The Hope of Simeon and Anna
Comments for Study 5
Memory Verse: 30
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I. Jesus' Circumcision (21-24)
>1. When and why did Jesus' parents have him circumcised? (Gen. 17:1-14)
* Luke 2:21 "On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived."
* Genesis 17:1-14 "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers." Abram fell face down, and God said to him, "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God." Then God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner--those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."
* "On the eighth day" -The parents were purified as well. The time for purification was 7 days. (Leviticus 12:1-3) The purification was needed because the parents and baby were going before the Lord God. A son needed to be at least eight days old (and could be more) to undergo the covenant marker called circumcision. (Genesis 17:12; Leviticus 12:3)
* "circumcised" -Circumcision was according to God's covenant to Abraham. It was the way to bring boys into the nation and society of Israel. It is and was for purification and a seal of the covenant made to Abraham. (Genesis 17:1-3, 9-11)
Circumcision is the removal of a penis' end skin. During the circumcision there is a lot of blood and pain when done as an adult. (Genesis 34:25) Not so true when done as an infant. The Lord God gave circumcision to Abram who had to be serious when he considered God's proposal for the circumcisions part of the covenant between them.
As far as I know Abraham's circumcision was the first time God ever presented this in the history of mankind. So to do this new act took a lot of faith. Other nations (Arabs) also practiced circumcision (Jeremiah 9:25-26; Ezekiel 32:18-19), but not for the covenant reasons that Israel did. Theirs was part of the right to becoming a man and thus gain full participation in the community.
Circumcision signified Abraham's covenanted commitment to the LORD -that the LORD alone would be his God whom he would trust and serve. It symbolized a self-maledictory oath (analogous to the oath to which God had submitted himself). Thus Abraham was to place himself under the rule of the LORD as his King, consecrating himself, his offspring and all he possessed to the service of the LORD.
Physical circumcision was a sign of circumcision of the heart, which is all we need now. Romans 2:29 states, "No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God." (See below question and Acts 15:1-21.)
* The engraving to the right is by Martin Luther, 1483-1546. Jesus is circumcised. The engraver's knife and monogram (CE) are placed in the lower center and the 4-cross in the lower right corner. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.
>Why should such an extraordinary baby be treated in the ordinary way?
* Jesus was officially a Jew and under the covenant. It was God's will that he be like one of us in every way.
* Hebrews 4:14-16 "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
* Galatians 4:4-5 "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons."
>Why must we have circumcision of the heart? (Rom. 2:29)
* Romans 2:29 "No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God."
* Circumcision is cutting off the foreskin of the male organ. God gave it to Abraham after he had sinned by trying to seek fulfilment of God's promise for a son through Sarah's servant. God was saying to Abraham, "Stop sinning." Circumcision of the heart is cutting off sin and evil from the heart and turning to the holy God. External things are second in importance. The heart is first.
* Are you circumcised of the heart? Have you place the Lord Jesus Christ first? What does your relationship with him mean? Where do your thoughts go during the day and night? To him or things in the world? Do you love Jesus? Are you circumcised of the heart?
>What do we learn from Jesus' circumcision?
* Check my heart before God.
* Jesus was under the law for me. He is the law for me.
* These days we are not required to circumcise children to enter the covenant between Abraham and the Lord. We are under the new covenant. (Jeremiah 31:31; Luke 22:20, and 1 Corinthians 11:25; and 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 8:7-13, 9:15, 12:24) The apostles confirmed that Gentiles don't need to be circumcised. (Acts 15:1-21) However, it is still good to present our children to the Lord and the congregation. Some churches have baptism. Others have a dedication ceremony where the elders pray for the child and the parents make a vow to bring the babe up in the teachings and way of Lord Jesus. The later is better and Biblical. Baptising a baby does not ensure a child will go to heaven.
>2. Why did they name him Jesus? (1:31)
* Luke 1:31 "You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus."
