3rd Sunday of Advent Waiting on the Promise

Luke 2
  /  December 17, 2023
Speaker: Jonathon Slagenweit

This morning, we’re looking at 2 figures from scripture that are somewhat obscure in the Christmas story, but were 2 characters that waited upon the lord. Inviting you to stand with me as we read these verses together, Luke chapter 2. We’re looking at Simeon and Anna.

Beginning in verse 22 of Luke chapter 2, this is what we read. When the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him, being Jesus, to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord, every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord Lord, and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtle doves or 2 young pigeons. Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. And the same man was just and devout waiting for the consolation of Israel. Jisus to do after him after the custom of the law, blessed God and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word.

Let me just pause here. And this very moment, Simien’s life is so fulfilled I’ve mother, and Joseph and his mother, and Joseph and his, marveled at these things which were spoken of him. Ra, sword and that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was 1 Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Finneal, of the tribe of and she was a widow of about 4 score and 4 years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayers. And she coming in, in that instance, gave thanks likewise unto the Lord and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

You may be seated. In Jerusalem. You may be seated. When I was in college, I believe it was at the end of my 1st semester, the job that I’d had my 1st semester was transitioning out. I needed to find other work.

And so I was I was doing some job hunting the beginning of my 2nd semester. And there was a fellow that lived there in Hobe Sound and try to put up hurricane shutters on this condo. It’s a great job. You can make really good money doing it. I said, I’m I’m interested.

Keep me posted. And I waited. And I waited. Because that job never materialized to anything. What I thought was going to be a great deal turned out to be You’ve you’ve waited for something that’s been promised and you wait and you wait and you wait until you finally say, you know what?

This is pointless. I’m wasting my time. It’s disappointing when there is a promise that is given only to discover that there is no fulfillment of that promise. May I ask you this morning, have you received a promise in your life? Are there things in your life, your way to be fulfilled, something that you’re longing for to come to pass?

That period between a promise given and the promise received, that waiting period, it can be a really challenging period. It can be a really challenging period. It can be a really challenging period. It’s a very challenging period. It’s a very challenging period.

It’s a very challenging period. It’s a very challenging period. It’s a very challenging period. Can be a really challenging period of time. We looked at a little bit of that last week.

We talked about what do we do talked about the importance of obedience and the importance of Talked about the importance of obedience and the importance of worshiping the Lord. And we’re looking at the characters of Simeon and Anna, 2, elderly people of Israel that are waiting for a promise that the Lord has given In our text this morning that we’ve read together, Luke records for us, Mary and Joseph coming to Jerusalem to take part in what was a Jewish tradition, something that had been passed down from generation to generation, a law that had been given, was to happen when a baby was born, particularly, a baby boy, and especially when it’s a baby boy that is the first to be born. The Jews in the 1st century, when a baby boy was born, the first to open the womb of his mother, would be brought into the temple. And as a part of this whole process, there was really 3 things that were happening in this process. 1st, there was the purification process.

Mary had passed her period of purification. She now comes to present her child to the Lord. As a part of that presenting this child to the Lord is the second element. A baby boy that opened the womb was holy to the Lord. If you go back into the old testament according to Leviticus chapter 12, this male child was to be given to the Lord.

And the only way that they could be received back to the family was through a sacrifice that would be given or was to be given, ordinarily, this was to be a lamb that would be offered and a pigeon dove that would be offered to the Lord. Luke records to us that Mary and Joseph come not with a Lam. What do they draw? What do they draw? A pair of pigeons, right?

You know, that’s a reminder to us this morning that Jesus was not born into some form of privileged life. He was born into a family that was just a common working class family. Born into a family that was more than likely on the lower echelons of the social life. Mary and Joseph knew what it was like to sit down with a budget, count their pennies. Jesus wasn’t born into an elite status family.

A family where there was great wealth. So Mary and Joseph have come into the temple to offer to the Lord these 2 pigeons. They’ve come for the purification process. They’ve come to pay the tribute necessary to purchase their son back, if you will. Waiting for the promise.

Of divorce. When I think about Simeon and Anna, I’m reminded of the words of the Old Testament prophet. When Habakkuk says, how long, oh, Lord? How long? For Simeon and Anna, they are they’re advanced in years, and yet both of them have been waiting for years for the promise of the Lord.

Both of them have spent their lives waiting on the coming of a promise of the Lord. Leading religious leaders of Israel were deeply interested in the Messiah, I asked myself, why did the Lord reveal to simian and Anna, the Christ child, the Christ child. Why didn’t he go to the religious elite of the day? They’re ones who have shown themselves to be righteous in Israel. Why does the Lord reveal himself to them?

Of all of the Jews that he might have chosen to recognize the the child, the Messiah, why does he choose to reveal himself to them? I would suggest to us this morning, it’s because they represented as it were the very best of the old covenant who are waiting for the new covenant. They’re the ones who had been looking for the promise of the coming messiah. They’re the ones who are looking for the promise of Israel, the redemption of Israel. Simeon is waiting for the consolation of Israel.

