Luke 2:21-38Amplified Bible
Jesus Presented at the Temple
21 At the end of eight days, when He was to be circumcised, He was named Jesus, the name given [to Him] by the angel [Gabriel] before He was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the time for their purification came [that is, the mother’s purification and the baby’s dedication] according to the Law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord [set apart as the Firstborn] 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy [set apart and dedicated] to the Lord)” 24 and [they came also] to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord [to be appropriate for a family of modest means], “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout [carefully observing the divine Law], and looking for the [a]Consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). 27 Prompted by the Spirit, he came into the temple [enclosure]; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, [b]to do for Him the custom required by the Law, 28 Simeon took Him into his arms, and blessed and praised and thanked God, and said,
“Now, Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to leave [this world] in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your Salvation,
Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
A Light for revelation to the Gentiles [to disclose what was previously unknown],
And [to bring] the praise and honor and glory of Your people Israel.”
33 And His [legal] father and His mother were amazed at what was said about Him. 34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Listen carefully: this Child is appointed and destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for [c]a sign that is to be opposed— 35 and a sword [of deep sorrow] will pierce through your own soul—so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
36 There was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, and had lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She did not leave the [area of the] temple, but was serving and worshiping night and day with fasting’s and prayers. 38 She, too, came up at that very moment and began praising and giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all who were looking for the redemption and deliverance of Jerusalem.
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum!
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.
A giddy old man stands chuckling in the temple with a baby in his arms.
Chuckling with giddy joy, or lost in wonder?
Then he announces that he has seen God’s salvation and he can die in peace.
But what has Simeon’s eyes, heart and soul seen, really?
It is just a little child in his arms, a speechless newcomer to the world.
Whatever salvation this baby might work is still only a promise and a hope. But Simeon stands there in grateful anticipation at the future he holds in his hands.
Then also working in the Temple, there is the prophetess Anna, also old and approaching the end of her days. She adds to the joy and praise of the moment.
38 She, too, came up at that very moment and began praising and giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all who were looking for the redemption and deliverance of Jerusalem.
And then the brief surprising moment of their joy and song comes to a close.
Mary and Joseph do what is required of them for their son in the Temple.
They go about living their lives – watching their son grow up to be very wise.
By the time Jesus becomes a grown man, Simeon and Anna will have died.
Both Simeon and Anna will never be able to see with their own eyes what Jesus does as he grows up, as he ministers unto Israel as the Savior of the world.
But in their patient faith they saw enough to know God is true to his promises.
Today we know more than they did, for we have the rest of the gospel story.
And now, we like Simeon and Anna, try to wait patiently, hoping for more.
Waiting patiently to sing our own songs, having tasted the kingdom’s presence, we wait in hunger and thirst for its coming completely when Jesus comes again.
But for now, may we stand here in patient faith, like Anna and Simeon, and say,
“We have seen him, and we have briefly experienced Him and that is enough for us for now. So, we will wait! We know and trust that the Lord will keep his promises.”
While we wait, we Pray the Holy Spirit to remind us of what we are waiting for.
Luke chapter 2 reveals five individuals who obeyed God’s Word and were truly blessed because of it.
The first two were Mary and Joseph.
They obeyed the law of God.
They were poor, and yet they obeyed.
Sometimes, their obedience was inconvenient for them, and yet they obeyed.
In Luke 2:25-38, we learn about Simeon and Anna who also obeyed God’s Word.
Let us please begin with Simeon who obeyed God’s Word in waiting for Jesus.
Simeon Obeys God’s Word in Waiting for God to Reveal his Promised Consolation.
We all do it.
How long will we all do it?
And do it EXPECTANTLY?
And do it PATIENTLY?
We spend half our life waiting.
We have waiting rooms, and waiting lines.
We wait to be seated, and we wait on the phone to speak to the operator.
Sometimes it seems that all we do is wait.
Our life is one mad rush to get from one waiting line to another, just to get from one line to only wait to get into another ridiculously long waiting line.
A report from a few years ago said on average, in our lifetimes, we devotedly will spend six months sitting at stoplights—and over 5 years waiting in lines.
Five years of your life and Five years of my life—devoted to waiting in lines!
That’s why I always try to keep my Kindle app active to carry a book with me.
You can get a whole lot of reading done in five years.
And there are sayings which we have all heard:
“Good things come to those who wait”
“Some things are worth waiting for.”