* "he was named Jesus" -The angel's direction came from God.
>What does his name mean? (Matthew 1:21)
* Matthew 1:21 "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
* "Jesus" -The angel told them to name him Jesus. (Luke 1:31) Jesus is the Greek form of "Joshua" and "Yeshua" (Y'shua) which means "The LORD saves". (Matthew 1:29) In recent years some who want to become Jews object to using the Greek form of his name, claiming the Hebrew is what God wants us to use. However, they forget that the gospels were written in Greek and most of the apostles learned and studied from the Greek Septuagint (Old Testament written in the third century B.C.). The average Jew in that time could not read Hebrew well if at all, and spoke mostly Aramaic and/or Greek. Saying Jesus is not nonscriptural and neither is saying Yeshua.
* Joshua was an archetype (prototype) of Jesus. Joshua lead the Israelites into the promised land. Jesus leads his people to the promised eternal promised land and life. Joshua conquered Israel's enemies. Jesus conquered our spiritual enemies. When Joshua finished his work Israel was at rest. When Jesus comes again and finishes his work we will find rest in his Millennium kingdom and his eternal kingdom.
* A person's name is more important than people today realize. Ancient people's understood that a person's name not only defined their character, but represented their power, position, and being. Joshua was an common name because of this. When people learned of Jesus' name they would have taken notice. People were healed and demons came out at the mention of Jesus' name. (Acts 2:38, 3:6, 16, 4:18, 5:40, 10:48, 16:18, 19:13, 18, 21:13)
>What does their obedience in the naming of their son show about Mary and Joseph?
* They lived according to the word of God practically.
* They believed he was the Messiah as Jesus' name signifies.
* They recognized God's hand. They had the fear of God.
* They believed they were stewards of Jesus, the baby.
* Joseph and Mary were ordinary people of God. They weren't exempt from the law of God. God dealt with them the same as any other of his people. Thinking of the life they had lived so far, it was not easy.
>3. When and why did they bring him to the temple in Jerusalem? (Lev. 12)
* Luke 2:22-23 "When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"),
* "purification according to the Law of Moses" -Leviticus 12:4-8 says to wait 33 days for a male and 60 if female. The reason for this wait is:
1) to protect the mother
2) to give time for the parents to prepare their hearts.
* "Joseph and Mary took him" -The parents ensured that everything was done according to the law and custom of the Jews. This is the reason that God chose them to be his parents.
* "took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord" -The purpose of the dedication was to recognize that the baby was God's child. The parents were only stewards. They would raise the boy in the ways and laws of the Lord.
* Exodus 13:12-13 "you are to give over to the Lord the first offspring of every womb. All the firstborn males of your livestock belong to the Lord. Redeem with a lamb every firstborn donkey, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem every firstborn among your sons."
* Numbers 18:14-16 "Everything in Israel that is devoted to the LORD is yours. The first offspring of every womb, both man and animal, that is offered to the LORD is yours. But you must redeem every firstborn son and every firstborn male of unclean animals. When they are a month old, you must redeem them at the redemption price set at five shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs."
* The engraving to the right is by Emser, Hieronymus, 1478-1527, ed. Mary and Joseph bring the infant Jesus to the temple. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.
>What did they offer?
* Luke 2:24 "and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."
>What does this reveal about their family? (2 Cor. 8:9) Think about real riches.
* 2 Corinthians 8:9 "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich."
* Leviticus 12:8 "If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.'"
* "two young pigeons" -Two pigeons were a poor family's offering.
* They were poor in material possessions; rich in devotion to God.
* No one is to come empty handed before the Lord, even poor people have to come. God graciously made a way for even the poor to obey the law. (Exodus 23:15, 34:20; Deuteronomy 16:16)
>4. What do these two ceremonies show about their faith?
* They wanted to raise him up to be a godly child under the law of Moses.
* They believed in God's word and kept it in spite of their circumstances.
