40 Days with Jesus – October 6th – Luke 2:21-38
So I’m sitting on a bench, admiring the sunset at Laguna Beach, California, when I notice Jesus physically walking down the beach toward me! O.K., so it was actually Bruce Marchiano, an actor who played the part of Jesus in a movie (look on YouTube for “Visual Bible Matthew Healing a Leper” – the first video that shows up is my absolute favorite scene in the movie). He was really a nice guy (although he was no Jesus). That got me thinking, though, that we often run into Jesus in unexpected places.
In Luke 2:25-38, two people in particular are pleasantly startled to run into Jesus.
Simeon is the first up to bat. He’s a godly man who has been waiting (patiently? We’d guess so since he’s described as righteous and devout) for God to bring hope. The passage says that the Holy Spirit was upon him, so we know he had a close relationship with God. As far as we know, the Holy Spirit only came upon one person at a time before Jesus ascended into heaven, so Simeon was that one person at this point. He wasn’t a religious leader. He would have expected to encounter God only in The Holy of Holies, in the deepest recess of the Temple, where God was present in a unique way. How unbelievable for him to encounter God Himself in the form of a baby, face to face! Simeon had an intimate relationship with God and God rewarded Simeon for the depth of their friendship.
Anna is the second person mentioned – again, described as a godly woman. She had lived alone around 60 years after the death of her husband. Alone, but not lonely, because her relationship with God had held her up day by day. She, too, had been waiting for God to break through for a long time. When she stumbles upon Jesus, she gives thanks to God and speaks of him to everyone else who was patiently waiting for God’s hope to come through. She had every reason to be bitter. Without a husband or children, she had no one to care for her. Her life was lived out in complete dependence on God. But we don’t see a bitter old hag. We see a godly woman waiting expectantly for God’s promises to come true. She had an intimate relationship with God and He rewarded her for it.
Here’s where it hits home for me: Do I look expectantly for the moments where I’m going to encounter God? Simeon and Anna were known for their persistent trust in God. What circumstances are you facing today that would normally discourage you or make you bitter? How expectantly are you waiting on God to come through for you? How persistent are your prayers? Are you close enough to God to notice Him when He shows up in unexpected ways? Take it from Simeon and Anna: God rewards intimacy.
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