Today, we look at two more reactions to the birth of the Messiah: Simeon, a righteous and devout Jew, and Anna, an elderly widow who Luke tells us was a prophet.
The Jews had been waiting and praying for the coming of their Messiah for centuries. They had read the prophecies like the passage in Isaiah that we read on Christmas Day, and yet when he came, some were not ready to accept him.
As we read through the Gospels we see that, time and time again, those powerful people who felt that their position would be threatened by Jesus, were not willing to accept him. Just like Herod, men of power, even Jews, would plot against him. As long as we believe ourselves to be masters of our own lives, it is very hard to accept another master.
On the other hand, faithful Simeon and Anna knew the Messiah straight away. How could this be? This young couple and their newborn must have looked like thousands of others that had been to the temple before them.
The answer is given in verse 25. The Holy Spirit was on Simeon and had revealed to him that he would not die before he saw the Messiah. It was the Spirit that sent him to the temple courts that day. It was the Spirit that showed him that this baby was the long-awaited Messiah.
Both Simeon and Anna were filled with the Spirit. Both were prophets. Simeon declared the living Word of God over Jesus and over Mary too. Both were righteous. Anna spent all of her time in worship, prayer and fasting.
Today, as in Jesusí day, we need prophets who will hear what God is saying and declare it to his people. Let us pray that God will raise up righteous people to be prophets in his church.