Sunday is Candlemas, the time where Jesus was presented at the temple.
This is one of those times where we are given a good description of one of the events in Jesus life. Luke 2:21-38, and the background and context are as valuable as the story itself.
The reason they were there is out of obedience to the Mosaic law which says that women must be purified 40 days after the birth of a boy. (leviticus 2-12) as they are ceremonially unclean. Also every firstborn male must be consecrated to the lord.
Joseph and Mary intended to give two doves as sacrifices, and this is significant as these were the offerings of the poor.
This points also to the idea that the wise men had not yet arrived as they went back to Nazareth.
When they got to the temple a man called Simeon, who had the holy spirit took the baby from their arms.
It had been revealed to Simeon by god, that he would not die before he met the messiah.
He had been “moved” by the spirit to go to the temple courts that day.
We don’t know much about Simeon, but that description proves he had a close relationship with God.
Close enough to hear his call, and listen.
Close enough to go where he was told,
Close enough to know what he had seen, the moment he saw it.
We have years of Christianity, and the full story, he had two very poor people holding a small baby, following rites that everyone at that time followed.
Therefore his certainty, and the precision of his next two statements show god talking through him that day.
His first statement was to thank the lord, for keeping his promise…
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
A light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
This was quite a statement, Keep in mind that Simeon was a Jew and as we know today, most Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah.
Also saying this messiah was to be for the gentiles too would have been quite stirring. Quite a thing to say about the baby of a carpenter from a small unregarded town.
His Second statement is also prophetic and as we know the story of Jesus in full we can see he is saying the life Jesus will lead…
“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.”
I always feel the last lines are Simeon talking to YOU and ME through the ages as Jesus does reveal the truth of the only currency god cares about, your heart and that truth is a sword that pierces our soul.
This wasn’t the last encounter that day…
They then encountered Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old. The Tribe of Asher, was one of the 8 tribes of Israel , descended from the 8th son of Joshua. So she had excellent lineage going all the way back to Abraham. She was very old in her 80’s and very devout spending every day in the temple praising god.
She I think would have been a well respected member of the community.
She then also came 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.
She too, although she probably had the commotion caused by Simeon as a steer, also had Jesus revealed as the Messiah by gods revelation to her.
So between Simeon and Anna , our lords trip to the temple was eventful.
It shows God was alive in the hearts of the devout, that they like us were waiting for him to come.
Simeon prophesied, and Anna came to bear witness.
Mary and Joseph went back to Nazareth, and the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
This is the last we hear of Jesus until he is old enough to debate at the temple age 12, and amaze those he met.
This is the story we share together on Sunday.
10:30 St Marys