Luke 2:33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
In verse 33 we are reminded that Joseph is not the father of Jesus Christ. He is listed by his name but Mary is listed as His mother. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost. He is the eternal Son of God Who took upon Himself flesh in order to come and lay down His life for the sheep. He shed His blood so that man can be forgiven. Only the sinless Lamb of God can take away the sins of the world. Those who reject Jesus’ deity, reject God’s salvation. They have no salvation.
Joseph and His mother marvelled at the things that Simeon said to them. They were in a unique place. No other parent would ever hear words such as Simeon spoke here. Joseph and His mother needed to learn the significance of this child that God gave to Mary. Joseph needed to understand this child would have a much greater calling than to learn the skill of carpentry. Good carpenters are important and necessary. Building a Spiritual house is of much greater importance.
In verse 34 Simeon blessed them but he had a particular message for Mary. The coming of Jesus Christ would bring big change to the world. Jesus Christ is the Saviour of mankind. In John 8 we find that the Jews that believed on Jesus were offended that He would tell them that “the truth shall make you free”. They insisted they had never been in bondage. There would be those who would humble themselves and be saved. Some would respond favourably to Him as Saviour. We know that many would cry out “crucify Him, crucify Him”. Mary would witness the different responses to her son. As a good mother, she would find some of this difficult to understand and accept. How can anyone hate the person who offers them what is most needed — salvation? Yet she would witness such hatred for her son.
Verse 35 speaks of the pain she would suffer as a mother. This verse is not telling us to believe the Catholic heresy of Mary. The Catholics love idols and they distort the facts to make an idol of something that God gives us for an entirely different purpose.
Many people would show who they truly were as they would give their response to Jesus Christ. It is interesting today as well to see so many people reject the only salvation God provides for mankind. So many false religions have been developed over the years in defiance of the truth. So many people who live in Israel and who know the Biblical history of Israel live in an entirely secular world. They reject the Lord Jesus Christ. Sadly this will be the case until the end of the Tribulation. At that time the Jewish population that remains will acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah and king. Then during the Millennium many will reject Jesus Christ and at the end of that time, there will be one final uprising against Him, led by the devil, and Jesus Christ will destroy them all. The devil will be cast into the lake of fire and the rebellious people will meet the Lord Jesus Christ at the great white throne judgment.
I spoke with a person this week who is “Christian reformed”. They are Calvinists. Why would anyone choose to believe such a heresy when the truth is so clear and so plain? Yet this person was quite pleased to believe such a lie.
In verse 36 we are introduced to another person who lived in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah. Anna was a prophetess. She was the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. The name Phanuel means “face of God”. We are not given any further information about her father except of which tribe he came. We do know that his daughter was a God-fearing woman who was also a prophetess.
God had stirred in her heart and she believed in Him. She was an elderly woman who had lived in widowhood for a number of years. Her husband had died years earlier and rather than remarry, she chose to give herself to the Word of God.
Verse 37 tells us she was about eighty four years old. Some believe that this phrase states that she had been a widow for eighty four years. That would make her over one hundred years old. She stayed at the temple, serving God with fasting and prayers night and day. She was committed to knowing the Lord and of serving Him. She was a blessing to the temple. She was not following the lies of the Pharisees and other false religious groups. She was a light shining the truth in the midst of much false teaching. She was a blessing to those who would encounter her.
Verse 38 tells us that she also came in at just the right time. Nothing is by “chance” with God. He directs the steps of those who know Him and serve Him. She came in and she also gave thanks to the Lord. She too realized the blessing of the Lord in the gift of Jesus Christ. She was not afraid or ashamed to speak of the Lord to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. There were Jews who believed the prophets. They believed in spite of the false teaching that was so prevalent at that time. There were those who were truly saved and looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. They had their faith in God’s Word. They had no problem in believing that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. They willingly accepted this gift from God and they trusted in Him as their Saviour.
God was giving confirmation to Mary and to Joseph, of the special nature of this child that Mary had given birth to. This was not just an ordinary child. This was a special child who had a unique nature. This was the second person of the Godhead Who took upon Him flesh. Joseph and Mary had already been given some detail regarding this child before Joseph had married her. They had trusted in God and thus God could give them further details to help them to deal with this special situation in a way that would be a blessing to them. As already noted, many would miss out on this special blessing. They would choose to despise Jesus Christ and His deity.
Today we have this account to help us to see the importance of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah. He is the only Saviour. We do not need another Saviour. There will never be another Saviour. We need to know Him as Saviour and Lord. We need to understand that He is more than just a good man. He is the eternal Son of God Who took upon Himself the form of a man being born of a woman for the express purpose of going to the cross and shedding His blood on that cross to provide salvation to all those who would trust in Him as the Messiah. It is necessary to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. Man needs forgiveness of sin. Jesus Christ is the only One Who provides forgiveness of sin.
If you are reading this, but not saved, today is the day that you should get saved. You need to acknowledge your need of a Saviour and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. He will change your life immediately. There will be a different desire in your life than before. You will never be the same as you were before you were saved. You will then have the opportunity to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.