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Sermon from Luke 2: 21-38

Akhup Serto

00:00 / 36:21

Living in light of Eternity

Luke 2: 21-38

For the sake of our meditation, I will break the passage into three sections

based on the characters that we find in the text under consideration

1. Luke 2:21-24 (Joseph, Mary and their child Jesus)

2. Luke 2:25-35 (A man by the name of Simeon)

3. Luke 2:36-38 (A woman by the name of Anna)


1. Luke 2:21-24 (Joseph, Mary and their child Jesus)

In the first section, Luke describes how Joseph and Mary fulfilled the customary obligations prescribed in the OT concerning their first child Jesus

  • Circumcision (A sign of covenant between God and Abraham and his descendants. See Genesis 17:1-5, 10-12)

    • As devout parents, Joseph and Mary would see to it that their firstborn son would be circumcised

    • After his circumcision, he was named Jesus as instructed by the angel to Mary before she conceived him (See Luke 1:31)

According to the OT law, Circumcision is not only the requirement but also presentation of the first born son in the temple

  • Leviticus 12 prescribes what had to be done between circumcision and presentation in the temple

    • So when Jesus was 40 days old, he was presented in the temple for the purification rites.

    • Joseph and Mary offered a sacrifice of turtledoves or young pigeons probably indicating that they were not wealthy.

It was the requirements of the law that brought Joseph and Mary with the baby Jesus to the temple.


Having described how Joseph and Mary kept all the Jewish customary laws, Luke now abruptly shifts his narrative to tell a remarkable story of a devout Jew by the name of Simeon (which is our second section)


2. Luke 2:25-35 (A man by the name of Simeon)

  • 400 years of silence between Malachi and the birth of Jesus Christ

    • During this 400 year, there was no prophet writing or speaking to the nation of Israel on behalf of God as against many prophets in the OT

    • Corruption and evil things were rampant among the Jewish people, especially the leaders. In the midst of evil and uncertainties, there were faithful ones who quietly prayed for the coming of the Messiah. God spoke personally and supernaturally to such men and women. Simeon was one such man

  • Who was this Simeon according to Luke?

    • He was a devout person who lived a righteous life, praying and waiting for the coming of Messiah. He knew through the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he saw Christ with his own eyes. He met Jesus in the temple exactly the same time Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus for the purification rites. Simeon interrupted them and looked at the baby Jesus and held him in his arms. What a glorious day it would have been for Simeon to finally see and not just see but hold the child Jesus, the promised Messiah, in his arms.

    • As he took the child in his arms, he thanked God and began to sing a song of praise, similar to the songs of Mary (1:46-55) and Zacharias (1:68-79)

    • This hymn can be further divided into two sections

      • In the first section (2:29-30), Simeon praises God for fulfilling His promise to him personally

      • In the second section (2:31-32), he praises God for providing a Savior to all the nations

        • That Jesus Christ came for all, both Jews and Gentiles

  • After praising God, Simeon blessed Joseph and Mary and prophesied the child Jesus’ future

    • That he would become both a blessing and a curse to individuals, depending on how they regard him.


3. Luke 2:36-38 (A woman by the name of Anna)

  • She was a prophetess, meaning she received revelation from God. But She had a bitter past, in fact, a tragedy that none of us would want to have

    • She married probably at a very age (a common practice in those days) but her husband died after only seven years of marriage

    • Rather than choosing to remarry, she devoted the remainder of her life to praying, fasting and worshipping in the temple

    • Like Simeon, she was looking forward to the coming of the Messiah

    • She happened to be in the temple the same time Simeon prophesied concerning the future of the child Jesus

    • And she gave further prophetic confirmation that the child Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Redeemer


What we learn from the word of God is that both Simeon and Anna lived their lives in the light of eternity. This is clearly reflected in their lives and testimonies. Consider the life of Anna. I am appalled by thinking of the life she must have lived without her husband for so long until this point of her life. One thing I am sure is that she was able to live her life from tragedy to triumphant life because she was living in light of eternity.


Simeon and Anna are an example of unwavering faith, revealing that even late in life God can use one in ministry. We may not have the type of special revelation about God’s plan of salvation that Simeon and Anna present to Jesus’ parents. But we definitely have hope in our Lord Jesus that one day we will meet him again in His glory. Let our walk with God and faithful service to him be what define everything else in our lives. No matter how difficult and trying it is, let us continue to live for the Lord, eagerly anticipating for His coming!

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