Seeing God’s Salvation and Bearing Witness to the Redeemer (Luke 2:25-38)

By Donald Whitchard

Leviticus 19:32, Luke 2:25-38,1 Timothy 5:1-2, Proverbs 23:22, Exodus 20:12

 

Summary: Two aged and faithful servants of the LORD, Simeon, and Anna, had their prayers answered when they beheld the arrival of the Promised Deliverer of Israel, coming to them as a baby in the arms of His parents.  Their words of praise and blessing still resound today.

 

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. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the LORD’S Christ. So, he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, ‘LORD, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all peoples; a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.’

Jospeh and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, ‘Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against. Yes, a sword will pierce your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’ Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age and lived with a husband seven years from her virginity This woman was widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant, she gave thanks to the LORD, and spoke of Him to all those who look for redemption in Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:25-38, NKJV)

 

The Promised Lamb of God had been born.  God had stepped out of eternity and entered the realm of human history.  In his account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, Luke now takes us to Jerusalem for an event that occurred forty days after the very first Christmas (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-20).  When Jesus was eight days old, He was circumcised as prescribed by the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12:3).  After forty days, Mary reached the end of her purification period (Leviticus 12:1-4).  In these verses, we are allowed to go to the LORD’S house with Jesus and His parents as they take Him to be presented to the LORD and redeemed in accordance with the Law (Deuteronomy 18:4).  As the sinless Son of God, He kept the Law perfectly, and this ritual was the fulfillment of that Law.  Even as a newborn baby, God the Father was sustaining Him, keeping Him pure in every way in order that He would be the perfect, sinless sacrifice for our sins upon the cross years later.  While there, a special event took place.  Two aged saints of God, Simeon, and Anna, were in the Temple because the Holy Spirit had led them there.  They were part of the faithful Jewish remnant who were looking for the appearance of the Messiah.  When they saw Jesus that day, even though He was a forty-day old infant, they were overjoyed and began to give praises to the LORD.  That appearance had come.

When Simeon entered the Temple and took Jesus into his arms, the old man declared for everyone to hear the reasons for his joy.  In his words were reasons for him and everyone else to give praise to God.  In verses 26-30, Simeon’s name means “He who hears.”  It was evident in Luke’s description that Simeon had been sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit for most of his life.  He followed the path of righteousness and listened to the words and guidance of God.  This faithful service was now to be graciously rewarded.  The Holy Spirit told Simeon that he would not see death until he had seen the Christ, the Jewish Messiah, and the Savior of the world for himself.  When Simeon saw Jesus, he was notified by the Holy Spirit that this was Him.  He then began to praise God because of Who had entered the world.  He understood that this Child was “the LORD’S Christ” and the LORD’S “salvation (vv.26,28).  Simeon understood Who He was, but few others did.  On the night Jesus had been born, lowly shepherds became aware of Who He was.  The angels of heaven knew Who He was, but many others then had no idea of Who He was.  Certainly not the priest who performed His circumcision, nor the other worshippers in the Temple that day.  The citizens of Bethlehem had no ideas who He was, and people currently do not know or refuse to know Him.

This baby was God in human flesh (John 1:1, 14; Philippians 2:5-8).  He is the Lamb of God slain from before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:18-20) and is the ONLY Savior of sinners and the Way to God (John 8:24, 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 John 5:12).  Simeon was excited because the Promised One of God had appeared.  He knew Who Jesus was, and the question is, do you know Him like Simeon did?  If so, then you have every right to give praise to God as he did.  Simeon gave praise to God because of why Jesus had arrived (vv.30-32).  He is the promised One who would provide salvation to His people as well as the Gentiles (v.30).  He had come to change the entire world, and His ministry would impact not just the nation of Israel, but even into the Gentile world (Isaiah 53:4-6; John 3:16; Revelation 22:17).  Simeon continued his praises in verses 34-35 because of what the Messiah would accomplish.  He would be the fulfillment of prophecy written in the Scriptures (Isaiah 8:14; Psalm 118:32).  Many in Israel would “stumble” over the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus.  They would stumble in rejection and conviction, but a remnant would rise again in salvation.

Jesus was also the Sign, or miracle from God.  But instead of receiving Him as the gift and revelation of God, His enemies attacked and crucified Him.  His birth was a miracle, and they attacked it (John 8:41).  His miracles were both ridiculed and attributed to the work of Satan (Matthew 12:22-24).  His character was often questioned (John 8:48, 52, 9:24) and He was cruelly mocked as He died on the cross (Matthew 27:39-44).  They spread lies about His resurrection (Matthew 27:62-66) and even today, His character, holiness, and mission are the source of vile ridicule, satire, and malevolent slander even today as prophesied in the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:1-8; 2 Peter 3:3-18).  Simeon talked about a “sword” that would pierce the heart of Mary.  This came to pass when she witnessed the crucifixion and death of Jesus as He fulfilled His Father’s plan.  A mother’s heart was torn that day as she saw Him dying on the cross for sinners, which included her as well.  The sorrow she bore and the despair from all who had followed Him would turn into joy when He arose from the dead as He promised (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18,30-31; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

The vocal, visible, and verbal praises that Simeon and Anna offered to God that day were authentic and from the heart.  Their prayers had been wonderfully answered, and they could not help but openly and boldly proclaim their thanks, gratitude, and love to the Sovereign LORD God Almighty for His promises, greatness, and act of provision towards us, unworthy sinners who deserve nothing from Him except wrath and just punishment for our rebellious and wicked ways (Romans 5:6-11).  Their praises exalted the Sovereign, the saints were edified, and the sinners who heard these words and songs of testimony were evangelized.  There is not a lot of genuine praise given to the LORD in these last days, but that is no excuse for us to follow in that path.  We have a reason to give God glory, as did Simeon and Anna, and all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation and eternal life.  Read the following psalms and see that He is truly worthy of honor, praise, and glory (Psalm 47:1, 51:13, 63:4 98:4, 107:2, 132:4, 135:1; Hebrews 13:15; Revelation 4:1-11).  He came to this world to save us from sin and death.  Even those of us who were reared in more “formal settings” ought to say, “Hallelujah” occasionally.  We have good reasons.

 

donaldwhitchard@gmail.com

www.realitycityreverend.com

YouTube: The Reality City Review

 

(My thanks to Bro. Alan Parr and the Sermon Notebook for providing a format upon which to prepare this message – DRW).

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