Character References for Jesus

When Jesus was eight days old, his parents brought him to the Temple “to present him to the Lord,” and to make an offering customary among poor people.

The Holy Spirit arranged for two outstanding individuals to bless the baby, Jesus.

Simeon and the Spirit

People knew Simeon to be “righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2.25). Simeon was like everyone else in Israel, looking for God to release the nation from foreign domination and restore it.

The Holy Spirit played a prominent role in Simeon’s blessing of Jesus. This is emphasized by the number of times the Spirit is mentioned.

Verse 25 – The Holy Spirit rested on him.

Verse 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit.

Verse 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple.

As we study the Gospel of Luke, I will point the many references to the work of the Holy Spirit. This Gospel will encourage us to give greater emphasis to the surrender of our lives to the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Holding and Blessing Jesus

God blessed Simeon’s faithfulness by allowing him to hold in his arms the Savior of the world.

Luke 2.28-32 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,

“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;

“For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

“A light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”

The Temple was God’s designated place for heaven and earth to meet. God revealed in the most sacred place of the Jews that his salvation was for “all peoples.”

The promise was that both Gentiles and Jews will experience God’s redeeming love through Jesus. What he prophesied, we have experienced to the glory of God’s love and grace.

Resistance

Simon’s blessing included the fact that God’s purpose through Jesus was destined to be resisted.

He said, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2.34-35).

The Gospel of Luke will remind us that Jesus included people who were normally excluded and he raised those who society put down.

The powerful, religious authorities and governmental officials, were revealed through their response to Jesus to be self-absorbed and power-hungry. Their self-centered behavior brought about their destruction.

When Jesus reveals our inner thoughts to be sinful and self-centered, we should allow our prideful thoughts to fall in surrender the One who loves us.

The Second Witness

Anna provided the second testimony to the person and work of Jesus. She was an old widow, “who never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day” (Luke 2.37).

She fasted and prayed because things were not right in the world. When she met Jesus, she knew God was setting in motion a program to set the world to rights.

Our Response

We can be like Simeon and Anna. God is working his purposes in our world, whether it is obvious or not.

We can be guided and empowered by the Spirit to join him in his activity.

We can fast and pray, like Anna, for the completion of God’s plan.

Dear God, please help us to join you in what you are doing in the world. May our prayers and actions be guided and empowered by your Holy Spirit.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Rudy will add insights to this passage you will not want to miss.

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