By Russ Wilkins
Dir. of Missions, Shiloh Baptist Assoc., Adamsville
Focal Passage: Luke 2:25-38
In 2020 there have been some things that we thought were necessities and we thought were so important but then we realized that they were just things we wanted or enjoyed or looked forward to.
Maybe for you it was March Madness. Every year you get excited, fill out your brackets and compete with your friends to see whose bracket did best. It is something you look forward to every year. In 2020, March Madness was canceled. How disappointed were you?
Maybe other things disappointed you this year such as, my family canceled our Thanksgiving celebration this year, as I am sure many of you did as well. To my personal life, that was an even bigger deal than March Madness. It was a forfeiture of something that I anticipate every year.
In Luke 2, we find a couple of people that are anticipating something much larger than March Madness or a Thanksgiving celebration.
They are anxiously waiting on the Messiah. The first one mentioned is Simeon. At some point, Simeon was given a word by the Holy Spirit that he would see the Christ. The Israelite people, as a whole, had not heard from the Lord for 400 years, but we see in Simeon’s life that God was still active in the lives of individuals. The Jews anticipated a coming Messiah, but Simeon anticipated a personal promise. We are not given a timetable for how many years Simeon waited but can you imagine the anticipation?
Doesn’t this make you wonder why the majority of God’s people missed the very one they had been waiting for and why the priests, those that were supposed to specifically be able to identify Him, had no idea even after the “magi from the east” came looking for “He who has been born King of the Jews” (Matthew 2).
The chief priests and scribes knew exactly where Jesus was going to be born, they knew about the magi and they still did not care to seek. This time of year, there is an old cliché, “wise men still seek Him”. How true that is and what a wonderful reminder that we can be like Simeon and seek Jesus.
The second person we read about is Anna, who is now eighty-four years old. We do not know if she had been given the same promise, but we do know that she put herself in a position to see Jesus. She “did not leave the temple grounds, serving night and day with fasts and prayers.”
She was a “prophetess” and no doubt knew about the promises of a coming Messiah. She was anxiously waiting but she was not passively waiting. She waited by serving through prayer and fasting. We have that same opportunity today.
Simeon was led by the Holy Spirit to go to the temple and Anna never left the temple but rather served there night and day. Both of them were in a position to see the Promised One that the entire Jewish world anticipated. They are an example to us if we want to see Jesus, be led by the Holy Spirit, and be in a position to be in the exact spot God wants us.
Are you anticipating Jesus? Will you be consistently faithful and seeking like Simeon and Anna when Jesus comes again?