Anna is waiting for the redemption of Israel. Promise that the Lord had given to his people. They’re waiting for something that’s tangible, something that’s more than just words of promise. You see, a promise many times is a word that is spoken or something that is indicated that is to come, right? You?

Somebody has given something to you, signed by their hand, something that indicates that you will receive something. Now, you’ve not received it in its full, right? Something. Now, you’ve not received it in its full. And you can go to the store and say, here, I want to buy something.

And they’re going to look at at you and say, sorry, but if you go to the and you’re Well, you should. Now, maybe you’re like, I Now maybe you’re like, I’ve been at times, I’ve gone to the bank, and there’s one time in particular that I think I cashed a check or something, and I pulled out, and I drove away. And as I’m driving down the road, you know, you always check to make sure. And I counted it out and that was $20 short. So I went back to the bank, only to discover after I told them their mistake that I realized it was my mistake.

There were 2 twenties stuck together. A little embarrassing. Tangible reception of that trauma. It records for us that it had been revealed to Simien by the holy spirit that he would see the Messiah, the Christ, the child Christ. The equivalent to that in our day would be that the Holy Spirit the rapture.

That’s the equivalent that Simeon has been I imagine that Simeon would go to the temple day after day thinking maybe today, maybe today. Day day after day, thinking maybe today, maybe today, day after day after day, day after day after day, and the promise of this messiah, Simeon would hold in his hands on this particular day that Luke records for us, Simeon holds that fulfillment of the promise that God had given centuries before to his children, is in this baby is the consolation for just a moment. Take us back into the old consolation of Israel takes us back to the time of Abraham when the Lord had said to Abraham, I will make of you a great nation. And through you, all of the nations of the world will be blessed. Promise and then to Jacob or to Isaac and then to Jacob.

But that promise continues to roll down through history. God told Moses that one day a great God told Moses that one day a great prophet would come who would be unlike any other prophet before him. He promised to David that he would give to him a son who would sit on his throne and reign forever. God promised through Isaiah that there would be a son who would be born to a virgin, and that his name would be called Emmanuel, God with us. And in the final moments, as the old testament is closing, God gives to Micah a promise and a prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

For generations, this promise has been repeated from father to son, from mother to daughter. It’s repeated from generation to generation, from family to family, the older, instructing the younger, passed down from history or from generation to generation. This promise, history that through Israel, the world would be blessed. A messiah would appear. By the time you get to the first century, you have centuries of expectation building up.

Keep in mind, it’s been silent for 400. Now there’s silence. But Siemens received a promise. Siemens received a promise that he would see the Christ child. By the time that you get to this point, there’s all sorts of and his great work, the life and times of Jesus, the Messiah, Alfred Eder Jesus was born there was great excitement in the nation of Israel.

Edersheim says that by the time Christ was born, one question above all others was on the lips of every expectant demise. The promise has been given. Why the delay? Why the delay? Why the delay?

And yet, Simeon waits. Simeon waits. A promise has been given specifically to Simeon that you will see the Messiah. And I wonder if there are days that after week after week and month after month and year after year of simians going to the temple. Do you think there are days that Simeon begins to question, Lord, how long?

How long? Don’t we ask that question sometimes in our lives? Lord, how long? How long? I struggle with this situation?

How long will it be that this goes on in my life? How long, oh Lord, until you do something about this? Lord, how long until you fulfill your promise. I can’t read this passage without observing some important truths for us that apply to us today as it pertains to waiting on the Lord’s promises. Here is Simeon, a man who’s waited for years.

Here is Anna, who has prayed for years and served the Lord for years, And now, after all of these years of waiting, centuries of waiting, and and now, and now here stands Simeon in the temple. Could Could you somehow grasp what it must have felt like for Simeon? Did you imagine what it must have been like when the spirit of the Lord spoke to Simeon that morning and said go to the what kind of anticipation Simeon must have had that morning as he walks into the temple and he he looks around and the spirit of the Lord reveals to him this child. Now keep in mind, Simeon has no doubt been in the temple for years. And he’s watched as mother and father would come in and present their little.

He’s watched as all of this has taken place, and yet time after time after time, it’s not the consolation of his. But there’s something. Hands. Messiah. And in a moment, seen the Messiah.

I’ve beheld the promise that’s been given. And for Anna who had been serving the Lord for years in the temple, being a widow for years, sees the Messiah and knows this is the redemption of Israel. Let me give you 4 lessons that I I just I think are takeaways for us as we look at this story. Four lessons that we can learn from these two figures. The first is this, God’s promises are precious, and they’re worth waiting for.

Day as Simeon had gone into the temple wondering if this would be the day, and yet day after day going home, no messiah. Do you think that there I could almost guarantee that there were days that he thought that. You say, how do you devout man. Because I happen to know that even good godly sure, Are the promises of God precious? Will they are they worth waiting for?

And Simeon reveals to us, yes, the promises of God are precious and they’re worth waiting for. I’m sure that there were days that Simeon questioned, will I ever see the Messiah? Yeah. I had a promise that the Holy Spirit gave to me, but will it come to pass? And I want to just remind us this morning of the words that Peter records in a second, his second epistle.

