PRISONERS OF HOPE - PART 4
Do you know
that movies are not made with just one camera? Several cameras are shooting the
same scene from various angles.
The 4 gospels
are like that. They all bring different dimensions to the same story.
is writing to a Roman official Theophilus who probably became a Jesus follower.
Luke’s account is a thorough documentation to help Theophilus be certain of
what he was taught and, in some ways, present a report that authenticates this
looked at how a Priest handled Hope. Today in our frame are two people
little spoken of when it comes to the Christmas story but very important to our
theme and to showing how Jesus’ birth was not just foretold, and there was
nothing random about it. We will look at how a Prophet and a devout
Person handled hope.
SIMEON, THE DEVOUT PERSON.
A man in Jerusalem Simeon who was righteous and devout would regularly go to
the temple. He waits for the “consolation of Israel”. This is an
old English phrase. In our school, we used to have a consolation prize! The
word means “comfort”. So, the prize is given to someone very good but did
not get the prize. It does not mean that here. It means the one who
would bring comfort to all of Israel. (Remember Is 61:1-2 to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those
who grieve in Zion)
is another name for Jesus – Consolation of Israel!
do we know about Simeon? He is a devout man. That is how Luke describes him –
it meant he visited the temple regularly, observed all the feats, said his
prayers, kept the Sabbath, and lived a righteous life. We do not know whether
he is married, or whether he has children. It could be that in that culture it
was assumed that he was married so there was no need for that information.
are told that the Holy Spirit spoke to him in his heart that he would
not die until he saw the Messiah!! Now we can read this and just move along!!
What we need to realize is that the Messiah was long awaited since the fall of
Adam and Eve!!!!
you ever had a prophetic word over your life that has taken years to come to
pass? What have you done with it?
Work in the waiting
the Biblical sense, waiting is not passive. It is engaging with all that you
presently know you are supposed to do and do with gladness and with hope in
your heart where you continue to believe that “you will see the goodness of God
in the land of the living”.
did not stop going to the temple. It was the natural place for him to encounter
the Messiah, but he did not know how.
Then came a day like no other. Simeon, moved by the Holy Spirit went to the
temple. Maybe it was not his usual day to go. He arrives at the exact time
Mary and Joseph are there. Is God not in charge of time? He functions out of
the construct of time. Time was created for us humans. And in that context, God
was bang on time!
I see in Simeon is that he lived so tuned to the Holy Spirit. He could have
missed that prompt or ignored it and would have missed being a part of history
recorded!! Here is my takeaway – be alert because sometimes things come
your way, that may look ordinary – like reading your Bible every day, coming to
church, going to your Gym Group, and attending the church prayer.
are some of the means of grace given to us by which we hear God speak to us and
we could miss that chance to hear an encouraging word. Can you miss out? Yes, you can. This
is not about Salvation. The fulfilment of God’s promises in your life requires
the right response from you.
because Simeon obeyed that prompting, his long-awaited Hope was fulfilled.
Simeon went into the temple. Did he know what to look for? We don’t know. Was
he to look for a grown man, a baby? We don’t know. But once he entered the temple,
he was drawn to this young couple that had come to dedicate their baby boy!
There must have been so many other parents there that day.
can only marvel at the accuracy of how the Holy Spirit speaks if we are willing
to listen and take steps of faith and obedience.
V29 – Worship in the waiting
the baby in his arms. Imagine holding God incarnate in your hands!!! He prays a
prayer of thanksgiving and worships – acknowledging God as having fulfilled His
promise. And he makes a prophetic
declaration in line with scripture – “a light to the Gentiles”. Jesus –
the Light of the World! You see up till this point, even though it is in the
Old Testament, the Jews had a very myopic view of the Messiah – that he would
come to save them, to save them from political oppression and that he exclusively
belonged to them. But here is Simeon echoing Isaiah’s prophecies – that the
Messiah is not just the Saviour for the Jews but for the Gentiles as well – all
the nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
predicts in some measure that while the Messiah’s life is extraordinary, He
would expose systems and hearts by whether they accept or reject Him as
Messiah. This child would cause a great deal of sorrow to His mother – an
indication of the death he would die.
camera pans right – another person walks in at about the same time. This person
is a woman!
