Sermon Notes November 30, 2014 FBCam

Simeon and Anna – How the Watchful Find Jesus

Luke 2:21-38

Putting out the Nativity set is a family tradition that kids remember all of their lives. One creative dad decided that he would build excitement for Christmas while teaching his kids to keep Christmas focused on the Savior’s birth. He carefully set out the Nativity – with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and Angels. But instead of putting baby Jesus in the manger, he put a mystery note with a clue as to where they could find baby Jesus. Every day the children would run downstairs to get their clue and see search for baby Jesus. Every night, dad would create another clue and hide the Main Attraction of Christmas.

Those children searched daily for Jesus. For the next four weeks, we will be studying about the people in the Christmas story who searched for Jesus, with the hope that each one of us will find Jesus and put him in the proper place of priority in our lives.

Some like Simeon and Anna searched with confident faith and eager expectation. Some like Elizabeth and John, and Mary and Joseph were surprised with unexpected news that the Messiah would be born. Others like Herod searched with the intention of destroying Jesus.

The four messages in this series are:

Simeon and Anna – How the Watchful Find Jesus

The Wise Men – How Seekers Find Jesus

Herod – How the Proud Find Jesus

The Shepherds – How the Humble Find Jesus

We begin today with Simeon and Anna. Their story is told only in Luke 2.

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 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.” (Luke 2:21–38, ESV)

THREE EVENTS in the life of Jesus are recorded in this passage

1. The Circumsission of Jesus. Luke 2:21. It occurred on the 8th day of the boy’s life as prescribed by the Law of Moses. “And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.” Leviticus 12:3

The child’s name was given at the circumcision. “And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” (Luke 2:21, ESV)

The circumcision of Jesus signifies the obedience of MARY and JOSEPH. It also demonstrates that Christ came into the world in complete fulfillment of the Mosaic Law. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4–5, ESV). The obedience of his parents made Jesus eligible to fulfill the promises God pledged to Abraham. (Galatians 3:16).”Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

2. The second early birth was the Purification of Mary described in Luke 2:22-38. 33 DAYS after the birth of a child, the mother would appear in the Temple to present a sacrifice to make her ceremonially clean. The birth of a child was a reminder of mortality and sinfulness. Mary would need to be ceremonially clean before entering the Temple. Leviticus 12:4 (NIV84) 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over.

The sacrifice of two turtledoves (instead of a lamb) shows that Mary and Joseph were poor (see Leviticus 12:8). Now that the purification ritual had been completed, Mary was deemed clean and she was able to participate in the third ceremony.

3. The presentation of the first-born son. The “redemption” of the firstborn is described in Exodus 13:2 “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.” Exodus 13:12 “you shall set apart to the Lord all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your animals that are males shall be the Lord’s.” This special sacrifice was required because the first-born were spared by God at the Exodus and thus belonged to Him. The child was to be “redeemed” from God as a reminder that the first born belonged to the Lord.

The purification of the mother and the presentation of the child could be done on the same visit to the Temple.

During this event in the Temple, Mary and Joseph meet two unique and godly individuals.

Simeon and Anna are another pair of WITNESSES that announce that JESUS is the MESSIAH.

SIMEON.He is Spirit Filled. The “Holy Spirit was upon him” (2:25). “Spirit told him he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” An indication of Simeon’s godliness and closeness to God is seen in the fact that the Holy Spirit directed Simeon to the temple on the particular day that Jesus’ parents brought Him to be presented to the Lord. He had been in the Temple many times, waiting to see the Messiah. It was not a coincidence that Simeon was in the Temple on this day. It was a divine appointment announced by the Holy Spirit in the quietness of Simeon’s heart.

He is Righteous 2:25. This describes his walk with God.

He is Devout. This describes his walk with men.

He is Waiting for the consolation of Israel. This phrase describes the heart felt attitude that faithful Israelites had toward the Messiah. He would bring COMFORT. To his people. “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.(Isaiah 40:1–2, ESV)Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.(Isa 49:13)

Simeon was waiting FAITHFULLY. He Came to the Temple every day. Child after child would come to be presented. Simeon was WATCHING for the Messiah. Can you put yourself in Simeon’s place? God told him that he would see the Messiah before he died, but now he is getting old and God’s promise has not yet been fulfilled. At what point does your faith begin to fail? Simeon’s faith remained strong and the Lord fulfilled his word.

Simeon’s sings a song that praises God and addresses Simeon’s long wait, and the blessing that would come to Israel and the Gentiles through the Messiah’s birth. He asks the Lord to “Let your servant depart in peace.” This is a military term used to describe the dismissing of a soldier after his duty is finished. Simeon’s wait was over. He could now die in peace knowing that the Messiah was born. Now he could be dismissed.

Simeon would not live to see this baby grow up. He would not see him baptized in the Jordan river, or teaching in the Temple, or healing the sick and raising the dead. He would not meet his disciples or personally witness his death and resurrection. But Simeon knew that God’s plan was being fulfilled.

Interestingly, Simeon’s song focuses on the Gentiles. “He will be A LIGHT for the GENTILES. This might have seemed strange to hear in the JEWISH TEMPLE! But Simeon knew that the birth of Messiah would fulfill the promise given to Abraham that through Abraham’s offspring all nations of the world would be blessed.

Words of HOPE for the WORLD. (V.34)

The second Faithful Witness was ANNA. Anna was an Israelite, of the tribe of Asher, one of the ten “lost tribes” of Israel, which were scattered in the Assyrian captivity.

She was a prophetess. She was also an elderly widow, at least 84 years old. Day and night she was in the temple, fasting and praying. Like Simeon, was looking for the coming of Messiah.

What do these people Servants of God have in common?

They are among the Last of the Prophets of God

They are among the faithful remnant of Israelites who were waiting for the Messiah (v. 25, 36).

Simeon and Anna both have a Prophetic hope. Their faithfulness for the FIRST ADVENT encourages us to be ready for the SECOND ADVENT. Just think, we may be as close to the Second Coming of Christ as Simeon and Anna were to His first coming!

They were WATCHFUL

They were in the RIGHT PLACE (ministering in the Temple)

They were doing the RIGHT THING (faithful to the Lord)

They were praying with the RIGHT ATTITUDE

They were LOOKING for the RIGHT PERSON

The comparison to Christ’s FIRST COMING and SECOND COMING should not be missed in this story. Israel was expecting their MESSIAH. They were waiting for DELIVERANCE. TODAY, people sense PERIL There is a sense that SOMETHING is DIFFERENT about the times in which we live – just like Israelites sensed that there was something different about the times in which they lived.

Are you ready for Christ’s SECOND ADVENT?

The LORD Rewards Those who Look for the Coming Messiah

2 Timothy 4:8 (NIV84) 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Hebrews 9:28 (NIV84) 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Like Simeon and Anna, we must be watchful

This is more than wishful thinking to get our of the trouble of this world

Watchfulness requires obedience

Watchfulness requires worship

Watchfulness requires service to God while you are watching

Be watchful – the Messiah is coming again – and it could be today!