Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
Simeon and Anna — Part II
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
God’s Performance Greater Than His Promise
Next we see that God’s performance is greater than His promise. There is an old legend that Simeon had stumbled over the words in Isaiah 7:14. And as he prayed and wrestled with his doubts, it was revealed to him that with his own eyes he would see the virgin’s Son. All that he dared to hope for was a glimpse–“a brief glimpse” and “a passing word” would have sufficed him. He lived in expectation of the hour when someone would say to him, “Behold Messiah!” Now the expected moment has arrived–and is it merely a glimpse of Messiah that he wins?–he takes the child of all his hopes up in his arms (Luke 2:28). No wonder that he broke forth into such glorious praise; he had got more than he could ask or think. God’s promise had buoyed him through many a weary day; but the performance was greater than the promise. We should all remember that in entering a New Year, and when we speak about the promise of the year. God has a royal way of doing things, and His cups have a happy art of running over. The devil is a most lavish and tireless Promiser, but how the promise is performed let our own past days tell us. God’s promises are very many and very great; but to a living and prayerful faith as Simeon’s was, the performance is greater than the promise.
Simeon and Anna Saw Jesus in the Temple
Again we remark that Simeon and Anna saw Jesus in the Temple. The shepherds had seen Him lying in the manger; there, too, the wise men from the East had seen Him. But it was not in the manger that He was seen by these two devout souls; it was in the House of God. Now there is a sense in which we all must find Christ in the manger, we must discover Him under life’s lowly roofs. In places which were never consecrated, but where the daily drudgery is done, there must we waken to the presence of Jesus. But on the other hand, it is equally true, that we shall miss Him if we do not go to church; and we must never enter a place of worship without the prayer, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” Columba got his Gaelic name, “Colum of the churches,” says an old Irishman, because as a boy he was so devoted to church-worship; like Simeon, he saw Jesus in the Temple.
Till We Have Seen Jesus We Are Not Ready to Die
Lastly, we learn that till we have seen Jesus we are not ready to die (Luke 2:29-32). Children do not dwell much on death; God did not intend that they should do so. But sometimes, even to children, comes the thought, “When is a person ready to die?” Well, the length of years has little to do with it, although all young people think that it has. We are not ready to die when we are seventy; we are ready when we have seen Christ as our Saviour. Have the children of the family seen Him so? Are the fathers and mothers praying for that end? A little girl dearly loves to hold the baby. Get it from Simeon’s arms, and give it her.
I pray that we are encouraged by these words and that Almighty God get all the glory and the praise.