* They obeyed God
* They kept the law.
* They had faith.
* They were humble. It wasn't easy offering a poor man's offering.
* They were godly parents.
* God doesn't except anyone from offering. Even if they are poor they have to offer.
>Why was it necessary to do these things for Jesus? (Heb. 2:17a)
* Why did Jesus need to be redeemed if he is the Son of God. Hebrews 2:17 states, "For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people."
* The Jewish leaders would claim that Jesus was demon possessed. Yet they could not claim that he had ever broken the law, even in these things.
>What did Hebrew parents believe about their children?
* God's people believed that children were God's gift. Children were very important to God and therefore should be raised in God's eyes.
* Psalm 127:3-5
>What should all parents learn from Jesus' parents?
* All parents should raise children in the Lord, according to the word of God.
* By faith we can do all things.
* Trust and obey the Lord.
* Do it for Jesus' sake.
* Parents obey God and live by faith.
* Mary and Joseph really wanted to bless their son.
II. Simeon's Faith (25-35)
>5. Who was Simeon? (25a)
* Luke 2:25a "Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel..."
* "Simeon" -Simeon was a very common Jewish name in those days. Luke does not say he was old and the only reason people claim he was old is that after seeing Jesus he says he is ready to die. Luke does not say what his position is society was nor what his occupation was. Calling him a priest or important teacher of the law or Pharisee is pure speculation.
>How does Luke describe him?
* "Now there was a man in Jerusalem" -Simeon was a Jew who lived in Jerusalem. We do not know what he did there. Jerusalem was 100% Jewish in those days. No Gentile lived in Jerusalem in Jesus' day. Herod and the Roman political leaders and army only visited Jerusalem to keep peace during the festivals.
>What does it mean to be righteous in such dark times?
* "who was righteous" -He had moral and spiritual content. Righteous means that he acted right toward other people; God considered his actions towards others as righteous. Devout means he had faith in God and followed the laws of the Lord. When the Bible says a person is righteous it means that they have a right relationship with God through faith; living in the right way, God's way.
* Living righteous is easier when we live with the hope of God.
* Simeon was made righteous by God, for God is the only way one can be made righteous or called righteous through faith.
* He obeyed the law of Moses.
* Romans 5:5-11 "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."
>What does "devout" mean?
* "devout" -Devoting oneself to God completely and wholly. Being devout means to live a good life by faith. He was sincere and godly.
* Diligent has the same root word as devout.
>How could he have such hope?
* Hope, faith, and love are linked. (1 Corinthians 13:13; Romans 5:1:5)
* Hope includes realization of the world's situation from God's point of view.
* Hope includes realization of the world's only hope from God's point of view.
* Hope is a sign of a relationship with Jesus. It includes proper focus in our prayer life, Bible study, and relationship with others.
* Simeon had spiritual eyes toward Israel. He looked beyond himself.
* Jesus gives us hope by saying, "Take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
* Please read the manuscript "The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires" for more.
>6. What happened to this old man when he had hope? (25c)
* Luke 2:25b "the Holy Spirit was upon him."
* "the Holy Spirit was upon him" -Simeon had the Holy Spirit upon him. This was written to teach that the Holy Spirit worked in a few people in the Old Testament period and to teach the New Testament church what it means to have the Holy Spirit in us. Men of the Holy Spirit are clear about the Holy Spirit. Luke mentions the work of the Holy Spirit more than the other three gospels.
* John 7:37-39 states, "On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified."
