Jesus Presented in the Temple
SS Lesson for 12/29/2013
Devotional Scripture: Exod 13:11-16
The lesson examines what happened when Jesus was Presented in the Temple. The study's aim is to demonstrate that those faithful to God should glorify Him. The study's application is to encourage faithful living while waiting for Christ's return.
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation 31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
Simeon had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die till he had seen the Messiah. Simeon was righteous and devout ( “reverent”) before God. Unlike the religious leaders, he was waiting for the consolation of Israel, that is, the Messiah, the One who would bring comfort to the nation (cf. “the redemption of Jerusalem,” v. 38). The notation that the Holy Spirit was upon Simeon reminds one of the Old Testament prophets on whom the Holy Spirit came. Since Anna was “a prophetess” (v. 36), Simeon was probably also in the godly prophetic tradition of Israel. The special revelation from the Holy Spirit about seeing the Messiah was apparently unique and perhaps came because of Simeon’s intense desire for the Promised One. On seeing the Child and picking Him up, Simeon... praised God, the response of godly people toward the Messiah throughout the Gospel of Luke. He then uttered a psalm of praise extolling God for fulfilling His promise by bringing salvation. The Messiah is the Source of salvation, as His name Jesus indicates. In all three of the hymns of thanksgiving and praise recorded by Luke in his first two chapters (1:46-55, 68-79; 2:29-32) lie the deep significance of the births of John and Jesus for the salvation of Israel and the world. Simeon noted that the Messiah was to be for the Gentiles as well as for Israel. The idea of salvation for the Gentiles is set forth many times in the Gospel of Luke. The words of Simeon caused Mary and Joseph to marvel. Though they had been told that their Son was the Messiah, perhaps they had not comprehended the scope of His ministry to the entire world—to the Gentiles as well as to the people of Israel. Simeon revealed to Mary that her Son would be opposed (a sign... spoken against) and that she would be hurt greatly. Her grief would be like a sword piercing her soul. The Son would cause the falling and rising of many in Israel. Throughout His ministry Jesus proclaimed that the only way to the kingdom, something the nation had long sought, was to follow Him. The ones who did so would receive salvation; they would “rise.” But the ones who did not believe Him would not receive salvation; they would “fall.” These consequences would reveal what they thought about Mary’s Son.
The background of our key verse is the Old Testament law of the firstborn, as Luke 2:23-24 makes clear. The firstborn of all Israel belonged to the Lord (Exod. 13:2, 15). The firstborn child was given to God and then redeemed, or purchased back, by the price of the sacrifice. This law was designed, as was much of the Old Testament law, to recall God's redemption of His people in the Exodus. It was important to God that His people never lose sight of their redemption. Even a thousand years plus after the Exodus, devout Jews were fulfilling the law of the firstborn, remembering God's redemption of His people. The firstborn child stood for all the offspring of a family. This simple ritual in the temple sanctified the entire family to God. Being committed to the teachings of God's Word, Joseph and Mary took the infant Christ into the temple in Jerusalem to offer the requisite sacrifice. They were fulfilling all obedience out of reverence for God and His Word. It was there that they met Simeon. We do not have a lot of information about Simeon. We do not know who he was or what position he occupied in Hebrew society. This is the only passage in God's Word that mentions him. He seems to have been one of those faithful, devout, Bible-reading Israelites who longed for the coming of the Messiah. The Spirit of God spoke to Simeon about the sending of the Messiah into the world (Luke 2:26) and then graciously led him to the temple. The Lord was there at the same time. It was then, having taken the infant Lord Jesus into his arms, that Simeon uttered the powerful words of Luke 2:30-31. He acknowledged that the Lord Jesus had been sent into the world for the purpose of salvation. He could see in the life of this little child a worldwide salvation based upon all the messianic promises of God's Word. He did not know the story as we know it now, with knowledge of the Cross and all the surrounding events. But by prophetic utterance he proclaimed that this child would bring salvation to the world. All through the birth narratives about the Lord, we have seen this prevailing theme. The Lord Jesus was sent into the world to redeem sinners to God. Let us not lose our gospel focus, particularly in the Christmas season. Jesus Christ was sent into the world to save and redeem sinners. We see in Luke 2:31 the universal aspect of this. Simeon stood on the mountain of biblical prophecy and saw that the coming of Christ into the world was for the whole world. God prepared and planned all of this beforehand. The message and meaning of the Christmas story was and is to extend to all people, everywhere. Verse 32 mentions both Israel and the Gentiles. Therefore, the coming of Christ into the world fulfilled the promise of Genesis 12:1-3—that all families of the earth would be blessed through the offspring of Abraham. No other descendant of Abraham meets this criterion. We celebrate this blessing in our churches and families. Christ was sent into the world to save sinners, and His coming was marked by a beautiful ceremony of redemption as He was presented in the temple.
