In the gospel of Luke chapter 2, we can read about two old people, an old man and an old woman. Simeon, the old man and Anna, the old woman. Have you ever paused to think what makes them special that they have their names in the Bible??
1.They were waiting for the Messiah/Savior: Simeon and Anna were waiting for the coming of the Savior of Israel. In the law of Moses it is written that the firstborn of every family should be dedicated to the church of God, Exodus 13:1-2,The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.” During that era, there were many old people in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Yet only Simeon and Anna were blessed with the knowledge and vision of the coming of Savior. It is obvious that the two must have met some pleasant and unpleasant experiences in life. Anna was widowed at a young age and had lived with her husband for 7 years only. Luke 2:25,25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. We can read that Simeon was a righteous and God fearing man and being blessed with the Holy Spirit he had the blessing to see the Savior. Blessed are those who like Simeon and Anna await the coming of Jesus.
2.Vision and hope about the coming generation: This generation requires the most number of prayers and tears. It is a time when the Satan is most active and always lurking around to catch a prey. It is the responsibility of the elders today to shape and mould the generation of today according to the vision and hope. We need to think about how much we are shaping this generation in preparation of the coming of Christ. The words of Simeon need to be applied whole heartedly. Luke 2:30-32,
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.
Every elder should take the responsibility of this vision and pass this on this generation.
3. They lived in relationship with God: The Bible speaks about Anna as a prophet. She lived her whole life in the temple of God, praying and fasting. Luke 2:37,…She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Simeon and Anna must have been afflicted with the problems of old age like any other of their age. They could have been weak in eyesight, bent and weak, slow and weak in hearing too. Yet none of these issues weakened or dampened their faith or mind. The moment Simeon took baby Jesus in his hands and praised God, Anna too came next to him and praised the Lord.
4. They were led by the Holy Spirit: Luke 2:25-26, He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. There must have been many other people who had come to the temple of God when Joseph and Mother Mary came to Jerusalem to present Jesus in the temple. Yet Simeon was able to distinctly recognize Baby Jesus from other children. People who are blessed with the Holy Spirit not only have the physical eyes but also have a vision. Luke 2:38, 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Simeon had prophesied Luke 2:35, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” He had hinted towards the crucifixion of Christ. When a person is led by the Holy Spirit, he/she ceases to be ordinary and become extraordinary people. It is not a small occurrence to simply look at a baby and prophesize that the child is Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Childhood, adulthood and old age are stages on one’s life. Everyone should learn to accept it. Be it today’s adults or old people, the vision about children and grandchildren is about excellent education, a high paying reputed job, and a support system for their old age. A family which has elderly people like Simeon and Anna who are devoted to the Lord are a blessing. They teach us that is possible to receive grace and blessing through prayers and adoration even at old age. Having completed all their responsibilities, old people instead of sinking in depression and anxiety should strengthen their faith. In this way they would receive renewed strength and spirit. It is important to have a vision and hope about the second coming of the Lord in our old age. This hope helps us prepare us for the same. Anna could not contain the joy she experienced on seeing Jesus, Luke 2:38,38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. This a blessed old age. This is possible for each one of us.