Within the first two months of Jesus’ life two important events occurred. The first happened when he turned 8 days old. This was a significant day in the life of any male child. Two things happened. First he was circumcised and then he was given his name. This was the father’s job and God made sure that his son was properly named. Before his son’s birth, he sent word to Joseph that he was to name the child Jesus. One who saves. A true name for the Christ child. It was his destiny to be the savior of the world.
The second important event happened over a month after his birth. He and his mother had to go to the temple to appear before the priest. His mother had to offer two sacrifices for her self as a part of the purification process. After she had done that she would be announced clean and could enter the temple proper. Then Jesus would be brought into the temple and an offering would be made for him. He was a first born male and by law all first born males belonged to God. Jesus belonged to him anyway you look at it but an offering would restore him to his family for the remainder of his childhood.
Very little about the life of Jesus was ordinary and his appearance in the temple as a baby caused no little stir. First there was Simeon who had been waiting for this moment all his life. He was a righteous man filled with the Holy Spirit of God. That same spirit had told him that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. Of all the Jews in Israel who expected the Messiah only Simeon knew it would happen within his life span.
It was Simeon who was led by the Holy Spirit to visit the temple at the same time as Joseph and Mary arrived with Jesus. Simeon took the baby in his arms. He knew he was the savior of the world and was the first New Testament character to recognize that the world included Gentiles. Simeon blessed the entire family but even he in his blessing could see the agony of the cross.
Second there was Anna, a prophetess of God who lived in the temple grounds. She never left it because she was waiting for the Christ child. She was 84 years old and had been worshiping in the temple for a very long time in anticipation of the Messiah. As soon as Simeon was finished, this fasting, praying prophetess came up to Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. She began to prophesy about his redemptive work to all who would listen.
We’re waiting too. Waiting for the second coming. What is our task do you think?