Luke 2:25-41 (ESV)
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous 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. And he came in 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 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
These two people, Simeon and Anna, advanced in age, and living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, recognized Jesus as the Messiah, and announced it to any who were in the Temple, paying attention. But how many people paid attention to them? The Scriptures do not tell of any who were influenced toward faith in Him. I wonder if this is because people thought of Simeon and Anna as old people, a bit crazy, always talking about the coming savior, and possibly senile?
Was there any lasting effect from these proclamations? We don’t know for certain. All we know is that they made public proclamations, and there did not seem to be any lasting effect. I would think that some people made note of it, due to the esteem that older people were given back then.
Mary must have at this point wondered what Simeon meant that a sword would pierce her soul. She knew that He would redeem His people Israel, as Gabriel had told her so. But I don’t think at this point she understood the full picture.
As we ponder the message of the birth and presentation of Christ (the Christmas Story), let us think about what allowing Christ to be in charge of our lives might mean. God asks His people to do strange things sometimes: loving those who hate them, blessing those who persecute them, turning the other cheek, etc.
How can we be Christ to the people we meet this week? I try to do my best at my job, and take care of my customers the way I would want to be cared for. As it says in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Whatever we do, wherever we work, you and I can be the picture of Christ to others!
by Virgil Stripes
Photo: The "Damascus Gate" into the Old City of Jerusalem.