If good things come to those who wait, is there anything genuinely “that good” you and I would be willing to wait expectantly, patiently, our entire lives for?
It would have to be something absolutely, really miraculously good, right?
What about if someone offered you uncountable piles of money if you agree to wait for something they “say” it is absolutely miraculous, for your entire life?
Would you be willing to wait your entire life for hundreds of million dollars?
Maybe the prospect of seeing that miraculous pile of money has you thinking, has you tempted to shove everything you have aside to say “You bet I would?”
But what good is hundreds of million dollars going to be to you if at the exact moment you see it and you hold it, you only get it one minute before you die?
The prospects of that circumstance probably does not do much for you at all.
I do not think, seriously believe I would wait for my entire life for any one of those hundreds of million dollars – my time is truly more valuable than that.
But there are things I am waiting my entire life for.
And I’m not alone in this waiting line.
Many of you are probably waiting for pretty much the same miraculous thing.
But before we talk about what that is, I want us to look at Simeon who waited his entire life for something he hardcore believed was genuinely miraculous.
And I think it was definitely something worth waiting for.
If I was given the offer to wait my entire life for the miraculous same thing he miraculously waited his entire life for, I would expectantly, gladly, “just do it.”
We are introduced to Simeon in verse 25 with…
A. Two physical characteristics (Luke 2:25a)
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon,
So here we meet the man we are looking at today, and right away we learn two physical truths about him.
he was living in Jerusalem, which was the political and religious center of Israel at that time – and is still today.
Simeon was where all the action took place.
But more importantly, we learn that his name was Simeon.
The name Simeon means “JEHOVAH has heard.”
And we will see today Jehovah God truly did hear Simeon’s prayer (and also the myriad and myriad of prayers of many others during this time) and was sending to them, for their own personal witness song the greatest answer to prayer ever.
Those are his physical characteristics.
More intriguing still are Simeon’s spiritual characteristics.
B. Three spiritual characteristics (2:25b-26)
and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
The first spiritual characteristic was that he was just and devout or righteous and devout.
The word “just” or “righteous” reveals his witness and testimony, shows his obedience of the Word toward other people.
The word devout expresses his obedience of the Word toward God.
He read and studied Torah, He knew what the Torah said, and he did it.
Again, such obedience is a prerequisite for being used greatly by God.
Now, it was the hope and prayer of every Jew that the Messiah would come, and bring peace and comfort to the people of Israel.
And Simeon was like all other Jews in this regard.
For we see secondly, in verse 25, he was waiting for the Consolation of Israel.
The Consolation of Israel is a reference for Jesus and is a frequent theme found in Isaiah 40-66.
Isaiah says the Messiah would come and so Simeon was waiting for him.
Sometimes, that’s what God calls us to do.
It’s not a glamorous task.
It’s not one that gets anyone a lot of attention.
But sometimes, all God wants for us to do…is wait.
In fact, I genuinely believe that waiting, waiting in expectation, is an essential, and very much necessary element, of every single Christian’s maturing process.
Of feeling like we have been put on the backburner, or forgotten backstage.
We know God has gifted us with every good and perfect gift and called us to do something great, but it doesn’t seem like anything is happening in that singular direction.
That might be because God is calling you to wait.
It is God teaching you patience.
God is teaching me patience.
And all too often, if we do not wait, if we try to step out and do what we want, or even what we believe God wants for us, but we do not long wait for His timing, we will fall flat on our collective faces.
We know, these times of waiting can be incredibly fruitful times for us.
So why not anticipate that we will expectantly, innately, enjoy them.
Romans 12:1-2Amplified Bible
12 [a]Therefore I urge you, [b]brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [c]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].
Why not, while are waiting with high eagerness and with greatest expectations anyway, read, study, ponder, learn, as much about the Word of God as we can.
Become as much like Jesus Christ as you can.
A mushroom matures in a few days, but an oak tree takes hundreds of years.
Which would you rather be?
A mushroom, or an oak tree?
If you and I choose to wait for God’s timing, you and I will become like a tree planted by streams of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season (Psalm 1:3).
And as you and I wait, we might remember that God has not forgotten you.
And as you and I wait, we might realize that God truly hears all of our prayers.
And as you and I wait on the Lord, we might just figure out He will renew our strength, you and I will mount up with wings like eagles, you and I will run and you and I will not grow weary, you and I will both walk, we will both not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
That’s what Simeon did.
