One day Luke sits down to write, for his friend Theophalius, what he has seen and heard during the time of Jesus.
Luke talks about Mary being pregnant with Jesus, and how Joseph helped Mary on the long journey to Bethlehem, where the baby was born.
What’s interesting is that after Jesus is born there isn’t a lot written about him as a baby. In fact, there are only 3 times in Luke where we hear about something that happened to Jesus as a baby.
The first was when the shepherds heard from the angels that Jesus had born, and they came to the stable in Bethlehem.
Does anyone remember another story that Luke tells us about baby Jesus?
Who came to visit Jesus after the Shepherds?
Right, the Wise Men!
Anna and Simeon
But between the story of the shepherds, and the story of the wise men there is another event that Luke tells us happened about 40 days after Jesus was born.
Luke tells us not about more shepherds, or about more more men who studied the stars like the wise men and found Jesus. No, Luke tells us about 2 regular, normal people.
Anna and Simeon
Let’s talk about Simeon, first.
The first time we read about him he is already an old man with a reputation.
Luke tells us this about Simeon:
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.
Simeon loved God and did what was right.
Not only that, but Simeon had received something special. Luke tells us:
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
Simeon had a promise, from God, that he would get to see Jesus before he died.
Now to us, this might not sound like a big deal because we know what lots of people saw Jesus during his time on earth.
But before Jesus was born, the world was a different place.
Remember how God spoke to people like Noah, and Moses, and King David?
God spoke to them and then they told the people what God had said.
And for hundreds of years that’s how people heard from God.
This went on throughout the Old Testament.
You know those small books near the end of the Old Testament?
The ones we don’t often look at? Like Obadiah, and Micah, and Malachi?
Those books were written by men, called prophets, who also heard from God and then they told the people what He had said.
But then, after God had used prophets for hundreds of years to speak to his people, God stopped talking.
Open your Bibles to the end of the Old Testament. Look for the book of Malachi and then go to the end of that book.
Between the Old Testament and the New Testament there is more than just one page. In fact, the page between Malachi and Matthew represents 400 years.
For 400 years, God was quiet. God didn’t speak to the prophets and tell them what they should say to the people.
God didn’t reveal anything more about Himself or his plan for the world.
So when Simeon was alive, not many people knew if God was going to speak to them ever again, or what His plans were.
But Simeon was a student of some of the Old Testament books of the Bible and he had read promises God made about the future.
He had read things like:
A baby will be born and he will be in the family of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Jesse, and David.
This baby will be born in Bethlehem
This baby will be a Nazarene
This baby will be a another prophet, like Moses.
This baby would be the Son of God!
Simeon was on the lookout for one baby, for one person, about who, all these things were true.
Simeon believed that when he saw that baby, it would be the Son of God.
To us this doesn’t sound unusual or crazy, because we know the end of the story. We know about Jesus life, and His death, and how He eventually went back up to Heaven. But remember, for Simeon, and for the people of that day these were new ideas. They had no idea what to expect, and many of them didn’t expect anything at all. They figured God had forgotten them.
Simeon Meets Jesus
So one day Simeon is walking around the temple….
He is watching as people bring in their new babies to be dedicated to the Lord. Every firstborn baby boy had to be brought to the temple and dedicated to the Lord. So everyday there were people walking into the temple to dedicate their babies.
I imagine Simeon would walk around and ask some parents about their family and their babies to see if they were the one he had read about, the one who was the Son of God.
Maybe he’d go up to one family and ask:
“So, where are you from?”
“Where was your baby born?”
“Who are his grandparents?
I imagine Simeon would pick out families he thought might be right and ask them questions. He was on the lookout for a very special family.
As he is looking around a poor family walks in. Simeon can tell they don’t have a lot because instead of bringing a lamb to sacrifice, they bring two turtledoves.
They don’t look like much compared to everyone else.
But Simeon approaches them and asks…
“Where are you from?”
And they probably answered:
“We are from Nazareth”
And was your baby born there?
“No, this little guy was born in the town of David, in Bethlehem.”
So he’s from King David’s family?
As they talked, Simeon realizes the promise God made to him is coming true at that very moment!
Simeon holds this baby, who is a little over a month old, in his arms. Simeon is looking into the face of Jesus!
Anna Meets Jesus
As Simeon is talking, Anna walks over. I imagine Anna to be like a sweet grandmother. Her husband died when she was young and she’s been living as a widow near the Temple for most of her life.
Anna too, has seen the promises of a very special baby that was to be born and comes over to see Mary and Joseph, and little baby Jesus.
I can just hear her “grandmother” voice:
“Oh look at this sweet baby! You are so special to me! I’ve heard about you for a long, long time and now you are finally here!”
Can’t you just see the grandmother side of Anna coming out? I think it was a very special moment for her.
Before we finis up, let’s quickly look at what Simeon says as he holds baby Jesus.
These are beautiful words.
Read them with me if you can:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised…my eyes have seen your salvation!”
Simeon is saying: God, you did it! You promised you’d send your Son to this world. I’ve been waiting for you to make good on that promise for my whole life and now I am holding that promise in my arms. I am looking at the Saviour of the world!
I can’t imagine how special that moment was for Simeon. To wait your whole life for one moment, the day you meet baby Jesus, face-to-face. That had to be pretty special.
You know why Simeon waited? Do you know what helped Simeon live almost his entire life believing he would see Jesus as he was promised?
It was faith.
Simeon believed that the God he could not see had made him a promise. And Simeon believed that God would make good on that promise.
Simeon had faith in God.
Faith is believing, even though we can’t see.
Faith Object Lesson
(call up a volunteer and have them sit in a chair)
I have a cup of water here. If I were to tip the cup over… water comes out right?
Well let me show you what faith is…
Faith is believing in a powerful God we cannot see.
(put a card over the top of the cup and turn it over)
The air pressure inside the glass is holding the card up. It’s a pretty powerful force, huh?
But, can you see the air inside the glass?
No, you can’t. But we can all see the effect it’s having, can’t we?
Faith is like the air pressure inside the glass. Faith is believing in God and His promises even though we can’t see God or see what He is up to.
Faith is knowing what God has already done for us and believing He will continue to take care of us in the future.
Today I want all of us to see that putting our trust, our hope, our FAITH in God is the best thing we can ever do.
God didn’t let Simeon down when he put his faith in Him.
We can put our Faith in God. Even though we cannot see Him, we can be sure that He is working all things together for our good.
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