The Child's Future
The Significance of His Birth
Day 20 Friday, December 17th
1. Recognize the Context:
After the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph presented the purification offering (Leviticus 12) and dedicated Jesus in the temple as their firstborn (Exodus 13:2, 12). While at the temple, Simeon, a righteous and devout man, met Joseph and Mary. When they dedicated Jesus, Simeon held him and praised God with a song (2:29-32). As God had promised, Simeon had looked into the very eyes of salvation (1:69, 2:11). Simeon’s song indicated God’s salvation would be seen by “all the nations.” This salvation would be revealed to the pagan Gentile nations, but it would also bring glory to the people of Israel.
2. Read the Scripture: Luke 2:33-38
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
3. Reflect on the Scripture:
Upon hearing the words of Simeon, Joseph and Mary became the ones to marvel, even after all they had already experienced. Then Simeon’s “blessing” took on an ominous tone. Jesus’ mission and ministry would divide people, cause many to speak against him, and reveal hearts. The result of Jesus’ ministry would cause Mary grief (verses 34-35). We know he was referring to the crucifixion.
Anna is then introduced into the narrative. She was a widowed prophetess who lived in the temple precinct (verses 36-37). Her Jewish heritage was established, and her passion for God’s intervention in the lives of his people affirmed. She continually prayed and fasted because she longed to see the redemption of Jerusalem (2:25).
In verse 37, Luke informs the reader that Anna came up to Mary and Joseph “at that very moment.” Anna then gave thanks to God and spoke to others there who longed for God’s intervention in the life of his people. Both Simeon and Anna served as witnesses in their own unique way. The precedent of two giving testimony reflected the practice of the Old Testament in which the veracity of a statement or an event had to be confirmed by two witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15). Here again, we see another demonstration of Jesus’ life fulfilling the Old Testament.
4. Relate to life:
Remember, it is important to be a doer of God’s Word, not merely a hearer or reader (James 1:22-25). Here are some practical ways to actively respond to God’s Word. Consider these or create other ways you can apply the message.
Today, prayerfully reflect on how Jesus' life and ministry fulfilled the Old Testament.
Today, prayerfully consider the words of Simeon and then the ministry of Jesus, which caused divisive responses (the “rising” and “falling” of many). Think about how Jesus revealed human hearts and how people spoke against him.
Questions for prayerful reflection:
How is Jesus still causing a divisive response in our world today?
How is Jesus revealing hearts?
How is he spoken against in our world today?
What difference does this make for the broader Church community?
What difference does this make for you today?
To do: (With the Holy Sprit's help)
Given the prayer suggestions and questions for reflection listed above, what can you incorporate into your life today? Think about your attitudes, actions, and words. Think about your family, friends, church community, co-workers.
I encourage you to go back and reread Luke 1-2:40. We have considered some of the smaller individual narratives, but not all. Notice how all the pieces fit together to make up the larger narrative. Prayerfully consider the work of God-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the lives of faithful men and women in the accomplishment of salvation.