Our intern David preached an awesome sermon this morning from Luke 2:21-38 and the stories of Simeon and Anna's encounters with Jesus in the temple. Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple when he's about 6 weeks old so that they can offer the sacrifice for the firstborn and for Mary's purification according to the law of Moses. While they are there the old man Simeon sees Jesus and recognizes him as the promised Messiah. Shortly after that the old widow Anna comes up praising and thanking God for Jesus. It was especially funny hearing David wondering what one can see in a 40 day old baby. He's a young, single guy. Anyway, the gist of the sermon hinged on the description of Simeon in v. 25, "And the Holy Spirit was upon Him." David responded to three questions in the sermon: 1. How do I see Jesus? 2. How do I know it's Him? 3. How should I respond to the sight?
Simeon looked at a baby and saw the salvation of God, revelation for the Gentiles, and glory for Israel. He could see this because he looked through the lens of the Holy Spirit that was upon him. If we want to see Jesus as He is then we too need to look through those same glasses. Without the work of the Holy Spirit no one will see Jesus the Deliverer.
When Simeon saw Him, he saw salvation, but from vv. 34-35, we also know that he saw opposition, scandal and a sword. He looked ahead and saw the division that Jesus brings. Shepherds heard of his birth and rejoiced. Herod heard and plotted murder. Crowds later flocked to hear him but the people of his own home synagogue tried to throw him off a cliff. The poor rejoiced to hear his good news and the religious and political leaders conspired to put him to death. Eventually his friends abandoned him and the crowds cried, "Crucify!" The real Jesus brings division. He was a sign for opposition but also for the rising of many. If we see the Jesus that Simeon saw then we will see the opposition as well as the acceptance.
When Simeon saw Jesus he knew his life was complete. He blessed God and proclaimed what he saw. When Anna saw Jesus she gave thanks to God and told everyone about him. So we should respond. Glorify and give thanks to God and spread the news to all who are waiting for His deliverance.
David ended by pointing out the trinitarian aspect of this passage. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Simeon and Anna see the Son and give glory to the Father. Though only one became incarnate, the whole Godhead was involved in the work of Christ's life. After the sermon we had an open time for people to come for prayer. I got to pray with people to receive a new touch of the Spirit. I pray as well for all of us this Christmas that by the power of the Spirit we would receive a fresh vision of the glory and love of Jesus and give praise to the Father.
"Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;
For my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
A light for revelation to the Gentiles,
And for glory to your people Israel."
Luke 2:29-32 (ESV)