The outline of the lesson was repeated from a previous SS Lesson dated 12/31/2001 and from the points revealed by the study of the Scriptural text.
So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God
Presented to Simeon
And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem
Presented to Anna
When Jesus was born, his parents already had an authoritative statement about his future (see Luke 1:32, 33). But how would that future as the ruler on David's throne take shape? A first glimpse at the answer comes in today's text. Our lesson is set in the Jerusalem temple against the background of the requirements of the Law of Moses. The temple was the center of ancient Israel's worship. In the wilderness just after the exodus from Egypt, God instructed Israel on building a tabernacle (in effect, a portable temple) for worship. The tabernacle and its successor, the temple, represented God's presence with his people. But as the Israelites descended further and further into sin, no king proved to be the one whose throne God would establish forever. Finally, the temple was destroyed by the Babylonians when they sacked Jerusalem in 586 BC and took the people captive. The Jews were allowed to rebuild Jerusalem and its temple after that exile ended several decades later. That second temple was far less grand than the first. Yet God promised that the one who would build the true temple was still to come, and the glory of the ultimate temple of fulfillment would far outshine that of the one built by the returning exiles (Haggai 2:6-9). Herod the Great, the client king who ruled Judea on Rome's behalf, began a massive project to rebuild the temple about two decades before Jesus' birth. The project was breathtaking, involving precut 55-ton stones, large columns to support vast colonnades, and huge stairs ascending to the temple mount. No doubt Herod wanted to legitimize himself as the promised temple-building king, but few took that idea seriously. The faithful still waited for God to send the true king. It is in that context that the infant Jesus is presented at the temple in today's text.
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law,
28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
29 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel."
33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against
35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Reverencing God, pious, religious: Acts 2:5; 8:2. taking hold well, i. e. carefully and surely; cautious.
5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly.
He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
That is, the Messiah, who was known among the pious Jews by this character: he was to be the consolation of Israel, because he was to be its redemption. This consolation of Israel was so universally expected that the Jews swore by it: So let me see the Consolation, if such a thing be not so, or so.
In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
"The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue.
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. 2 Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. 3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.
Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
68 "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. 69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. 8 They are steadfast forever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness. 9 He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever-- holy and awesome is his name.
For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.
4 As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. 5 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. 6 And all mankind will see God's salvation.'"
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.
[The fall] The word "fall" here denotes "misery, suffering, disappointment," or "ruin." There is a plain reference to the passage where it is said that he should be "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence," Isa 8:14-15. Many expected a temporal prince, and in this they were disappointed. They loved darkness rather than light, and rejected him, and fell unto destruction. Many that were proud were brought low by his preaching. They fell from the vain and giddy height of their own self-righteousness, and were humbled before God, and then, through him, rose again to a better righteousness and to better hopes. The nation also rejected him and put him to death, and, as a judgment, "fell" into the hands of the Romans. Thousands were led into captivity, and thousands perished. The nation rushed into ruin, the temple was destroyed, and the people were scattered into all the nations. See Rom 9:32-33; 1 Peter 2:8; 1 Cor 1:23-24. [And rising again] The word "again" is not expressed in the Greek. It seems to be supposed, in our translation, that the "same persons would fall and rise again; but this is not the meaning of the passage. It denotes that many would be ruined by his coming, and that many "others" would be made happy or be saved. Many of the poor and humble, that were willing to receive him, would obtain pardon of sin and peace-would "rise" from their sins and sorrows here, and finally ascend to eternal life
[And for a sign ...] The word "sign" here denotes a conspicuous or distinguished object, and the Lord Jesus was such an object of contempt and rejection by all the people. He was despised, and his religion has been the common "mark" or "sign" for all the wicked, the profligate, and the profane, to curse, and ridicule, and oppose. Compare Isa 8:18, and Acts 28:22. Never was a prophecy more exactly fulfilled than this. Thousands have rejected the gospel and fallen into ruin; thousands are still falling of those who are ashamed of Jesus; thousands blaspheme him, deny him, speak all manner of evil against him, and would crucify him again if he were in their hands; but thousands also "by" him are renewed, justified, and raised up to life and peace.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity;
37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
(Acts 2:18) Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
Why Anna was called a prophetess is not known. It might be because she had been the wife of a prophet, or because she was employed in celebrating the praises of God (compare 1 Chron 25:1-2,4; 1 Sam 10:5), or because she herself had foretold future events, being inspired. (from Barnes' Notes)
Hanna propheetis 'Anna, a prophetess', the apposition denotes the function or quality in which Anna acts. As such it is different from the two subsequent appositions which serve to identify Anna as to her lineage. propheetis. (from the UBS Handbook Series)
A female prophet. Women were also blessed with prophetic abilities in Bible times. Miriam, the sister of Moses, led the women with her chorus in response to the great song of her brother (Ex 15:20). Deborah joined with Barak in song and exulted in their great victory (Judg 5:2-31). Hannah's prayer was remarkable, foretelling how David's dynasty would be founded (1 Sam 2:1-10). Luke reported the prophetic activity of the elderly Anna in the Temple (2:36-38), as well as that of Elizabeth and Mary (1:41-45,46-55). First Corinthians 11:5 assumes the female role in prophesying, seen again in Philip's four virgin daughters (Acts 21:9). Other prophetesses such as Noadiah gained a bad reputation (Neh 6:14). (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
Women were not excluded from the prophetic office in the Old Testament, and were honored with the right of prophetic utterance in the New Testament. It should be noted, however, that women like Miriam (Ex 15:20), Deborah (Judg 4:4) and Huldah (2 Kings 22:14) were not credited with the seer's insight into the future, but were called "prophetesses" because of the poetical inspiration of their speech. Among others mentioned as having the prophetic gift we find Hannah (1 Sam 2:1), Anna (Luke 2:36) and the four daughters of Philip (Acts 21:8-9). C. E. SCHENK (from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia)
They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.
