Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
Simeon and Anna — Part I
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him … And there was one Anna. a prophetess …. which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day–Luke 2:25, Luke 2:36, Luke 2:37
Age and Infancy Meet
No more beautiful scene could be imagined than this meeting of age and infancy in the Temple. As we read the story of the life of Jesus, we find Him surrounded on all hands by hypocrisy, until we begin to wonder if there was any religion left in those who haunted these sacred courts. But here, for a moment, the curtain is drawn aside. We get a glimpse of a Jewish man and woman. And we find them living holy and separated lives and longing for the advent of Messiah. On a gravestone erected over certain soldiers in Virginia there are these words, “Who they were, no one knows; what they were, everyone knows,” and we might use these words of Simeon and Anna. Who Simeon was we shall never learn; Luke is at no pains to tell us that; but what he was in his daily life and walk, in his inmost desire, and in the sight of God, everyone knows who has read this Gospel chapter. Simeon and Anna, then, entered the Temple when the infant Saviour was there, and to them, the glory of the child was shown.
Never Give Up Hoping
First, then, we learn that we should never give up hope. When Alexander the Great crossed into Asia he gave away almost all his belongings to his friends. One of his captains asked him, “Sir, what do you keep for yourself?” And the answer of the king was, “I keep hope.” Now we do not read that Simeon was an old man, though it has been universally believed that he was (Luke2:29). But through all his years Simeon was like Alexander: he had parted with much, but he had held fast to hope. The days were very dark days for Israel; no John the Baptist had sounded his trumpet note; everything seemed hopeless for the Jews, and some of the noblest of them had taken refuge in despair. But this brave soul “waited for the consolation of Israel,” and we know now that his waiting was not vain. Do you see the roots of that heart-hopefulness of his? It ran down to justice and devotion (Luke 2:25). it would have withered long since if it had not been rooted in an upright life and in fellowship with God. Dishonest conduct and forgetfulness of God are always visited with the withering of hope, for hope hangs like a fruit on the first two great commandments. Let us all keep hoping, then, as Simeon did; let us be expectant and on the outlook to the end; and let us remember that a glad and helpful temper is only possible when we are just and devout.