anna told “everyone who had been waiting for the promised King” that their Redeemer had come.
One of the first characters we encounter is Simeon, what can learn about this man from the Bible?
!!! Simeon – a character sketch
There was nothing special about Simeon that qualified him to take up the Christ child in his arms and bless Him.
To our knowledge he was not an ordained religious leader, and he had no credentials or special authority.
He was simply a “just and devout” man who had a close walk with God, a layman in today’s terms.
Simeon, whose name means “God hears,” is an example of how God honors those who engage in quiet prayer and constant watchfulness.
Simeon was a man of patient faith, yet his wait for the Messiah must have seemed never-ending.
He likely had many opportunities for doubt, as numerous would-be Messiahs would have sounded many false alarms in the land.
Yet somehow he knew that the Redeemer would first come not as a great, heavenly champion wrapped in banners of nationalism, nor with a political agenda of violence, but as a Baby carried in the arms of His parents.
His kingdom would prove to be a stumbling block to some and the Rock of salvation to others, for both Jew and Gentile
!! v25 – And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
The first thing I noticed is the phrase “just and devout”
· *Just and Devout*
Simeon was just and devout because he knew what God had done for him, he had saved the Jews from slavery in Egypt (from the bondage of sin, idolatry, the practice of occultism and witchcraft, and from oppression), He had brought them out of bondage and thru the other side to the promised land, His promises had come true, and now Simeon a student of prophecy knew that their saviour was soon to arrive.
By being he was devoted, pious and humble of heart in his duties to God, and he was just and fair in his conduct to his fellow man = I wonder is this how we are living today as we are getting ready in these last days, waiting and watching for the coming of Jesus just like Simeon was in the Messiah’s 1st coming;
He was just and devout – not in the eyes of his fellow men, he did not crave their honour or flatteries, nor the prestige of the world, No – he was just and devout in the eyes of God.
Simeon was a humble man and a devout searcher of the scriptures, he must have had a strong faith and was not easily shaken, he had the same attitude as Zacharias and Elizabeth, Joseph, Mary (Luke 1:28), Anna, the wisemen (matt 2:11), Joseph of Arimathea (Mark 15:43) – it was to these people who were honouring and glorifying God through their lives that God saw fit to reveal the mysteries of His gospel
I am reminded of a passage from Micah 6:8
/Micah 6:8 - //He has shown you, O man, what is good; //And what does the Lord require of you //But to *do justly,** */*/To love mercy, /**/And to walk humbly with your God?/*
Do we do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly – even if we have been wronged?
Outward observances are valueless without true godliness inside of us; mere external religious practice cannot be a substitute for internal character and obedience.
God does not desire our substance but our spirit; not just our worship but our will; not just our service but our lives.
Like Simeon we also need to walk with God, because when men walk with God they order their lives in harmony with the will of God
Lets look at who walked with God?
Genesis 5:22 - …*Enoch* walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters.
Genesis 6:9 - …Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations.
*Noah* walked with God.
Deuteronomy 10:12 - “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to *walk in all His ways* and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul," – Simeon loved God
Jeremiah 7:23 - "/But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people.
*And walk in all the ways that I have commanded* you, that it may be well with you.’/" – Simeon obeyed God and has peace
We too need to walk with God – just like the great people of the Bible did.
The second thing to notice is that Simeon had an attitude of humble waiting
*Waiting for the Messiah*
We are told that Simeon was *waiting* for the consolation of Israel, this means if he was waiting he must have been watching for the coming of the Messiah; he could have only achieved this by close study of the scriptures and especially the prophecies of the Bible in particular Daniel – otherwise how would he have known to wait.
Because he was a humble man, who loved God and was looking for the Messiah – God opened his mind through the HS that he may know about Jesus’ appearance
And so we are reminded of Heb 9:28
“So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.