Lesson 65: Simeon and Anna

 

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just 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. So he came by 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
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel."

And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed [Joseph and Mary], and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. (Luke 2:25-38, NKJV)

Mary and Joesph had come to the temple at Jerusalem to complete Mary's purification after the birth of Jesus, and to dedicate the Infant Jesus to the Lord. When they arrived, a Jewish man took Jesus in his arms and prophesied over him.

 

Simeon apparently was not one of the priests ministering in the temple, and probably not even a recognized prophet, but simply a devout Jew who had an abiding personal relationship with the Lord. Since he had been continually expressing to the Lord his personal desire to see the Messiah with his own eyes, the Lord revealed to him that he wouldn't die until after seeing Him.

We don't know how long Simeon had been living with this revelation, all we do know is that he had received the word from the Lord, and he was keeping it as a precious article of faith, with neither doubt, nor fear of missing what the Lord had so generously promised. Since it is implied that he was an elderly man, it is very possible he had originally received this promise several decades previously, but he was not about to disqualify himself from receiving the Lord's generous gift because of unbelief.

Anna was an elderly woman who, after the death of her husband many decades before, continually served in the temple, not as a priest, but as a believing Jew. She continually ministered to the Lord in fastings and prayer, and as a prophetess. Unlike Simeon, she probably had no previous knowledge of the coming of the Messiah at this particular time, but as a prophetess she was drawn to the Infant Jesus by the Holy Spirit, Who enabled her to also prophesy over the Child.

So what can we learn about faith from Simeon and Anna? First, real faith always combines with a living and active relationship with the Lord. Any alleged faith that attempts to operate outside of a genuine relationship with the Lord Himself is not empowered by the Holy Spirit. Second, genuine faith enables one to hear the Lord's voice, which is the Spirit of Prophecy. Third, living faith never allows any personal promise the Lord has given to fall by the wayside, but actively keeps each one close to heart and alive throughout any span of time. Fourth, genuine faith actively and continually ministers to the Lord Himself in prayer, praise, worship, fellowship, and fasting.

In the next lesson, we will examine the faith of the woman with flow of blood.

May the Lord richly bless you and keep you always,

Jon@7-Spirits.com

 

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