“Now I can die in peace, I’ve seen my Salvation!” Luke 2:29
As I concluded yesterday, I left the demonstration of Bethlehem and traveled the 8 miles north to the southern wall of ancient Jerusalem. The ancient steps leading into the city are still there though the gate is no longer available as it enters a quite sacred part of the temple area. I walked up the same steps that Mary and Joseph may have walked up when they brought the baby Jesus to the temple for His dedication. I could not enter the actual temple grounds because it was not the day for Christians to have access to that part of the city. But I got as close as I could and touched the western wall (aka the Wailing Wall) which was an actual part of Solomon’s temple! It was a really cool experience, but it was only stones and the steps were only rocks. What happened to the people who were there in this section of Scripture is what was more important.
Two people stood center stage as I read Luke 2: 21-38 this morning (the next entry in my Gospel- Presentation at the Temple), and those two people were not Mary and Joseph, as much as they could have been for their dedication to fulfill the Law of Moses and of God. Instead I was again blessed as I was reminded of the character qualities that defined the two people waiting at the temple for this historic event in the life of baby Jesus. He was going to be presented at the temple, something that was supposed to happen to Jewish babies so it wasn’t a rare event and potentially hardly noticed by the crowds gathered there. Just another baby, just another service, just another offering, just another day at church. BUT there were two people who got it and I was captivated today as I identified 7 characteristics used to describe them. It captivated me because I don’t want anyone, especially Jesus to just be another person in my life, I don’t want any worship service to just be another credit on my card, I don’t want any offering to just be a token evidence of my participation, I don’t want any day in church to be “ordinary.” I want to see Jesus!
So, there were Anna and Simeon, two of probably many worshipers in the temple that day. But they saw Jesus! All I know about them from the narrative is:
1. He was righteous
2. He was devout
3. He was filled with the Holy Spirit
4. She was “always” at church
5. She worshiped day and night
6. She fasted and prayed
7. She gave thanks, and he said, “Now I can die,” BECAUSE they had seen Jesus!
Righteous- being right with God; devout- committed to God; filled with the Holy Spirit- allowing God to penetrate my whole being; always at church- being continually in the presence of God; worshiping day and night- maintaining a perpetual connection with God; fasting and praying- preparing myself physically and spiritually for the working of God in my life. That’s what those first 6 characteristics mean to me this morning as I review them in my own life. The seventh- wow- I don’t want to die because I see so much to live for as I enjoy the journey into the presence of God. I think I’ll stick with the “giving thanks” part as I see Jesus new and fresh every day. But if I did die, it would be ok, because I have seen Jesus, and the journey would not be over. I pray for each one of you every morning as I press the send button on my computer. Today I pray that you will identify the Anna or Simeon in yourself that will allow you to see Jesus too!
Have a great day seeing Jesus- don’t let life consume you so much that you miss Him in the crowd,
The Presentation at the Temple Luke 2: 21- 38