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Series B
Simeon and Anna: Gospel Analysis

Luke 2:22-40

Grace Lutheran Church
Des Moines, Washington 98198

This Bible study is from a larger course entitled, THE LIFE OF CHRIST: A Study in the Four Gospels. This 54 week course for the laity will be available for congregations in 2006.

Basic text for the course: SYNOPSIS OF THE FOUR GOSPELS, Kurt Aland, English Edition, P. 8


-After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; Circumcism was the cutting of the foreskin on the male penis. It was a Jewish ritual to be a sign of a covenant/contract between God and the person being circumcised. This ritual had its origins in Genesis 17: “God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. Throughout your generations every male among you shall be circumcised when he is eight days old.”  

-And he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. The day on which the baby was circumcised was also the “naming day.” On this day,  the baby received his/her name. 

‘When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord  (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord").

-And they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons." That Mary and Joseph gave two doves and two young pigeons instead of a lamb indicates that they were poor people.

-Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel,

-And the Holy Spirit rested on him. Circle the words, “Holy Spirit.” The word, “Spirit,” occurs three times in these sentences. Luke wants the Holy Spirit to rest on our lives as well.

-It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would see the Messiah before he died. The Holy Spirit guided him into the temple. Luke wants our lives to be guided by the Holy Spirit as well.

Simeon came into the temple, looking for the Messiah. We will study the temple building later in the course when we study Jesus’ teachings in the temple courtyard in Jerusalem.

-And when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, All children went through rituals of purification. Mothers waited forty days after the birth of a boy to go to the temple or synagogue to be declared pure by the priest. Mothers waited eighty days if they gave birth to a girl. Boy babies were preferred over girl babies in the patriarchal society of that day.

-"Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." Now that Simeon had seen the Messiah, he was ready to die in peace. Old Simeon confesses that this child will be a light of revelation for the Gentiles and also the glorious Presence of God (the Shekinah) for the Jews.

-And the child's father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.  Both parents were amazed at what was being said about their baby.

-Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, "This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too." Simeon had a specific word or prophecy for the mother, Mary. Simeon wanted Mary to know that her baby Jesus would grow up to be a sign that will be opposed by many in Israel. That prophecy came true. Jesus faced intense opposition from the Jewish leadership who wanted to kill him. Simeon also wanted Mary the mother to know that a “sword will pierce your own soul too.” That prophecy also came true. Mary experienced the deepest of agony as she watched her son tortured and killed on the cross.

-There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. Anna was an old prophet of the tribe of Asher. She had lived a long time as a widow after the death of her husband. As a prophet, her special gift was to see into the future.

-She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. The old prophetess Anna spoke favorably about Jesus, that Jesus would be the one to redeem Israel.


Please read the sermon based on this text:

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