Taking Your Spiritual Temperature: Luke 2:21-38

Focus Passage: Luke 2:21-38 (GNT)

21 A week later, when the time came for the baby to be circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name which the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

22 The time came for Joseph and Mary to perform the ceremony of purification, as the Law of Moses commanded. So they took the child to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, 23 as it is written in the law of the Lord: “Every first-born male is to be dedicated to the Lord.” 24 They also went to offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, as required by the law of the Lord.

25 At that time there was a man named Simeon living in Jerusalem. He was a good, God-fearing man and was waiting for Israel to be saved. The Holy Spirit was with him 26 and had assured him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s promised Messiah. 27 Led by the Spirit, Simeon went into the Temple. When the parents brought the child Jesus into the Temple to do for him what the Law required, 28 Simeon took the child in his arms and gave thanks to God:

29 “Now, Lord, you have kept your promise,
    and you may let your servant go in peace.
30 With my own eyes I have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples:
32 A light to reveal your will to the Gentiles
    and bring glory to your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother were amazed at the things Simeon said about him. 34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against 35 and so reveal their secret thoughts. And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.”

36-37 There was a very old prophet, a widow named Anna, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for only seven years and was now eighty-four years old. She never left the Temple; day and night she worshiped God, fasting and praying. 38 That very same hour she arrived and gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were waiting for God to set Jerusalem free.

Read Luke 2:21-38 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

During the days that followed Jesus’ birth, we are introduced to a man named Simeon, who met Joseph, Mary, and Jesus while they were visiting the temple in Jerusalem. Simeon was brought there because he obeyed the Holy Spirit’s leading, and something that Simeon says about Jesus always amazes me when I read it.

In Simeon’s thanks and praise to God, he says this statement about Jesus: “With my own eyes I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: A light to reveal your will to the Gentiles and bring glory to your people Israel.” (v. 30-32)

Simeon recognizes Jesus’ mission before almost anyone else had. He acknowledges that Jesus would be a light to the Gentiles in addition to bringing glory to Israel. The general consensus at that time was that the Messiah would come to save the people of Israel from Rome, and that God’s Chosen One would exclusively focus on God’s people (i.e. the people of Israel).

But Simeon sees the bigger picture, and He also understands a broader role for the Messiah. The only way He really could know this is through the Holy Spirit, and from how Simeon is introduced in this passage, it is very likely that these words were spoken about Jesus through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration.

Simeon also has some challenging words as well – specifically for Mary, Jesus’ mother: “This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against and so reveal their secret thoughts. And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.” (v. 34-35)

The life Simeon predicted for Jesus was not one where everybody loves Him. Simeon warns Mary that many people will speak against Jesus, and that how they treat Jesus will reveal their thoughts and feelings towards God.

It is the same with us living 2,000 years later. The easiest way to learn the spiritual temperature of someone’s heart is by simply bringing Jesus into a conversation. In this way, Jesus continues to be a sign from God that reveals the thoughts of those who have taken a stand against God.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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