Recognizing major events
Jesus was born into the world like any other baby. Two people recognized that His coming was a major event.
First, an elderly man Simeon was waiting for the promised Jewish Messiah to come and rescue Israel from the Romans and restore them as a nation (Lk. 2:25-35NLT). He went to the Jewish temple when Jesus was there as a 40-day old baby and declared that He was the Messiah that they were waiting for. The Bible says that on “that day the Spirit led him to the Temple”. Simeon praised God for keeping His promise and he told Mary that the baby “has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him. As a result … a sword will pierce your very soul”. This is a reference to Christ’s suffering and death.
Second, an elderly widow named Anna received divine revelations and spoke for God in a time period between the two testaments when scripture was silent (Lk. 2:36-38). “She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer”. She continued to serve God in her old age. When she saw Jesus “She began praising God” and from this time she “talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem”.
Simeon and Anna recognized that this was a major event. But how could a child of poor parents be important (Lk. 2:24)? Of course, we know that this was no ordinary child, and we know about the rest of His life.
How can we recognize an important event? We could ask, are there any eternal consequences? Using this criterion, the football World Cup is not important. It has no eternal consequences. But each birth and death has lasting importance for that person. They both have eternal consequences. And the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus has lasting importance for everyone. It’s more important than the World Cup! The birth was the precursor to the most important events in Christianity, which are the death and resurrection of Jesus. One’s response to this determines their eternal destiny.
Simeon and Anna showed up when Jesus visited the temple. Like Simeon and Anna showed up and recognized Christ’s birth, do we show up at church to recognize and remember His death?
Like Simeon and Anna were ready and waiting and recognized Christ’s first advent, are we ready and waiting for His second advent? As God kept His promise about the first advent of Christ, He will also keep His promise about the second one.
Father, we thank you for faithful people like Simeon and Anna who follow the Holy Spirit to recognize significant events that have an everlasting impact. Help us to be more like them.
And we thank you for sending Jesus to die so that our sins might be put away forever. Thanks for keeping your promises when He came to earth, and we expect more of your promises to be fulfilled when He returns.
So, we offer thanks and praise for all that you have done through Jesus.
In Christ’s name, Amen.
Written, December 2022