7594 - In the Temple


Today we consider the joyous fulfillment of a promise made to an aging man.

God is opening our eyes to some wonderful things in the early chapters from Luke’s Gospel. Many of the events of the first two chapters of this book are not found in the other Gospels, and they give us insight into Mary and Joseph and a glimpse into the scene of the birth of Jesus and his early days.

Today we have arrived at the scene when Jesus is eight days old.

Listen to Luke 2:21-38:
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

On the eighth day in the life of a Hebrew son, he was to be circumcised and given an official name. Just as the law required Joseph and Mary presented her son to the priest. According to instructions from the angels he was named Jesus.

According to the Law every firstborn male belonged to the Lord and had to be redeemed. But then Mary had to present herself for ceremonial atonement. They journeyed to Jerusalem to complete these two requirements.

While in the temple the Lord provided more affirmation to Mary and Joseph that this was indeed a special child.

The first came from a man named Simeon. This man was devout and in tune with God as testified by the statement “the Holy Spirit was upon him.” The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would live long enough to see Christ. Simeon took baby Jesus in his arms and praised God for him with words clearly declaring Jesus to be the salvation of Jew and Gentile alike. Simeon made it clear that Jesus would have much opposition. He also told Mary that her heart would be broken by events in the life of Jesus.

There was another positive message from Anna, an elderly prophetess who continued in the temple. She too gave a message about this baby Jesus to all who were looking for better times in Jerusalem.

Just think, the priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, the angels message to both Mary and Joseph, the angel’s words to the shepherds, the shepherd’s words to many, and then both Simeon and Anna add messages affirming God’s Word regarding Jesus. How can there be any doubt that Jesus is the Christ?