* Since Pentecost all receive the Holy Spirit upon acceptance of Jesus as Savior and Lord. To be full of the Holy Spirit indicates something else. (Luke 4:1; Acts 5:3, 5, 7:55, 11:24) J. Vernon McGee wrote, "The filling of the Holy Spirit is for service. The experience of the Day of Pentecost (and after) came from the filling of the Holy Spirit (not the baptism of the Holy Spirit). It is still the same today. The filling of the Holy Spirit is for service. This is the only work of the Holy Spirit that we are to do anything about-we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." (Eph. 5:18). Notice that before Pentecost the believers wanted this filling of the Spirit. "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication..." (Acts 1:14) What would their supplication be about? About the promise of the Lord Jesus that He would send His Holy Spirit to them. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a command given to us. It is not an experience. It is an act of God whereby the believer in Jesus Christ is indwelt by the Spirit of God, sealed unto the day of redemption, and placed into the church, the body of Christ, by the baptism of the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit of God is the ennoblement for service. We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit.
* The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people. There is nothing about the Holy Spirit queer or strange or eerie.
Unless you are convinced that it isn't an added, unusual, extra, deluxe something that you have to go to God and beg and beat your fists on the chair to get, I recommend that you don't do anything about it yet except to meditate upon the Scriptures bearing on this truth. You don't have to persuade God at all. Dr. Simpson used to say, "Being filled with the Spirit is as easy as breathing; you can simply breathe out and breathe in."
Before you can be filled with the Spirit you must desire to be filled. Are you sure that you want to be possessed by a Spirit other than your own? That Spirit, if He ever possesses you, will be the Lord of your Life! Do you want to hand the keys of your soul over to the Holy Spirit?
Again, are you sure that you need to be filled? Can't you get along the way you are? But maybe you feel in your heart that you just can't go on as you are. If you feel that there are levels of spirituality, mystic deeps and heights of spiritual communion, purity and power that you have never known, that there is fruit which you know you should bear and do not, victory which you know you should have and have not—I would say, "Come on," because God has something for you.
Here is how to receive. First, present your body to Him (Rom. 12:1-2). God can't fill what He can't have. Now I ask you: Are you ready to present your body with all of its functions and all that it contains your mind, your personality, your spirit, your love, your ambitions, your all? The second thing is to ask (Luke 11:9-11), and I set aside all theological objections to this text. He chooses to have us ask; so why not ask? Acts 5:32 tells us the third thing. God gives His Holy Spirit to them that obey Him. Simply live by the Scriptures as you understand them. Simple, but revolutionary. The next thing is, have faith. (Gal. 3:2) We receive Him by faith as we receive the Lord in salvation by faith. He comes as a gift of God to us in power. First He comes in some degree and measure when we are converted, otherwise we couldn't be converted. But I am talking about something different now, an advance over that. I am talking about His coming and possessing the full body and mind and life and heart, taking the whole personality over, gently but directly and bluntly, making it His, so that we may become a habitation of God through the Spirit. (Gems from Tozer)
* The engraving to the right is by the Catholic church. Simeon blesses Jesus in the temple. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.
>How could he be a man of hope in that dark generation?
* He believed in and waited for the Messiah, the prince of peace, the consolation of Israel.
* He studied the Bible. The Holy Spirit revealed to him the Messiah in the Scriptures.
* He saw the condition of the world and his country and prayed for God to change it.
* He believed God's promises. He believed those promises coalesced in the work of the Messiah.
* He knew what it meant if God's kingdom were to come.
* Simeon had a personal relationship with God. We all need a personal relationship with God. We can be like Simeon because we all have a personal relationship with God.
* Revelations like this could happen today but doesn't come because many people aren't righteous and devout and/or because they don't listen to those who are.
>What was his hope based on? (25c)
* Luke 2:25c "He was waiting for the consolation of Israel"
* "He was waiting for the consolation of Israel" -Consolation of Israel means comfort -the act of giving comfort- opposite of suffering. (Psalm 119:50-52, 76, 81-88; and 2 Corinthians 7:5-7; Philippians 2:1)
* The Holy Spirit was upon him and revealed the meaning of this.
* Matthew 5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
* Luke 16:25 "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony."
* 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."
>How did God give him assurance and help him meet Jesus? (26-27)
* Luke 2:26-27 "It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required,"
* "It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit" -The Holy Spirit does reveal some things to his people.