He says, great, his second epistle. He says, grace and peace be multiplied to you and the knowledge of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ. His divine power has been given to us all, has has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by glory and virtue. By which have been given to us, listen to this, exceedingly great and precious promises that through these, you may be partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. You know what the great and divine precious promises are for us today?

You and I can have our sins pardoned. He came to to pay the ransom so that you and I can become the children of God adopted into the family of God. You know what the divine precious promises are for us today. Simeon was waiting for. The consolation of Israel.

That’s and it was waiting for the redemption of Israel. That’s and it was waiting redemption of Israel. God’s promises are and yes, their worth, They always come to pass. They always come to pass. Now I confess, I’ve made a lot of promises over the course of my lifetime.

And I’ve broken a lot of promises in the course of my lifetime. Of course, my life Now, there have been times that I’ve made promises with good intentions. I mean, if you’ve made promises with good intentions forget. And I remind us this morning that when God makes promises, they always come to pass. God never makes a promise but what he doesn’t intend to keep it.

Paul said it this way in his second letter to the Corinthians. He says, for Jesus Christ, the son of God, does not waver between yes and no. He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preach to you as God’s ultimate yes. He is always He always does what he says. For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding yes.

And through Christ our amen, which means yes, ascends to God for his glory. God never makes a promise but what he doesn’t keep it. He’ll never leave you nor forsake you. He will never abandon you in your weakness. But Paul says again, that his strength is made in our weakness.

He’ll supply all of our needs according to his riches and glory. Amen? The promises of God are sure. Third thing that I see from this passage of scripture is we look at Simeon and Anna’s waiting on the promises of God is that God’s promises are not always easily spotted, but sometimes packaged differently than expected. The spiritual leaders of Israel were interested in the Messiah.

Maesai. -It was obviously something that they knew about. Because when Herod asks, the Pharisees, where is this king of the Jews to be born? They said, Bethlehem. They knew all about.

Parker and I were talking last week. Seminars about how to recognize the the messiah’s And while they’re holding all of these great conventions, God slips his promise through the back door messiah had come. It was an old man and an old woman who recognized him, while all of those who were studying the prophecies of old missed it. How many times do you and I miss the promises of God because we’re looking in the wrong places or looking for something and we expect God to do it this way. We expect him to come this way.

Want him to do something this way. And we miss his promises because he does it in a way that we don’t expect. Think about it. The Pharisees were there in the city of Jerusalem, probably in the temple that morning. Imagine the very presence of God was in the temple.

And the ones who should have known it missed it. But there was a simian. And there was an who were waiting for the the consolation of Israel, the redemption of Israel. And because of their waiting, God revealed the promise unto them. Maybe in ways are sure and they’re precious.

Let me give you the final one. God’s promises are worth sharing because they are the hope of the nations. And look at Ana’s response. Ana sees the child. She recognizes this is the Messiah.

And without any hesitation, she goes off to start sharing that the redemption of Israel has come. Can I just tell you this morning that the promise of God Can I can I just tell you this morning that the promise of God is still here? Available. And can I tell you this morning, it’s worth sharing to a world where there’s a lot of broken, hurting people? In a world that’s filled with broken promises, there needs to be a broadcasting of the truth that the Messiah has come, that the promises of God are sure and steadfast.

This Christmas is you wait upon the Lord. Let me encourage you to lean into his precious promises. Talking about the things that God has promised to you in his word. And I’m talking about the things that God has promised to you in his word. And I’m talking about the things that God has promised to you in his word.

And I’m talking about the things that God has promised to you in his word. And I’m talking about the things that God has promised to you in his word. And I’m Talking about the things that God has promised to you in his word. The promises that God has given to you in his word. Lean into those this Christmas season.

May this be a season of renewing your will to wait on the Lord as he stretches your faith. Why? Because the promise that was given was a promise that was fulfilled in the very presence of God. In the very presence of God, given to a man who had waited for years on a promise. A promise made, a promise kept, a presence received.

This morning as we close, I’m going to ask Brother John Parker to come and Brother Armstrong to slip to the organ. We open the service by singing a song, your presence for Christmas. You know, amidst all of the promises that are made, the greatest promise that was ever made, the greatest promise that was ever made, the the greatest promise that was ever made was that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us. And if we avail ourselves to that promise, you and I can receive the greatest promise of Christmas, his presence in our lives. Let’s stand together as we close with this song.

And let’s just invite the presence of the Lord to be a part of our Christmas this year. Lord, I want your presents for Christmas. Father, that’s our desire this Christmas is for your presence to be with us. Thank you for the promises of God that you have given to us that are sure and steadfast, precious promises. Laura, thank you for the promise that you will fill our hearts with all joy.

Salvation. I pray this Christmas season that there would not be a one who would reject that promise of salvation to those who would because of the sin of this of their life. Because of the effects of the fall, they’re so keenly aware that they’re broken. I pray this Christmas, May they have you for your presence for their Christmas this may they have you for your presence for their Christmas this year. I pray.

Lord, we ask it in Jesus name. But Lord bless you. You were dismissed.

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