Christmas Sermon

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This is a character focused sermon on Anna and Simeon.


The God That Is And Is To Come


Matthew includes two people in here in the birth story of Jesus, Simeon and Anna.
We are going to look at what he says about them and hopefully see why he included them in his account of the birth of Jesus.


The book of Luke

(Who is the author)

Luke, an historian trained as a physician, who is believed to be the only New Testament writer that is a gentile.
A gentile is anyone who is not an Israelite by nationality.

(Who is the audience)

Writing to a man name Theophilus, also most likely a gentile.
Making his primary audience a gentile audience not a Jewish one.
There is a reason this is important.

(purpose of the book)

There is no one single purpose of the book of Luke
Confirm the faith of Theophilus - To show that his faith in Christ rested on firm historical fact. - Luke presents his gospel of Jesus historically and chronologically. - And in doing that for Theophilus he also does it for us.
Luke presents Jesus as the Son of Man who was rejected by Israel but brought salvation not just to the Jews but to gentiles as well.

Why did these two people make it in Luke’s gospel?

What makes them important to the passage?

I believe one reason is that these are more facts that will confirm Theophilus’ faith.
And while Jesus was still a baby, these two both recognized Jesus as the Messiah.
Before His 3 year ministry, death and resurrection.

Setting the scene

Where: Jerusalem
When: About 40 days after Jesus was born
On day 8 He was circumcised.
This is important because it Luke letting His audience know that Jesus was an Israelite not a gentile.
John says He came to His own (Israelites) and His own did not receive Him.
What/Why: His parents are being obedient to the Law of Moses and what was required of them.
a. Again showing that Jesus was a Jew.


What does the text say about him?

He was righteous
He was devout
The Holy Spirit was upon

Righteous and Devout

Dikaios - (dee-kay-ous)
Eulabes- (eb-la-bes)
We all should aim for this type of description.
At the end of my life, I want people to say that I was righteous,
That I was just in how I lived my life.
That I sought a life that was acceptable to God.
Righteous here does not imply sinlessness, but someone who faithfully responds to their understanding of God’s will and ways.
Think of people in the OT like Noah and Job who were not sinless but also called righteous.
Not that I was perfect, but that the righteousness that was given to me by Jesus was unquestioned by the way I lived my life.

Simeon was seen as righteous.

Meaning you didn’t see him cussing people out in bouts of rage whenever he got angry.
You didn’t see him at happy hour at the strip club making in rain and throwing drinks back.
You didn’t see him refusing to help those in need.
You didn’t see him gossiping to anyone who would listen.
You didn’t see it not because he was good at hiding these things but because it wasn’t his character.

Doesn’t mean he didn’t ever sin or do wrong.

But it means that when he did sin or do wrong, people saw it as outside of his character, not a reflection of who he is.
When you act a fool, when you act unrighteously, are people like “Oh that’s just Jonny being Jonny”, Or “That’s just Sarah being Sarah”?
Or are people shocked like “man I’m surprised they did that or reacted like that”.
The difference is your character and what you are known for.
Are you known for walking in righteousness?
Do you want to be known for that?

Simeon was also seen as devout

This term literally means “taking hold well”.
It refers to one who is careful about religious matters,
A pious person.
He was known for taking the things of God seriously.
We know the type.
You didn’t cuss when you were around Simeon.
You didn’t play with the things of God around Simeon.
You didn’t open your eyes during prayer or snicker during communion when you were by Simeon.
Why, because people often tend to give respect to those who they know to be devout.
For those who they know take what they believe seriously.
That is not gained with what you say, but how you live your life.
We all should aim to be righteous and devout.

The consolation of Israel

(the gospel of the old testament)
This was a name used by Jews of the Messiah.
Simeon was looking forward to the coming of the Messiah and God through the Spirit told him that he would see the Messiah before he died and he did here at the temple.
What did Jews believe about the Messiah before He came?
He was a future Jewish King from the line of David.
At this time they were believing for the Messiah to come and free them from the rule of Rome.
They expected an immediate reign on Earth with the Messiah establishing a kingdom on Earth.
These are things that was prophesied of the Messiah along with other things.
Jesus fulfilled some of the prophesies during His life but not all of them.
A reason why Jews still reject Him as their Messiah today.
Without seeing Jesus do anything, as He was still an infant, this man knew that the Messiah had come.
This also tells us that Jesus was born the Christ.
He didn’t earn His Messiahship.

Application point:

It’s not too different from us looking forward to Jesus coming back.
He said He would come back for us, for the Church and He will.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a [a]shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
It my not be next year or the year after. But eventually Jesus will return.
We ought to be living our lives with expectation that Jesus is coming.
That means living righteous and devout lives.
That means not worrying or being anxious about tomorrow.
It means glorifying and praising God each day that you are alive.
It means making the most each day that you are given
Reaching people, transforming lives, and making Jesus famous.
The spirit also had him go to the temple so that he would be there when Jesus was there with Mary and Joseph.
No coincidences here.
When God says something will happen there is nothing left to chance.
Luke is clear to point out that He didn’t just happen to be at the temple the same time as baby Jesus.
God make sure of it because He is sovereign enough to do so.
If God says something will happen, it will happen and no free will that man has can interfere.