* "that he would not die before he had seen" -Simeon was sure that the Messiah was coming in his lifetime. He had understood and accepted the Messiah's work (at least to some degree) through revelation.
* "the Lord's Christ" -The original Greek is "Kyrios Christos". The Greek word "Kyrios" is also used in the Septuagint (third century B.C. Greek translation of the Old Testament) for the Lord God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob throughout Israel's history. Christ is the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew Messiah meaning "Anointed One".
* "Moved by the Spirit" -Jesus used wind to explain to Nicodemus the Holy Spirit movement. (John 3:8)
* "he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required," -God work the movement of a lot of events to bring this together. The movements of people in time is to God like the movements of a mechanical coo-coo-clock; at the right moment to bell chimes, the door opens, the mechanical bird springs out, sings his song, and retreats back into the clock.
>What can we learn from him about how to overcome despair that breeds false hope?
* From Simeon we can learn to maintain a devout life and keep faith. A lifelong prayer topic can be answered, we just have to be patient, trust, and obey.
>7. When Simeon took Jesus in his arms what did he do? (28)
* Luke 2:28 "Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
* Many were in the temple but only two people are recorded noticing Jesus, the Lord of the temple and the God of Israel. This shows the spiritual condition of Israel at this time.
* "Simeon took him in his arms" -When Simeon took the child the parents, Mary and Joseph, could have disagreed but didn't.
* Through Simeon and Anna God introduced Jesus to more people (besides the shepherd's by the angles, and the wise men by the star).
* "praised God" -Do we praise God? How do we praise God? When do we praise God? Why do we praise God? Do we praise God based on Biblical principles and promises? Do we praise God for who he is and what he does?
>Why is he full of peace and contentment as he faced death?
* Luke 2:29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace."
* "Sovereign Lord" -"The original Greek here is "despotes" from "deo" meaning God and "posis" meaning husband and absolute ruler.
* "dismiss your servant" -Because of this some commentators state that Simeon was old. If true we can see that God can use old people greatly if they pray, live right, and hope in the coming of God's kingdom.
* "in peace" -Jesus brought peace, very pure joy. We are dispensable.
* Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."
* Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
>How had he been a faithful servant of God and shepherd of his people?
* Simeon publicly proclaimed Jesus as God's Messiah and praised God for him.
>8. What did he know about the baby in his arms? (30-31)
* Luke 2:30-31 "For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people,"
* "your salvation" -1 Peter 1:9 states, "for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." Our salvation is still being worked out. (Philippians 2:12) Hebrews 9:27-28 states, "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 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."
* "you have prepared in the sight of all people" -God has never kept his salvation hidden from those who seek it. We should not hid it either. God salvation is only God's work. We cannot save ourselves or others. Only God saves.
* Simeon knew Jesus was an answer to his and all of God's people's prayers.
* Moments of glory come to those who pray, study, believe God's word, and keep faith.
* Exodus 15:2 "The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him."
* 2 Samuel 22:2-3 "He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior-- from violent men you save me."
* 1 Chronicles 16:23-24 "Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous deeds among all peoples."
>What does it mean that Jesus is God's salvation?
* Jesus is God's way of saving man from sin and death.
* John 3:14-15 "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."
* Acts 13:26-31 "Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had travelled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people."
* Acts 13:47-48 "For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'" When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed."
* Romans 13:11-12 "And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light."
>What does it mean that he is a light to the Gentiles? (32a)
* Luke 2:32 "a light for revelation to the Gentiles"
* "A light to the Gentiles" -The Gentiles were in the dark even though we were intellectual and had achieved much. They were in the dark because they didn't have a right relationship with God. Gentiles were living in darkness until the gospel of Jesus came. They did not know of God.
* Christ is the light to the Gentiles. Those who have Jesus in their hearts become lights to others as he speaks and works through us.
* Luke 8:16 "No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light."