ANNA THE PROPHET
some reason, we know far more about her than Simeon. I think we need to track what
Luke is doing. As you know 1st Cent. Jewish culture did not take
women seriously at all. She was not to be heard in public places, not to be
seen with men other than from her household, and she was not even considered a
reliable witness. So, while Simeon needed no character certificate other than
that he was old and devout, the reader needs to know more about Anna to
establish her credibility.
We know she
is the daughter of Pennuel who comes from the tribe of Asher. She was married
for seven years and then a widow for the rest of her life!! And we were told
was 84. Some translations say she was a widow for 84 years.
another thing to her credit – she spent all her days worshipping in the temple.
did she do? – She worshipped, prayed, and fasted regularly.
I am sure she too was prompted by the Holy Spirit. And she must have walked up
to Mary and Joseph and at that moment she felt prompted in her heart to speak
out that this was no ordinary child, but the one all Israel was waiting for –
for their redemption. And she does not keep this news to herself. She tells
people around her. Maybe this is how Luke came to hear of this as well and
now it is recorded in history. And we know that Mary treasured all these things
in her heart. And she must have told some people too!
revealed to them was huge. So many people in those days claimed to be the
Messiah and people got fed up and lost hope in the waiting. Even now, so many
people claim to be Jesus or try to predict the second coming. It was huge in
the 1980s. People sold their houses and lived like it was the end of the
world!! This happened many times and now many Christians live like the second
coming is either far, far away or a fairy tale.
I think it is
no coincidence that the three people who were part of the plan of ushering the
Messiah are old i.e., Zechariah (and Elizabeth), Simeon, and
Anna. They represent the era that is about to close and now a new Era with the
advent of the Messiah was upon them. They represent the last of the Old
It also shows
that the coming of Jesus is not in conflict with the Old Covenant,
rather He comes to fulfil the law and what the prophets foretold. By doing
this Luke is rooting the significance of Jesus’ birth and the “new faith” in
Jewish history. Therefore, these Jesus followers are not rabble-rousers
rather they are people who wholeheartedly believe in the Old Covenant and now
living in the good of its fulfilment. He wants Theophilus to see this as a
legitimate expression of faith and not some strange cult or sect. That is why
he stressed it four times – according to the law in v22, 23, v27 and 39.
Simeon’s prophecy ushers in the Era where the Kingdom is for all who will
believe – Jews and Gentiles alike.
What is my
biggest takeaway from this passage?
waited silently in Hope. They had a very long wait that spanned decades
(symbolic of the centuries Israel waited for the Messiah). Yet you do not see a
trace of bitterness or lethargy.
Why should we
the promises in God are yes and Amen!
How should we wait?
worship, and hope.
Where should we wait?
In His presence on the job.
What do we do in the waiting?
Continue to do what you were always doing.
There is something for our generation of entitlement, name it, frame it, claim
it. Can we wait? And can we continue to serve God diligently, worship Him
wholeheartedly, hold on to the prophetic and keep listening for His voice, and
pray without giving up Hope?
What happens when we don’t wait well?
We can create
Ishmael, the golden calf, or give in to pressure and do what we ought not to do
like King Saul.
I want my
life to be fine-tuned to the Holy Spirit.
I do not want to miss out on His call on my
life because I was not paying attention to His voice. God’s timing is
I do not want
to miss out because I got fed up with waiting and missed the cue of the
I do not want
to miss out because I gave into doubt or bitterness.
I do not want
to miss out because I think I know better and try to make things happen
in my flesh.
Which ones would you be tempted to do or have done? Let us repent and seek God’s forgiveness. And you know that He is faithful and just to forgive us and give us a second chance.
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