Simeon says some important things to God

My eyes have seen Your salvation
In the OT God’s salvation to most Israelites was physical deliverance.
They were almost consistently oppressed by another nation.
Due to their own sin and rebellion.
So they consistently needed God to save them, to redeem them.
They looked forward to a Jewish Messiah that would save them from the nations.
We know now that the Jewish Messiah came to save all the nations.
That is the Lord’s salvation.
That all creation was cursed when sin enter the world through one man, Adam.
That all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
Every person from every nation, tribe, and tongue has sinned and is destined for an eternity in hell paying the price of their sin.
We all needed someone to come on our behalf and settle debt because we couldn’t do.
We all, not just the Jews, needed a Messiah, a Savior.
Though Jesus at this time had not yet died for our sins, and been raised from the grave, He was our Salvation.
The Anointed One
The Redeemer
A light for revelation for the Gentiles.
We asked the question why Simeon, earlier.
Here is a reason right here.
Luke as a gentile, writing to another gentile, tells Theophilus that from the beginning it was God’s plan to save gentiles.
Dispensationalist want you to believe that the Messiah came for the Jews but as a direct result of them rejecting Jesus, His attention shifted to the gentiles and the Church.
A cause and effect type of deal.
But we see here at Jesus’ birth that God had gentiles in mind.
That He had me and you in mind.
We aren’t the back up plan.
The glory of Your people Israel.
Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah when He came but God isn’t through with them yet.
The Messiah is still also the glory of God’s people Israel.
Read verse 33
The text says His parents were amazed at the things Simeon was saying.
They had been told that their Son was the Messiah by the angel, but while that was enough in itself, God continued to confirm it.
Not because He has to but because of His glory.
He alone deserves all of our marvel, all of our praise.
He alone deserves all of the glory and He is not shy about letting that be known.

Simeon speaks to Mary

Why does Luke point out that this is directed to Mary?

I believe (my own speculation based off knowing what happened) that it’s because Mary would be there to see these things but Joseph wouldn’t.
That is not a statement of fact but my guess in my own mind.
This child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel.
When Jesus started His ministry, some Israelites rejected Him, like a lot of the pharisees and sadducees we read about.
And some Israelites believed in Him.
The fall of Israel is no worse than dying having rejected Jesus.
Because on those who believe in Jesus shall not perish but have everlasting life.
A sword will pierce through your own soul also
Jesus’ ministry on earth ended with Him being crucified on a cross.
Mary was there.
While He would resurrect from the grave as He said He would.
She still would have felt that pain of her son dying such a horrible death right in front of her.
We know that Joseph however, would not be there.
The last we see of Joseph is when Jesus is 12 in the temple.
It is believed by most scholars that he died sometime between that moment and the start of Jesus’ ministry when he was 30.
The Bible doesn’t tell us but if he had passed away it makes sense to me why Simeon, speaking prophetically, directed these statements towards Mary.


What does the text say about her?

Read verses 36-38 for the answer
I’m actually not completely sure why Luke mentions that her father was of the tribe of Asher.
He could be just adding another fact that could be verified for truthfullness.
There could have been a lot Anna’s at that time and he wanted to make sure Theophilus knew which one he was talking about.
I do find it interesting though because Asher is one of the 10 Northern Tribes that were scattered out of the promised land that this time.
She was an Israelite but technically not a Jew
Notice that Luke never actually mentions that she say Jesus.
Just that she thanked God for Him and began telling others about Him.
He tells about her though making sure it is known that she knew who was here.
She was just as pious as Simeon.
After her husband died she devoted herself to God’s service in the temple.
When the text says “she did not depart from the temple” it doesn’t mean she lived there day and night.
But that she was always there, she was devoted.
We know she had self-control because she didn’t marry again.
We know she had a close relationship with God because she was always worshipping, fasting and praying.
And when you spend that much time with someone you get to know them.
We might not be able to spend the same time with God that Anna did but the principle should be the same in our lives as it is in hers:
Spend as much time with God as we can.
Don’t put a number or a time on it.
Just do the best with each day that you have.
She also lived waiting and hoping for the redemption of Jerusalem and announced to those of the same mind that the Messiah had come.
I think the main point here with Anna is that there was another person who had an impeccable Godly reputation that believed Jesus to be the Messiah shortly after His birth.
Giving the evidence of two witnesses saying the same thing which follows the guidelines set in the OT book of Deuteronomy.
Essentially it gives validation to the claim that there were those who believed Jesus to be the Messiah from the time of His birth.


How does this help us today?
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