And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. (26) And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.Luke 2:25-26
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; (37) And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.Luke 2:36-37
In the Old Testament you find God revealing Himself to mankind specifically through this nation of Israel. God wasn’t always revealing himself to everyone, but He was consistently revealing Himself and His will to this nation. God had spoken abundantly and consistently for some time.
When you come to the close of the Old Testament there is a pause in God’s revelation. Some call this the intertestamental period, while you may have heard it commonly called “the 400 silent years”. There had been no new revelation from God for 400 years. The people of Israel had the Word of God in the law and the prophets. They knew about a coming messiah. They knew about a coming kingdom. They knew about a future resurrection. What they did not know was God’s timing. They were experiencing a season of God’s silence.
As we can see with the mention of Caesar Augustus in Luke 2:1-2, Israel was under foreign occupation. Rome was in charge. Although the temple was still operational, the Jews had to live with the oppressive hand of the gentile emperors in their affairs. When would God take care of this problem? Had God abandoned His people? These are the kinds of questions that they many could have been asking.
It was into this silence that God spoke through the angel appearances to Zecharias, Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds. God was working, and now He was revealing.
In this passage we are going to be introduced to two people who substantiated the identity of Jesus as the Messiah, and confirmed the true purpose of His incarnation. These people serve as great examples of what it is like to live a life that honors God in anticipation of what He is going to do. We should live with anticipation by imitating five aspects of the lives of Simeon and Anna.
1. We should imitate their Walk. v.25, 36-37
In verse 25, A man named Simeon is described a s a man of Jerusalem. This man is found nowhere else in scripture, which means that this account of his interaction with Mary and Joseph was the major way that God would use Him. Notice that he is described as “just and devout”.
The word for just describes his standing before God. He was justified by God. Here in this scripture, Luke, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is declaring this man righteous before God.
The word devout describes his reputation among men. He was someone who took his worship and his service to God very seriously. His reputation was as one that had served the Lord for a lifetime, and that had a close walk with the Lord. We know that He was a man that knew the old testament by what we will see as we continue in this passage. He was obedient to the revelation that he had.
The same was true with Anna. This woman was quite old. It is said of her that for years she had “departed not from the temple” and “served God with fastings and prayers night and day”. Like Simeon, this is the only place where she is mentioned. Her life and walk with the Lord were going to be used to validate her testimony as she testified to the person of Christ in this moment.
In a very real way, their walk with the Lord was their ministry. They showed that they anticipated what God was going to do by living for Him daily through the course of their whole lives.
Simeon and Anna were responding to the revelation they had in obedience as they were looking for the coming Messiah the first time. We have Christ in our history and look forward to his soon return. As we do, this ought to lead us to being just and devout. Saved and sanctified. God calls us not to just talk the talk, but to walk the walk. Paul said it this way in his epistles:
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, (2) With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; (3) Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.Ephesians 4:1-3
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.Romans 12:1-2
How’s your walk? Can people tell by the way that you live that you are looking forward to meeting God? Do you live like someone who is going to give an account to God?