First Temple Visit with Acknowledgements by Simeon and Anna (series: Harmony of the Gospels)
by John Lowe
Harmony of the Gospels
First Temple Visit with Acknowledgements by Simeon and Anna
(Leviticus 12) Luke 2:21-38
Sin has an internal character, because we are sinners by birth, not because we have come into contact with anything. There is a connection between motherhood and the transmission of sin by inheritance. At birth, we inherit a sinful, fallen nature. David said, “Surely, I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalms 51:5)
Today, many churches reject the doctrine of “The Total Depravity of Man”, but man is demonstrating it. Just read the paper, watch TV or set outside and watch the world go by. Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”
When we visualize a baby, the picture we get is one of innocence, virtue and goodness, but that is not the picture that God paints of us in His word. He shows a picture of uncleanness and sin, just the opposite of what the world says. Do you know what happened? The mother brought a sinner into the world and that’s all she could do, because she is a sinner and daddy is too.
Genesis 3:16 says, “To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in child bearing; with pain you will give birth to children, Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.”’ Not only would the woman have to bear pain in childbirth but also she is likely to be heartbroken, later in life, because the child is a sinner. The fact that a Christian mother suffers during childbirth, is evidence of God’s judgement, but it does not mean that she loses her salvation, when she brings a sinner into the world. 1 Timothy 2:15 says, “But women will be saved through childbearing-if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” In other words, she does not become unclean and lose her salvation by bringing a sinner into the world. The evidence of her salvation is her faith, love and holiness.
This brings to mind a question that I have heard asked many times, “If my baby is born a sinner and he dies, is he lost because he is a sinner.” No! In Matthew 18:10, Jesus said, “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” We do not become angels when we die; a better word would be spirits-their spirits see the face of God. In other words, when a baby dies, his spirit goes to be with God. Why? Because Christ died for sinners and they have not reached the age of accountability. The minute he does, he must make a decision for Christ. God will not hold you responsible for what you do not understand and a little baby just can’t understand the Gospel. How about the heathen? Romans Chapter 1 tells us that “we are without excuse”, because nature itself, all creation, makes it clear that God exists and you can clearly see His divine attributes. The problem with men everywhere is not that they do not know God or even that they don’t believe, the problem is that men do not want God.
Circumcision of Jesus and Purification of Mary
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise Him, He was named Jesus, the name the angel had given Him before He had been conceived. When the time of the purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. (Luke 2:21-22)
A woman was considered unclean for forty days according to Mosaic Law. Mary brought a sacrifice, because she was a sinner. She needed a savior as she said.
(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every first born male is to be consecrated to the Lord.”) And to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord”: a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:23-24)
Mary and Joseph offered turtledoves, because they were poor. The sacrifice was for Mary, not for the baby. As far as I know, Jesus never offered a sacrifice; He didn’t need to.
Incident in the Temple Concerning Simeon
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for Him what the custom of the law required, Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God saying, (Luke 2:25-30)
There was a man in the temple by the name of Simeon. He is another person that was highly favored by God. God had promised him that he would not die until he saw the Messiah, God’s Salvation. What did he see? He saw a tiny baby. Salvation is a person, and that person is the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace, for my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people, Israel. (Luke 2:31-32)
The Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that the baby he held in his arms was God’s Salvation. Simeon was certainly enlightened beyond what other men believed at this time, because he saw that the baby would be the savior of the world, not just Israel. If you notice, no other religion is for all people. All other religions are localized; only Christianity goes to the entire world. Jesus said, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations…..” (Mathew 28:19)
The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:33-35)
When Mary stood at the foot of the cross it must have caused her great pain (a sword pierced her soul). The cross of Christ has moved many people and I am also one that is moved by His suffering and death. But I don’t believe that we should dwell on His death in a sympathetic way. He did not die to elicit anyone’s sympathy and He doesn’t want it. He wants our faith. When He was on the way to the cross, some women began to weep and He turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and your children.” (Luke 23:28) If you have tears for Jesus, save them for yourself and your family, because He doesn’t want your sympathy, He wants your faith.
When Mary stood at the foot of the cross and wept, it had nothing to do with her salvation. She had a broken heart, because that was her son and she loved Him. That is one relationship that no one else would ever have. She was His mother. She had brought Him into the world and she had raised Him. Jesus spoke to her from the cross and said, “Woman, here is your son.”
Incident in the Temple Concerning Anna
There was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36-38)
Anna, like Simeon was living very close to God and He gave her the insight that the baby was the Messiah, her Savior. It is wonderful to know the Savior.