God wanted him to wait for Jesus, and he did.
Patiently waiting is a wonderful spiritual characteristic to have.
The third spiritual characteristic of Simeon was that the Holy Spirit was upon him.
This is significant because at this time in God’s history, not all believers had the Holy Spirit upon them.
The Holy Spirit could come upon a person for a while, and then could leave later.
That’s why David prayed in Psalm 51, “take not your Holy Spirit from me.”
Prior to Pentecost in Acts 2, not all believers had the Holy Spirit.
He only came upon a few, and sometimes, only for a short while.
But now, today, in the church age, the Holy Spirit dwells within all believers.
Before Pentecost in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit only came upon certain individuals for certain tasks and responsibilities.
Now, after Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is within all believers permanently.
Simeon, however, was one of those privileged saints prior to Pentecost who had the Holy Spirit.
This means that Simeon was specifically, specially chosen by God to do something specific for God.
We learn what this task was in verse 26.
Luke 2:26. 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.
Simeon had been told by God that he would not die until Messiah came.
This is quite a promise of God to Simeon!
We don’t know exactly how old Simeon was here, but tradition suggests he was as much as 115 years old, but again, that is only tradition.
And so Simeon had been waiting for God for much of his life, and he knows that he will see the Messiah before he dies.
If I was alive at that time, and I knew this about Simeon, I would have hung out with Simeon all the time.
I never would have left his side.
I would have wanted to be there when he saw the Messiah.
The question though is, why would God tell Simeon this?
Why did God think it was important that someone be there to see Messiah?
Why is it so important for Simeon to spend his whole life waiting, just to see the Messiah?
That’s incredible, but what’s the point?
The point is found in Deuteronomy 19:14-15.
Laws of Landmark and Testimony
14 “You shall not move your neighbor’s boundary mark, which the forefathers [who first divided the territory] have set, in the land which you will inherit in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
15 “A single witness shall not appear in a trial against a man for any wrong or any sin which he has committed; [only] [a]on the testimony or evidence of two or three witnesses shall a charge be confirmed.
We read and we learn from God’s Word, the Laws of Landmark and Testimony that on the evidence of two or three witnesses shall a matter then be confirmed.
Simeon was one of three witnesses that God used to confirm that Immanuel, the Messiah, had come to Israel in the flesh.
The shepherds were the first, Simeon is the second, and Anna is the third, whom we will look at in a bit.
But before we look at Anna, Simeon needs to do his witnessing.
Witnesses speak what they have seen and heard, and Simeon needs to speak.
So this is what he does in Luke 2:27-35.
The wait is over, and God has called upon Simeon to speak, and Simeon, though he has been on the sidelines for so long, obediently steps forth to be a witness.
C. The Wait is Over (Luke 2:27-35)
His witnessing was about two things. First, he blesses God. He thanks God for sending the Messiah.
Luke 2:27-32. 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 (they were coming to redeem Jesus with five pieces of silver), 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.”
Simeon recognizes from verse 29, that his life of waiting for the Messiah was according to the Word of the Lord.
Everything we do needs to be according to the Word of the Lord.
If God’s Word has not said it, you most likely cannot trust it.
Simeon did have the Word from God that he would live to see the Messiah, and so now he says he can depart in peace, he can die now, his devout life, complete.
Are you and I at that place in our own lives?
If we discovered we were going to die tomorrow, would we be ready to go?
Would we be able to depart in peace?
That is an important question to ask of ourselves.
God can take us at any time, and we all need to be ready to go at any time.
This means being at peace with God, and peace with one another all the time.
Do we need to confess something to God?
Do it today.
Do we need to restore a relationship with someone, but we have been putting it off?
Do not delay any longer.
In verse 30, Simeon is ready to depart because he has seen his, our, salvation.
Whenever we see the word salvation, or save, in the Bible, we each need to ask ourselves, “Salvation from what?” or “Saved from what?”
Recall in Luke 1, we saw that both Mary and Zacharias, but especially Zacharias, looked upon the infant Immanuel as the coming Messiah who would soon deliver them from Roman rule, and who would conquer the enemies of Israel.
They thought Jesus was coming to conquer.
And Jesus will do that when He comes the second time, but His first coming was to defeat sin and death.
His second coming is to rule and reign; His first was to come, serve and die.
Simeon sees the truth.
We know this for two reasons, first, because of what he says in verses 31-32.
