Simeon had been told he would see the Lord’s Christ before he died… on the exactly right day he is drawn to the temple, by the Holy Spirit and meets Jesus. Being filled by the Holy Spirit, he praises God and speaks of the work of the Messiah, both for the Jew and Gentile.
29 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.”
33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him.
Then Simeon turns to Mary and speaks another word…
34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— 35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Mary has had a lot to ponder. Angels have appeared, messages given and now this. It’s a very interesting word. Not the typical, “What a cute baby!” or “May the Lord bless you and keep you.” This word is also not strictly encouragement…there is no, “Life is going to be all ok and easy.” Instead this is a gracious word of Truth from God Most High to the young mother Mary…who has a long road in front of her and who will feel like she is drowning a time or two before the completed work of Jesus Christ is done. I am sure she does not understand the full implication of this statement….but, God in His Grace is giving her more Truth to ponder and hide in her heart. His Hand is upon her. She will lose her husband at some point…and then she will lose her Son, but she will never be lost. Mary is playing a small role in the grand story of redemption.
Then another witness is on the scene….
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. 38 At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
At the same time that the Spirit drew Simeon to them, the same Spirit drew Anna to them. Now, in the temple, a woman who basically lived there is given the privilege of seeing the One who will be the Consolation and Redemption of Israel. She is left, long after Joseph, Mary, Jesus and Simeon are gone…to witness and testify that the Messiah has come. Marvelous how God works…so precious and so personal and so very intentional.