IV. Salvation Confirmed by the Prophet Simeon
And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. 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. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
The prophet Simeon patiently awaited the arrival of the Messiah. The fundamental meaning for the word “devout,” denotes, one who takes seriously God’s promises and God’s Word. Remember what I wrote in the last post about the reward of believing God’s Word. Simeon is a perfect example of one who believes and receives.
Simeon took Christ up in his arms; he observed and felt the embodiment of salvation. I love the words chosen by Simeon, “mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” He called Jesus “salvation,” therefore, as I wrote earlier we can accurately call Jesus “Salvation.” He called Jesus a light to lighten all gentiles. I am reminded of John’s words in the first chapter of his Gospel (inspired by God), “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1.9
Joseph and Mary marveled at what the priest prophesied, but he also warned Mary about the cross, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also. I am certain that she did not understand what he meant, but we have the privilege of looking back at the cross, and we understand. In a small way, because of the Scriptures, we may be able to recognize the cruelty of the cross. We could never imagine the pain and suffering that Mary experienced when she saw her perfect Son, and Savior, hanging naked on a tree. I can barely remain calm when my children cry in pain. The birth of Jesus cannot be separated from the crucifixion of Jesus. He laid in a wooden trough so that he could die on a wooden cross.
V. Salvation Affirmed by the Prophetess Anna
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; 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. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Anna provides for us another example of believing God’s Word. As a widow she lived and served in the temple for seventy-six years. It says that she gave thanks “likewise.” She came in during the blessing of Simeon. Likewise denotes the idea of saying mutually the same thing. Anna affirmed what Simeon said and prophesied about Jesus. Two spiritual leaders, a prophet and a prophetess who were devoted to the work of the temple and the ministry of the Lord mutually identified Jesus as “Salvation.”
This is for the ladies who read my blog, or the ladies who will read this blog. God used two witnesses. In a culture and society, and during a period of time when women were under-appreciated and oppressed according to their gender, God used a prophetess to affirm the identity and prophesy of Jesus. I love it! God broke down the barrier of inequality and oppression.