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Bible Background and teaching insights on Luke 2's story of Simeon and Anna meeting the baby Jesus and his parents Mary and Joseph

Christianity Today has a good devotional article about Simeon and Anna.

Excerpt:

The outcome of Simeon’s listening is one of the most tender scenes in Scripture: Simeon enters the temple to discover Mary and Joseph with their newborn. Then he picks up baby Jesus (v. 28). He has the distinction of being the only person in the Bible who we are explicitly told held the Christ child in his arms.

In that act, he provided a striking visual of not just meeting Jesus but receiving him unto himself. As Simeon gazed into the brand-new eyes of the Ancient of Days, Christ for him went from being “God with us” to “God with me.” Comfort has no real meaning until general truth takes on concrete, personal dimensions.

Anna responded to Jesus much the same way as Simeon. His sheer existence was the only evidence she needed to recognize God’s redemptive hand. Christ—a baby who couldn’t even walk—became the focal point of her praise.

We pin our hopes on answers more than on the one who answers. We can pray with very specific, singular responses in mind that we’ll accept from God as adequate. When he doesn’t respond according to our narrow guidelines, we despair. Meanwhile, Christ arrives in our distress as wordlessly as a baby, bundled in a form we didn’t see coming.

Ben Witherington has a good article about Simeon and Anna in Biblical Archaeology.

Excerpt:

Luke’s Christmas story is full of surprising reversals of fortunes and roles, in which outsiders become more intimate associates than family members, and in which women play a more active role then men. In this way Luke both prepares for and signals one of his major themes in the Gospel of Luke and in Acts—the least, the last and the lost are becoming the most,

The pairing of Simeon and Anna reflects Luke’s penchant for male-female parallelism when he writes about the recipients of divine blessing and salvation. The story of Jesus’ birth is framed by two such stories—that of Elizabeth and Zechariah in Luke 1 and Anna and Simeon in Luke 2. Interestingly, in both, the woman is portrayed as the more positive example of discipleship. The women are not only more receptive to the message, they are more willing to act upon it,


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