As You Have Promised, Lord
Luke 2:21-38; The Desire of Ages, pp. 50-58
Jesus gives us hope.
“Jesus Christ . . . by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope” (2 Thessalonians 2:16).
Johnnie and Katie were so excited. Grandma was coming today! They watched by the window. Then the phone rang. It was Grandma. A big storm had come up. She wouldn’t be able to come today. Tomorrow the storm would be over; then she would come.
Johnnie and Katie were disappointed. But they knew that Grandma would keep her promise.
Many years ago Simeon and Anna waited and waited for the Messiah to come. They had hope! They believed He would come. But would they recognize Him?
Simeon’s heart was restless. He tried to walk a little faster as he climbed the Temple mount. People courteously moved out of the way for this old man with a mission.
The Holy Spirit was leading Simeon to the Temple. As he walked, Simeon remembered a day long before. The Spirit had made an important promise. “You will not die before you have seen the Messiah!” Simeon thought about this promise constantly. He would see the Messiah!
Simeon’s breath grew short as he climbed, yet he smiled to himself. He didn’t have much energy anymore. But that was all right; he had something better! He had hope—the hope of seeing the Messiah!
Simeon looked around as he entered the Temple. Everything seemed the same as usual. The priests solemnly performed their duties. No excited crowds awaited the fantastic news: the Messiah is here!
Simeon passed a poor couple. The young mother cradled their child in her arms. They had brought the child to the Temple for a special reason. He was to be consecrated to the Lord as the law required. Simeon smiled. He loved watching happy parents with their babies. It was a pleasant part of serving in the Temple.
Suddenly Simeon stopped. There was something about this couple. He stopped to gaze closely on this particular baby. Then all of a sudden he knew. He knew for certain!
With his face shining in anticipation, Simeon approached the couple. Beaming and nodding to the parents, he took the baby in his arms. Then he raised his eyes to heaven. The baby’s mother and father watched in amazement. They noted the joyful glow on Simeon’s face. They saw tears of thanksgiving trickling down his cheeks. They listened in amazement as he prayed.
“Now, Lord, as You promised, You may let Your servant die in peace. Because with my own eyes I have seen Your salvation!” Mary and Joseph smiled. This old prophet knew! He knew and understood their secret about the Messiah.
Just then an old woman, the prophet Anna, stepped forward. This prophet had been in the Temple every day for years. She, too, had hoped to see God’s promised Gift of grace. Anna joined Simeon in praising God for Baby Jesus.
Simeon and Anna were among the very first people to recognize that Jesus was the Messiah, the One all Israel hoped for. They were among the very first people to spread the news that He had come. Their Hope was here!
And that hope is ours today. Jesus gives us hope too.