This salvation, Simeon says, has been prepared before the face of all peoples, and is
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”
Simeon is showing that he understands that Christ is coming, not to deliver the Jews from their enemies, and place Israel at the head of the nations over all the Gentile nations, but instead, that this salvation is for all people and will bring light and revelation to the Gentiles.
You see, most Jews, when they thought of the Messiah, thought He was coming just for them, and just to crush the Gentiles under His feet.
But in contrast to this, there were some in Israel who were known as
“The Quiet in the Land.”
They had no dreams of violence and of power [or] of armies and banners; they believed in a life of constant prayer and quiet watchfulness until [the Messiah] should come. All their lives they waited quietly and patiently upon God.”
Simeon was one of these Jews called The Quiet in the Land.
He understood from the Word of God what most Jews in that day had missed.
He understood that Jesus came to be a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the Gentiles, to reveal himself to the Gentiles.
And that He would do this through suffering as a servant, dying on the cross, and then raising from the dead.
And how thankful all of us should be that this is why he came the first time.
I believe that Simeon partially understood this purpose of Christ’s first coming, and he reveals this purpose here by what he says in thanksgiving to God.
But Simeon is not done.
He next turns to bless Joseph and Mary in Luke 2:33-35.
Luke 2:33-35. And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, 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.”
This isn’t much of a blessing, is it?
Well, actually, it doesn’t appear that the blessing of Simeon to Joseph and Mary is recorded here.
We should read this passage as saying that Simeon blessed them, and then after he was done, he then speaks to them what we read in Luke 2:34-35.
The words of Simeon to Mary about a sword piercing her own heart is a prophecy about Christ’s coming crucifixion on Calvary’s cross.
It would be the most tragic event in the life of Mary, and yet, at the same time, the greatest salvation event of all time.
Mary’s soul would be pierced, and so will ours when we innately understand the suffering of Christ, that Jesus did it all to save us.
And if people get saved, God, in, through, Christ Jesus, considers it all worth it.
The rest of Simeon’s words to Joseph and Mary are again an indication that Simeon knows what Jesus has come for.
Not to raise up Israel and deliver them from Roman rule, but to cause the fall and rising of many in Israel, and to be spoken against.
The result will be that many hearts would be revealed.
This is exactly what happens in the life of Jesus.
Most of the leaders of Israel reject him, and so they fall from their positions.
Many of the poor accept him, and so are risen to leadership in the church.
Jesus was definitely spoken against by many.
And ultimately, the thoughts of many hearts were revealed.
Most people wanted a Messiah for selfish reasons.
They wanted to profit from the Messiah, or gain power from the Messiah.
The Gospel of Luke will show all of this to us as we go through it.
Simeon also reveals the thoughts of his own heart here.
He knew what kind of Messiah Jesus would be, and he had waited his whole life for this event, and now that it had come, he could finally depart in peace.
Simeon was the second of three witnesses.
Before we move on to Anna, let me just ask you, what are you waiting for?
What are you and I looking forward to?
Is it that next vacation?
Is it getting married?
Maybe having a child…or a grandchild?
Getting that promotion at work?
Any or All of those hundreds of millions of dollars someone promised us?
Hey, all of these things are good things to wait for.
All of these things are good things to accomplish in life.
All of these things are blessings from God.
But real contentment in life comes from knowing what to look forward to, from knowing what to wait for, from knowing exactingly who we are waiting for.
Simeon knew what to wait for. He waited for and looked forward to Messiah’s first coming.
And similarly, we are to wait for Christ’s Second Coming.
The New Testament tells us over and over that we should eagerly wait and anxiously look for the blessed appearing of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:23-25; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Titus 2:13).
Living with this in mind, knowing that Jesus could come today, or tomorrow, causes us to live with the right priorities.
It causes us to live with eternity in focus.
It causes us to do things that ultimately will matter for eternity, rather than just for the next moment, the next minute, hour day, next week, next millennium.
And furthermore, if we eagerly look for Christ’s coming, we will do everything we can to speed his coming.
In Matthew 24:14, it says that the end will come only after the whole world has heard the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Waiting for Jesus should cause us to be witnesses just as Simeon’s waiting for Jesus caused him to be a witness.
Let us turn now to see the third witness, Anna.
Simeon Obeyed God’s Word in Waiting for Jesus.
Anna Obeyed God’s Word in Worshiping Jesus.