Therefore, "they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD who minister by night in the house of the LORD. 2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.
From the series: Luke: The Gospel of the Gentiles
Luke had many incidents which he could have recorded for Christians, yet he chose the presentation of Jesus and the proclamations of Simeon and Anna. What was his purpose in including this account in his divinely inspired record, where there would have to be compelling reasons for inclusion in Scripture? What was the message of this text to the saints of his day, and to us as well? Let us consider the purpose of this passage. We will begin by making several observations.
(1) The incident takes place in the temple. The presentation of Jesus would normally have occurred at the temple in Jerusalem, but there is special significance to His appearance at the temple, both at the time of his presentation and at the age of 12. The Old Testament prophets had spoken of the appearance of God’s Messiah at the temple (Malachi 3:1). Jesus’ first visit to the temple in Jerusalem, as recorded by John’s gospel (John 2:13-25), commenced with the cleansing of the temple, and with strong words of rebuke, just as one well acquainted with the Old Testament prophecies concerning Messiah’s appearance would have expected. Jesus’ first appearance at the temple, which occurred at the time of His presentation, was a very significant event.
(2) The inspired utterances of Simeon and Anna completely overshadowed the ceremony of Christ’s presentation. The occasion for the appearance of our Lord at the temple was His presentation, but nothing is actually said about this ceremony. We have no record here of the ritual, nor are we given the names of any of the priests involved in the ceremony. We are only told of Simeon and Anna, and of their proclamations. It is not the ceremony, the ritual of the presentation of Jesus which is most important, but the proclamation of these two saints.
(3) While the primary intent of Joseph and Mary was to fulfill the requirements of the Law pertaining to the birth of Jesus (cf. Luke 2:39), the purpose of the passage is to disclose two more divinely inspired proclamations of the identity of this child as God’s Messiah. The essence of the actions of Simeon and Anna was to identify the child as the Messiah, God’s Anointed One, God’s Salvation. Functionally, the utterances of Simeon and Anna informed the godly Israelites, those looking for the Messiah, that He had come.
(4) Simeon and Anna are highlighted for their godliness, and are described as model disciples, whom we should seek to imitate so far as their goals and priorities are concerned. Humanly speaking, Simeon and Anna had little to commend them. They were apparently not people of position or power. They were not the “shakers and movers” of that day. It is my personal opinion that to many of the officials of the temple, Simeon and Anna were looked upon as eccentrics, whose devotion was futile. After all, couldn’t these people do something useful, especially Anna, who was there every day, but only had time for prayer.
I am inclined to think that the religious officials looked even with disdain on people like Anna. She was always there, always under foot. And her kind of super-spirituality was probably viewed as creating an unspiritual environment. After all, if she was mourning over and confessing Israel’s sins, then she was backhandedly condemning the religious leaders. Since Anna was a widow, and the Lord condemned the religious leaders for taking advantage of widows (e.g. “you devour widows’ houses,” Matt. 23:14), Anna may well have been a victim of the religious leaders with whom she continually came in contact.
From URL: https://bible.org/seriespage/psalm-simeon-and-announcement-anna-luke-221-40
1. The Holy Spirit gives the believer understanding regarding who Jesus is (Luke 2:25-26)
2. As Jesus was dedicated to God, so we should dedicate ourselves to Him (Luke 2:27-29; cf. Rom. 12:1-2)
3. Jesus Christ came to provide salvation for both the Gentiles and the Jews (Luke 2:30-32)
4. If Christ has revealed His light in your heart, spread that light to others. Jesus affects people in different ways, revealing what is in their hearts (vss. 33-38)
5. Like Anna, we can thank the Lord for saving us and then go tell others that He has provided redemption for them as well