And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 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. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
“Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart 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 of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. ~ Luke 2:21-38
Jesus went through the same rituals that all Jewish babies did: He was named, circumcised, and presented in the Temple. Even though He was fully God, He was also fully human and followed the dictates of His people. What a heavy responsibility Mary and Joseph had to raise the Christ Child as an ordinary Jewish boy and at the same time know He was their Lord and Savior! And I am intrigued by Anna. Widowed after only seven years of marriage, she must have been very young when she started praying full-time in the Temple. Her story really convicts me of my own attitude toward worship. I’m happy to go to church a few times a week for an hour or two at a time. I manage to spend an hour or two every day worshipping God, praying, and reading the Bible on my own. But I can’t imagine spending decades worshipping God nonstop. I have been known to get impatient if a service ran overlong or if my Bible reading takes longer than expected. I want to be more like Anna.
Lord God, I cannot comprehend how Jesus could be fully God and fully man, but I know that to be the case. It is a great mystery of the faith, but if I could understand You, You would not be powerful and almighty Lord that You are. Give me the faith to know the truth even when I can’t understand it. Forgive me for those times I hurry through my devotions or complain because my daily readings are too long. Mold me into a person more like Anna, one who will pray and fast day and night for decades for love of You. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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