Sunday, February 2
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Luke 2: 22 – 40
When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
–and you yourself a sword will pierce–
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and we hear about two individuals, Simeon and Anna. The story of Jesus’ presentation in Jerusalem is one of the few stories in the gospels that have to do with Jesus’ childhood.
There is an old saying that “Good things come to those who wait.” If this is true, the story of Simeon, Anna, and the baby Jesus in the temple is a great example. The coming of Christ involved all manner of waiting on God. A young maiden, a dying man and an old widow are all models of hearts yielding to God.
As a firstborn son, Jesus was expected to be consecrated to God. This was in memory of God sparing the firstborn sons of Israel at the beginning of their Exodus from Egypt. Both Simeon and Anna had dedicated their lives to God and lived to see the Messiah before they died. So, when they encountered the baby Jesus in the temple, they rejoiced because they had seen salvation. Simeon showed that he understood that Christ was coming, not to deliver the Jews from their enemies, but instead, that this salvation was for all people and will bring revelation to the Gentiles. He would do this through suffering as a servant, dying on the cross, and then rising from the dead.
All who believe God’s promise for Jesus’ return believe He will come back one day and are waiting for that promise to come true. How are you and I going to wait for that promise? Are we living our lives in a way that is pleasing to God?
Friends let us be like Simeon and Anna and live with an attitude of worship and obeying God every day. Knowing that Jesus can come today, or tomorrow, should cause us to live with the right priorities. It should cause us to do things that will matter for eternity, rather than just for next week. With that in mind, let’s have an attitude of praising Him and thanking Him for all that He has done and will do for us as we believe Him by our faith.
-Deacon Paul Zemanek