“And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord”
Even in the birth narratives of Jesus, we see a remarkable shadow of the Lord’s redemptive work. He had been conceived in a virgin womb and protected by a man named Joseph (Matthew 2). Forty days later He came to the Temple to be presented to the Lord. At the end of His earthly ministry, Christ was placed in a virgin tomb, also protected by a name named Joseph (Mathew 27:57-60). Forty days after His resurrection from the dead He ascended to Heaven itself, to God’s Temple not made with hands (Isaiah 6:1; Psalm 11:4; Hebrews 9:11, 24). While the infant Jesus was in Jerusalem, a “just and devout” man named Simeon recognized the Lord for who He was, and he praised God for allowing Him to see the Christ before he died (Luke 2:26-32). He then addressed Mary. “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel,” he told her, “and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35). As the living Word incarnate, the Lord would discern and make known the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). He would bring proper perspective, revealing by their reaction to Him, who was honorable and who was not. Furthermore, the Lord would see to it that at conversion, repentant sinners would die to themselves (they would “fall”), but would be raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:2-5). Simeon referred to Jesus as a “sign,” a term that reminds us of Isaiah’s great prophecy. “The Lord himself shall give you a sign,” wrote the prophet, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Simeon’s mention of the sword that would piece Mary’s heart no doubt refers to the sorrow and anguish she would experience during the passion of her dear son (cf. Jeremiah 4:10). While in Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph also encountered the prophetess, Anna (Luke 2:36). This godly woman served God continually in the Temple with fastings and prayers (Luke 2:37). When she saw Jesus, she “gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). Simeon and Anna’s double testimony to the Lord reminds us that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1). This is the Lord’s gentle way of reminding us that there is equality between men and women; their witness to Jesus is equally valuable. As recipients of the saving benefits of the Lord’s redemptive work, may we also give faithful, powerful, and irresistible witness to the goodness of God in Christ.