Anna & Simeon
Open Your Bible
Luke 2:21-38, Isaiah 9:1-7, 1 Peter 2:4-10
Keeping promises is tricky business. We like the concept. But sticking to our word can prove a bit more difficult. As kids, we try setting ourselves up for a better success rate by creating failsafes, like the infamous “pinky promise.” Because, as everyone knows, if it’s a pinky promise, it can’t be broken.
I know some people who are really good at keeping their word. Their promises aren’t unrealistic because they recognize their own limits, but the ones they do make are meant to make a difference. I promise to support you in any way I can. I promise to hold you accountable. I promise to let you know if there’s anything you can do for me. These statements reflect more about the person’s commitment than their ability to carry it out. After all, even the best of friends can’t keep a perfect record.
Simeon’s story is a beautiful account of someone who not only received a very personal promise from God, but also had the joy of seeing it fulfilled during his lifetime. He is depicted as a sort of spiritual elder, being ”righteous and devout” and “looking forward to Israel’s consolation” (Luke 2:25). With tenderness, we see Simeon take the object of his affection into his arms and say to the Lord, “You can dismiss your servant in peace, as you promised. For my eyes have seen your salvation” (vv.29–30). He was one of the first to recognize Jesus for who He really was.
Can you imagine the joy, as well as the relief? The Holy Spirit’s promise was that Simeon would pass away only after seeing the Messiah, and he responded to this promise with trust (v.26). Although seeing the Messiah with his own eyes didn’t mean he was doomed to die the next day, it did mean God’s promise had been fulfilled. Simeon’s trust in this promise had been rewarded. Even if he didn’t live long enough to see how his words of prophecy played out, he was blessed to know that the consolation of Israel was here.
The same was true for widowed Anna, the prophetess who was “well along in years” (v.36). She stayed in the temple, serving God day and night. Though it is unlikely she lived to see the redemptive story of Jesus unfold, we do know she joyfully bore witness to the Christ child in her advanced age (vv.36–38).
Remembering that God is the one who makes and keeps the biggest promises—including the ones that will outlast us—helps to strengthen our hope for today. In what ways do you need to trust in Him today? Grab hold of His promises. Even when we can’t see the full picture, God is our great Keeper of Promises.