And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; And there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher: she was of a great age… (Luke 2:25, 36)
Guided by the Holy Spirit, along with his natural medical discipline in details, Luke gives some unique insight into events surrounding the Lord’s birth. In one of these stories he focuses on two interesting people, one a godly old gentleman, the other an aged and saintly widow.
Who were they and why did he choose these two? What claim to fame could they have had? Why were they important to the Author of Scripture?
Though not too much information is given, there is enough to discern some answers, and then also to see a door of opportunity for us to go through.
Undoubtedly, the two old believers were quite overlooked by the troops of Pharisees, scribes, and lawyers that regularly walked by them at the temple. Interpreting the Law and parsing it down into a multitude of rules and regulations, the religious authorities had little real knowledge of Jehovah.
Entirely unknown to them, this pair of saints, of the common people, had the very ear of God and were privy to some of the most significant news of history.
Of Simeon we know that he loved the Holy Spirit, that with quiet and tireless patience, he waited for Isaiah’s prophesied Counselor of Israel. Once his eyes saw the Child, he was totally ready to die. That Baby, the Christ, who turned simple shepherds and elite magi into worshippers, was all that Simeon wanted to see.
Anna, on the other hand, had presumably led an entirely different life, experiencing the horrible tragedy of early widowhood. But she, like Simeon, possessed an unusual depth of faith.
This faith led her to make an astonishing decision. Instead of griping and moaning about her lot in life, or desperately praying for another husband, she shocked everyone be giving herself to God. And just how did she do that? She attached herself to the temple, and became the cheerful, spiritual encourager of anyone who went in.
And this she did, it appears, for at least 60 years!
These two were brought together by divine appointment to help a young married couple who were walking, as it were, in a dream. Joseph and Mary needed confirmation and support, and God knew exactly how to bring it to them, and who to use.
For the sacred chore He had prepared these two jewels, two seemingly random voices. They would do the job perfectly.
Maybe we should follow Luke’s example, and look around for the unnoticed Simeons and Annas. These are the elderly voices of those far ahead of us in the race, some maybe very close to their earthly finish line. They are men and women with a powerful story to tell, of God’s faithfulness in time and tragedy.
I’m sure you can think of a few names–I can–of silent heroes nearby, who have kept the faith. In many cases their lights are growing dimmer as health issues take a toll. But they will soon hear “Welcome, good and faithful servant” from Him who is the very definition of faithfulness.
To as many of these who may read this article, I say,
“Thank you for being faithful to the end!”
Dear Father, give me the wisdom to search out these elderly, godly voices, and listen to them. Amen.