People Who Were There
Message #5 in a series on New Testament Personalities

Simeon and Anna

Read: Luke 2:22; 25-38

Text: Luke 2:30 (KJV) For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

Theme: God is faithful, in His own time.


Introduction:

Last week we celebrated, once again, our Lord's birthday. So, let's begin our discussion this morning with a time of sharing and testimony about what Christmas means to us.

(Note - the following questions are included here as a means toward jump-starting this testimony and sharing time.)

QUESTION - Fill in the blank - For me, Christmas 1996 was ______________.

QUESTION - The most spiritual memory I have of Christmas is ________________.

QUESTION - The thing I most love about Christmas is ___________________.

Christmas is, indeed, a wonderful time of year, when we remember and celebrate our Lord's incarnation. Today we continue looking at our series on "People Who Were There" at that first Christmas celebration, as we examine the story of Simeon and Anna.

Let's see what we can learn from them.


I. The Characters

QUESTION - Who are the characters in our study today?

QUESTION - Who is the most important character in our study today? (ANSWER - GOD)

A. Mary and Joseph
QUESTION - What do we know about Mary and Joseph from these verses?

1. Knowledgeable of the law (vs. 22)

2. Poor (vs. 24) (cf. Lev 12:8 (KJV) And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.)

3. Obedient (vs. 22 - "they brought")

B. Simeon
QUESTION - What do we know about Simeon from these verses?

1. Meaning of his name - "that hears or obeys; that is heard " (Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary)

2. Saved ("just") - refers to his standing / position before God.

Rom 1:17 (KJV) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

3. Religious ("devout") - refers to his reputation among men.

DEFINITION - Greek EULABES - "One who takes anything carefully which is held out to him, cautious, circumspect, careful in the worship of God and in his duties toward God. EULABES is the scrupulous worshiper who is careful about changing or writing anything lest he offend." (The Complete Word Study New Testament, pg. 904 - Spiros Zodhiates)

4. Patient ("waiting...") - refers to his faith and belief in God's promises.

5. Led by the Spirit ("Holy Ghost was upon him.")

C. Anna
QUESTION - What do we know about Anna from these verses?

1. Meaning of her name - "gracious; one who gives" (Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary)

2. Prophetess (others included Miriam - Ex. 15:20, Deborah - Judges 4:4, Huldah - 2 Kings 22:14, and the daughters of Philip - Acts 21:9)

3. From an obscure tribe

4. Elderly (at least 84 - verse 37)

5. Faithful attendee at the temple.

6. Woman of prayer

7. Thankful

8. Witness

D. God
QUESTION - What do we know about God from these verses?

II. The Lessons

A. The importance of God's timing. (Mary and Joseph)
1. God said to circumcise on the 8th day (cf. Lev 12:3) - they circumcised Jesus on the 8th day.

2. God said the mother was to be unclean for a certain time following childbirth (40 days - Lev 12:1-4), then bring a sin offering. - they did this. (Luke 2:22)

3. God said the sin offering was to be a lamb or (if too poor to afford a lamb) two turtledoves or pigeons. - they brought 2 turtledoves / pigeons.

4. They did what God said, when He said to do it.

QUESTION - What would the ramifications have been if they had not been so faithful to God's timing?

QUESTION - How important is it for us to trust in God's timing?

5. God's timing is not always ours.

2 Pet 3:8-9 (KJV) But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

6. God's timing is always right!

ILLUS. Lazarus (John 11:6 (KJV) When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. John 11:21 (KJV) Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.)

James 5:7 (KJV) Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

B. The importance of a devout life. (Simeon)
1. Many are just, few are devout.

QUESTION - What is the importance of this? Could Simeon have been just as used of God if he had been "just" but not "devout" (i.e. saved, but not outwardly religious)?

QUESTION - Simeon had the Holy Ghost upon him. Is this because he was devout? Had he not been devout, would the Holy Ghost have treated him differently?

2. Devotion to God is a prerequisite for a spirit-controlled life.

Eph 4:30 (KJV) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

1 Th 5:19 (KJV) Quench not the Spirit.

3. The Holy Spirit, when allowed to control your life, provides insight into God's word that can be obtained nowhere else. (Simeon, unlike the religious leaders of the day, recognized the importance of the Messiah to the gentiles - vs. 32, as well as to the Jews.)

C. The importance of patience and faith. (Simeon and Anna)
QUESTION - What was so unusual about the faith of these two individuals?

1. They believed a prophecy which had not been supported by God in 400 years.

2. They both waited on God. (Simeon, we don't know how long. Anna, at least 84 years.)

QUESTION - What would the ramifications have been to you and I if either of these 2 had wavered in their faithfulness and patience?

QUESTION - What would the ramifications have been to Mary and Joseph if these 2 had waved in their faithfulness and patience?

QUESTION - Was there any way that either Simeon or Anna could have known how important there faithfulness and patience were in the grand design?

3. Their patience and faith were necessary to bear witness to us through God's word.

4. Their patience and faith were necessary to bear witness to those in Christ's day (at least Anna's was)

5. Their patience and faith were necessary to encourage and strengthen Mary and Joseph.

D. The importance of willingness to serve. (Anna)
QUESTION - Are you ever too old to serve God?

ILLUS. Moses, Abraham, Sarah

QUESTION - As I was studying for this lesson, and discussing it with a friend, my friend said, "Isn't it interesting that while Anna was instant to go and tell others about Christ, Simeon was willing to end his life now, considering that there was nothing left to do?" My friend considered Anna's response superior, and Simeon's inferior. What do you think of this?


Conclusion:

"Godly Simeon and Anna kept alive the hope of Christ's coming in an age of apostasy. They bore witness to His advent; then they encouraged the parents charged with His care."

May we, like them, learn that God is faithful in His time, and live patient and devout lives as a result.


Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright 1996 William E. Johnson.