Scripture Readings: Malachi 3.1-4; Hebrews 2.14-18; Luke 2.22-40
Simeon took the child Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying, “Now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation for the Gentiles and for glory to you people Israel.” – Luke 2.29-3
Expecting God’s promises to come true characterizes the faith of many in Luke’s gospel. Simeon awaits the consolation of Israel. The people to whom Anna speaks are looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. Cleopas tells the stranger who joins him on the road to Emmaus that he had hope Jesus was the one to redeem Israel (Luke 24.21).
The prophets through whom God promised consolation and redemption spoke in faith, not in foreknown fact. Israel’s prophets are not in the business of foretelling the future. They are affirming God’s faithfulness to the covenant relationship and threatening God’s judgment on all who worship other gods and take advantage of people who are poor. In the persons of Simeon and Anna a believing community welcomes Jesus in a very personal way. They recognize his promise and entrust him to believing parents, Mary and Joseph.
The act of presenting a firstborn son to God harkens back to the exodus events that founded Israel as a believing people. In the tenth plague, the angel of death destroyed every firstborn Egyptian child, the act that made Pharoah set the Hebrew slaves free. The law of Moses directs parents to remember God’s saving act by presenting all firstborn sons to God ever after.
How have you fulfilled the promise people saw in you? What wisdom do you hear from elders in your church?