III. Anna Obeyed God’s Word in Worshiping and Devoutly Serving God (Luke 2:36-38)
Just as with Simeon,
the account of Anna begins with a description of her characteristics.
A. Anna’s Characteristics (Luke 2:36-37a)
Luke 2:36-37a. 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,
First, we learn that her name was Anna.
Her name comes from the Hebrew word for grace.
And the grace of God was definitely upon her as we see in the rest of these verses.
The grace of God was upon her first of all, in that she was a prophetess.
There are several women in the Bible who have this privilege and distinction; Miriam (Exodus 15:20), Deborah (Judges 4:4), Huldah (2 Kings 22:14) and of Philips daughters (Acts 21:9) are examples of others.
Anna’s work as a prophetess was to speak the Word of God, and share what she knew about Jesus with all who would listen to her.
This is what we will see her doing in Luke 2:38, and this was the basic ministry description of all prophets in the Bible also.
The next evidence of the grace of God in her life is the fact that she was of the tribe of Asher.
You say, “What does that have to do with the grace of God in her life?”
Well, Asher was one of the northern tribes of Israel that rebelled against God, and so was carried away into captivity by the Assyrians.
God has always kept a remnant of each tribe safe for himself. We can read the accounts in 1 and 2 Chronicles and other places in Scripture which clearly show the existence of other members of the other tribes of Israel. This is an example right here in Luke 2. Anna was of the tribe of Asher. She knew who she was, and so did everyone else. She did not go to Ethiopia. She did not come to America. She was not lost. She was in Israel. And that is an example of the grace of God. Though her ancestors had rebelled and been carried off into captivity, God had nevertheless raised her up to be one of these witnesses.
A final sign of the grace of God being upon her is her age. We learn here that she was married for seven years and a widow for 84 years. This either means that she was a widow who was 84 years old, or that she had been a widow for 84 years. If we go with the second possibility, which I think has the stronger case. She would then be about 104 years old. But either way, she had been a widow for a very long time. And rather than grow bitter and resentful that she had been a widow so long, she became better.
Sorrow can do one of two things to you. It can make you hard, bitter, resentful and rebellious against God, or it can make you kinder, softer, more sympathetic. It can spoil your faith, or cause your faith to take deeper root. It all depends on how you choose to respond to the sorrow and trials in your life. Anna chose the better path. She chose to reveal the grace of God in her life. And I think that is one reason God gave her a long life.
Do you know what she did with her long life? She served God with it. Look at the last half of verse 37.
B. Served God (Luke 2:37b)
Luke 2:37b. [she] did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
This tells us that Anna, like Simeon, was another one of those who were known as The Quiet in the Land.
She served God first of all by staying in the temple.
It says she didn’t even depart from the temple.
This means that she went to the temple as much as possible.
Nobody, not even the priests lived in the temple.
The High Priest alone had chambers there, but even He did not live there.
So it means that she was there as much as possible.
And while there, she served God by fasting and praying night and day.
This is a wonderful blessing to pour out upon God’s church and God’s people if you are able to do it.
It is sometimes true, not always, but sometimes, that those who are older do not need as much food and sleep as they did when they were younger.
So some of them, some of you, take the opportunity to become prayer warriors for God. You fast and pray. You pray during the night, and pray during the day.
There are many things that go into a healthy church and fruitful ministry,
but here we see two of the most important factors of becoming a healthy Christian and a healthy church.
If you and I want to become a healthy Christian, and we want this church to become healthy, you and I need to follow the example of Anna.
First, spend as much time as possible in church, worshipping God, serving God, fellowshipping with other Christians, learning the Word of God.
That’s the first thing. It will help you; it will help the church.
But secondly, spend as much time as possible praying.
Prayer is the lifeblood of the church.
Prayer is what keeps a church and it’s ministries supported, moving forward.
Prayer is what keeps you in communication with God.
Prayer is what holds back the spiritual forces of darkness.
Prayer is how you can support the pastor and the other laity leaders of your church – the elders and the Sunday school teachers and the music team and everybody else in anointed, voluntary and appointed leadership positions.
And we see this in Anna.
She was a prayer warrior.
Not only did she pray, but she fasted and prayed, and she did it night and day.
Oh, may God give every church many people like Anna who serve God with fasting and praying night and day.
Finally, in verse 38, we read of how Anna was the third witness for Christ coming as the Messiah.
She spoke of Jesus.
