In verses 22-24 of Luke chapter 2, we learn that Mary and Joseph have brought Jesus to Jerusalem to make an offering once the days of her purification following childbirth are complete. This is in accord with the Law of Moses given in Leviticus 12:3-8, and it means that it was 40 days after his birth. The offering is to be a lamb and a turtle-dove or pigeon unless she cannot afford a lamb, in which case it would be two turtle-doves or two pigeons. Since Joseph was not a man with much wealth, the offering would be the latter.
Beginning in verse 25, we are told of a righteous and devout man who was there that was filled with the Holy Spirit. The text says that he was waiting for”the consolation of Israel,” which is to say that he was waiting for God to send the Messiah to redeem His people. In fact, verse 26 says that the Holy Spirit had revealed that he would see the Christ in his lifetime. There are some scholars (particularly Dr. John Lightfoot) that believed this Simeon was the son of a great philosopher and doctor of that day, Hillel, and that Simeon was also president of the Sanhedrin. If true, this would mean that he was also the father of Gamaliel, who Saul of Tarsus studied under. All very interesting, and we are sure, quite educated calculations, but still historically unsubstantiated.
As he took the child in his arms, he offered his blessing to God, saying “…that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” Filled with the Holy Spirit, Simeon already knew what many would not figure out until after Jesus’ death and resurrection – that he had come for the Gentiles as well. He then blessed the parents, and addressed Mary with some prophecy in verses 34-35 that points to the rise of many ordinary men to be His apostles, the fall of unbelievers such as Annas and Caiaphas, and a darker prophecy of Mary’s heartbreaking witness of her son’s death (“a sword will pierce through your own soul”).
In verses 36-38, we are told of a prophetess named Anna, who was “advanced in years.” The words “did not depart from the temple” simply refer to the fact that despite her age, she did not forsake her temple duties. Verse 38 says of her: “and coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” “To speak of him” refers to Jesus, not God, as is obvious from the context.
So we can deduce from these two accounts, that a number of people were being told of the fact that this child was the long-awaited Messiah.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.