* John 1:3-5 "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."
* John 3:19-21 "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
* Most Jews in Simeon's day could not accept that the Messiah was a light to the Gentiles. (Acts 10:45, 11:18) They became proud, narrow minded, and selfish in their thinking and understanding of God's work. They became enemies of God. Paul accepted that God was going to reveal his Messiah and the Messiah's work to the Gentiles. (Acts 22:21) Simeon and Paul had world mission vision.
>Glory to Israel? (32b; Isa. 49:6)
* Luke 2:32b "for glory to your people Israel."
* Isaiah 49:6 "he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."
* "to your people Israel" -Not just the Jews.
* Israel was glorious because of their God, Jesus.
* Jesus is the fulfillment of God's promise. This was revealed not only to Simeon but to all of God's prophets.
* God rebuilds them as a spiritual nation.
* Jesus, the Messiah revealed God his Father, grace, and truth to Israel.
>9. How did his parents respond? (34-35a)
* Luke 2:34-35 "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, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
* "Then Simeon blessed them" -To bless someone is to pray for God to be revealed in and through them.
* "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel" -Two understandings of this verse exist. One is the a person realizes their sinful state (falls) and then accepts the Messiah's work (rises). The other is that some will reject the Messiah and others will accept him.
* "to be a sign that will be spoken against" -Jesus was constantly harassed by many. Many called him demon possessed and tried to kill him. (Luke 4:29, 11:15; John 7:50, 8:48, 52, 10:20)
* "so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed" -When a person encounters Jesus their hearts will be revealed. They will react one of two ways. Either they will see their sins and ask for forgiveness. Or they will see their sins and try to hide from him like Adam and Eve did.
* How do you react to Jesus? Are you ashamed of him? Do you admire him or hate him? Do you love him? Do you run to him or run away from him?
>What else did Simeon reveal about Jesus when he blessed Mary? (35b; John 19:25, 34)
* Luke 2:35b "And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
* John 19:25 "Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene."
* John 19:34 "Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water."
* After Jesus died on the cross a soldier pieced Jesus' side to confirm that he was dead. Mary was under the cross of Jesus and saw his crucifixion. It was not easy seeing her son, whom was innocent die. (John 19:25,34)
* See a painting of Jesus' side being pierced to the right.
III. Anna's Prayer (36-38)
>10. What was Anna's human situation?
* Luke 2:36-37 "There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying."
* "There was also a prophetess" -The last prophet the Bible speaks of was Malachi four hundred years before this time. The Bible does speak of prophetesses, but only a few. (Exodus 15:20, Judges 4:4, and 2 Kings 22:14; false-Nehemiah 6:24; Isaiah 8:3)
* "Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher"
* "She was very old" -God can use even very old people.
* "she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four." -When a woman in those days lost their husband they had not means of support. A woman in those days Jewish society had very few rights. The civil and religious leaders took advantage of them.
* "She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying." -She did not become bitter, but trusted in God. She did not lose her faith.
>What was her testimony about Jesus?
* Luke 2:38 "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."
* "Coming up to them at that very moment" -She must have heard Simeon. God had brought her within earshot of his declaration.
* "spoke about the child to all" -She was ashamed to proclaim the Messiah. We do not know what she said.
* "who were looking forward to the redemption" -Redemption means freedom, released, purchased back, and liberation. Redemption is a barter term often used is buying a slave's freedom.
* "the redemption of Jerusalem" -Once Jerusalem would be redeemed all of Israel would receive God's word. Understanding this the redemption of Jerusalem as a city or the people of Jerusalem will affect how this phrase is accepted.
>Why was she joyful and full of hope?
* She believed the Messiah, Jesus is the redeption of his people.
* She inspires us to have faith and not give up in prayer. Anna reminds us of the parable of the persistent widow.
* Having Jesus and the Holy Spirit in our being is joy no matter what our outward circumstances. (Galatians 5:22-25)
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