Simeon and Anna

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas Story is that of two people who waited patiently for the Messiah.  Simeon and Anna were both New Testament witnesses to the Christ Child. Their stories are as follows (from the NIV, Luke 2):

Simeon at the Presentation of the Child by Rembrandt

Simeon at the Presentation of the Child by Rembrandt

25 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 on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 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, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God…

     

Anna by Rembrandt

Anna by Rembrandt

Luke 2:36–38 There was also a prophet, 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.

Simeon and Anna were the first to see Him in a public place.  They were the first witnesses to who He really was.  More importantly, they were not afraid to say, to other worshippers in the Temple, who He was.

Simeon and Anna were the last of the Old Testament prophets.  Their entire life purpose was to listen for and to God.  Also, they shared with the other worshippers what they had heard God say in the temple.  They did not sugar-coat the words but spoke clearly and with conviction.

Both of their names point to a strong, long-lasting faith.  Simeon means obedient and listening.  Anna means gracious, one who gives.

Dr. William Smith in Smith’s Bible Dictionary suggests that she was probably more than a hundred years old when she spoke over Jesus.  (If she was married at approximately 14, lived with her husband for 7 years, and had spent 84 years after that in the temple, then she was at least  105 years old.)  It is possible that Simeon was also quite old.  Tradition has it that he was one of the 72 translators of the Septuagint.  If that is truly the case he was over 200 years old at the time of this incident.

So, what is in this story for us.  First, Isaiah 40:31 pops into my mind when I think of the words ‘they that wait upon the Lord…’.  In all the years they waiting for the Birth neither one gave up on God’s promise and they were rewarded with seeing Him personally. We often wonder when God will finally act on one of His promises or our requests.  Simeon and Anna are a great example of waiting and waiting and waiting…  Second, a life of prayer is important in seeing God’s work.  Although the scripture says Anna had lived, prayed, and fasted in the temple since her husband’s death, it does not mean that we have to live in our churches to experience God.  He is everywhere!  And finally, we can trust that God will follow through on His promises.  God will and can do what He says He will.  Our trust and obedience in matters of faith always lead to God’s blessings.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Fulfilled Prophecy

I was reading Deb Wolf’s blog Counting My Blessings and she included this interesting fact/quote.

The chances of 1 person fulfilling 8 prophecies: 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 1 person fulfilling 48 prophecies: 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power 1 person fulfilling 300+ prophecies: Only Jesus! (from Biblical Prophesies Fulfilled by Jesus)

Is that amazing or what?  BTW that long number with all the zeros is a quintillion.  10 to the 157th power… is one and one-half+ googols or 157 zero’s after the 10.  It’s fun to think about but it definitely becomes mind-boggling, doesn’t it?

There are 8 specific prophecies that are connected to the birth of Jesus.

  • He would be born of a woman.   Found in Genesis 3:15, fulfilled in Matthew 1:20
  • He would be born in Bethlehem.   Found in Micah 5:2, fulfilled Matthew 2:1 and Luke 2:4-6
  • He would be born of a virgin.  Found in Genesis 12:3 and 22:18, fulfilled in
    Matthew 1:22-23 and Luke 1:26-31
  • He would come from the line of Abraham.  Found in Genesis 12:3 and 22:18, fulfilled in Matthew 1:1
  • He would be a descendant of Isaac.  Found in Genesis 17:19 and 21:12, fulfilled in Luke 3:34
  • He would be a descendant of Jacob.  Found in Numbers 24:17, fulfilled in Matthew 1:2
  • He would come from the tribe of Judah.  Found in Genesis 49:10, fulfilled in Luke 3:33
  • He would be called Immanuel. Found in Isaiah 7: 14 fulfilled in Matthew 1:23
In the beautiful Christmas Hymn by Charles Wesley, Hark, The Herald Angels Sing, are these words:
Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord.
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the virgin’s womb.

Govert_Flinck_-_Aankondiging_aan_de_herders

Veil’d in flesh, the Godhead see;
Hail, th’incarnate Deity:
Pleased, as man, with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Throughout this song, and many of the other Christmas hymns, the prophecies are repeated, reminding us that Jesus is who He says He is.

None of this should be mind-boggling.  It is what it is.  God’s Word is the truth.  Yet, there are millions who are still in the darkness.  Who believe only what they want to believe.  Who limit the beauty of this season to what’s going to be under the tree.

Let’s be different.  Let’s quit thinking and focusing on what we’re going to get and move on to what are we going to give.  Will you be the one to share the Story for the first time?  Will you be the one that shines light into the darkness?  Will you be the one, like Mary, who was called blessed because she believed? (Luke 1:45)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Heavenly Music

Does God sing? 

I know the angels do.  The Christmas Story tells us after Michael announced the birth of Jesus they sang, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men’. 

John tells us in Revelation that he heard and saw the angels around the throne singing heavenly music (my words). 

 I heard a sound like massed choirs in Heaven singing, Hallelujah!    Revelation 19:1 (The Message)

The Prophet Zephaniah not only says God sings but that He rejoices over us when He does.

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17

How can I say thanks when Your word so clearly says You care so much that You not only sent Jesus but that You rejoice in me with Your song.  What a mighty God I serve.  Oh, Lord, let everyone who reads this feel Your great delight in them.   Make it so!