C. Spoke of Jesus (Luke 2:38)
Luke 2:38. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Like Simeon, she gave all her thanks to God for sending the Messiah, and then, not stopping there, she went out and spoke to everybody who was looking for redemption in Jerusalem.
She went around telling people that their Savior, their Redeemer had come.
She was the third witness.
What are some lessons from the lives of Simeon and Anna?
Both of them would be considered elderly by today’s standards, and yet neither one of them thought that being old meant that God was done with them.
Sometimes, in our modern interpretation and understanding the standards of our culture, those of us who are younger seem to think that those who are older have nothing to teach us, and sometimes, those of us who are older, believe it.
Other times, those who are older know they have a whole lot to teach those who are of the younger generations, but they would much rather spend the bulk of their hard earned retirement years fishing and golfing and playing card games.
Both of these views are wrong.
The Bible says those who are younger should learn from those who are older.
Titus 2, for example, encourages older woman to teach and train and disciple younger women how to be mothers and wives.
Older men also, can pass on great skills and truths to younger men.
Those who are older have priceless lessons and years of wisdom to pass on to those who are younger.
And these are not just lessons about cooking and gardening and parenting, but truths from the Bible and lessons on how to pray, or resist temptation, that you and I have hardcore learned over the years – all these things can be passed on.
Even in the church, there are hundreds of things that can be done by those who are older that younger people cannot and are not able to do.
You see, I believe that retirement is often God’s way of releasing the believer from daily responsibilities in order to allow him or her to devote more time and effort to a ministry.
Maybe we shouldn’t call it retirement anymore, but transition.
We transition from working for the world at your job to working for God in the church.
I believe that actually, the years we spent working in the world could actually be God preparing us for the real work of the ministry He wants you and I to do once we have matured in our years, we are reclassifying ourselves as being “retired.”
What skills, what lessons, what truths have you learned which we ourselves can pass on to the next coming generations?
How can we encourage?
How can we help our neighbors?
How can we minister to the needs of others?
Consider the maximum measure of brevity of the Kingdom of God ….
Consider the immeasurable dimensions of God’s entire Neighborhood ….
Consider the ultimately measurable dimensions of our Neighborhoods ….
For believers, the latter years can be the richest in all of life if they become a blessing and a blessed and fruitful part, an example, a mentor, of other lives.
The gentle touch of a seasoned life alive in Jesus Christ brings mutual enrichment.
The elderly should not be great social outcasts, but a living “overpass” between generations; not just a lonely dead end but a visible well-lighted avenue to lead younger people to the riches of a superlative time of living God’s abundant life.
Contentment is not a matter of age or energy level, neither is it a function of how many possessions you have accumulated.
Contentment and significance in life is measured by how open you are to serving God and sharing Him with others.
Even though death is imminent for Simeon and Anna, they have found the meaning of life, and what makes life significant.
They did not wait around for the next vacation, or the next toy, or the next adventure, nor for riches which would, in all probability, never materialize.
No, they waited for their Messiah Jesus Christ, and as they waited, they served God, they honored and worshiped God in any and every single way they could.
What are you and I waiting for?
Who are you and I waiting for?
I hope you and I are waiting for Jesus Christ.
And as you and I do, I hope you and I are wisely using the time and abilities and talents God has given to you and me.
The entirety of our lives has meaning when we spend it all waiting for Jesus.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Except for Simeon…
Expectantly waiting for consolation of Israel
Righteous, Devout, Spirit filled
Promised no death until…Messiah seen
Mary, Joseph, Jesus divinely bump into Simeon
Simeon sees, shakes, spirit soars, secures Savior skyward
Shouts Spirit filled Simeon
“Nunc Dimittis!” – NOW! I can depart…
Perfect, pacific peace!
Eyes see salvation!
Light to Gentiles
Glory to Israel!
Family returns…Nazareth bound
How bout us?
We came, sang, prayed
Did we see shining Savior’s salvation?
Like Simeon depart in peace?
From the pew, church, life?
Return in Peace!
God, our shepherd,
you continue to blaze our paths
and point to who and what’s best for us.
You said in your Word
that though the human mind plans the way,
you direct our steps.
We can plan all we want but nothing is out of reach for you.
We pray that we surrender our pride, by your Spirit,
and wholeheartedly follow your direction
so that we may have a better understanding of our calling in Jesus Christ.
In the exalted name of Jesus, your Son, and the power of your Holy Spirit,
Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum!
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.