Will be reading from Jeremiah 31, verses ten through 14. Listen to this message from the Lord. You
nations of the world proclaim it in distant coastlines. The Lord who scattered his people will gather
them and watch over them. As a shepherd does his flock, for the Lord has redeemed Israel from
those too strong for them. They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem.
They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts, the abundant crops of grain, new wine and olive
oil, and the healthy flocks and herds.
Their life will be like a watered garden. All their sorrows will be gone. The young women will dance for
joy, and the men, old and young, will join in the celebration. I will turn their morning into joy and I will
comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing. The priest will enjoy abundance, and my people
will feast on my good gifts. I the Lord have spoken the word of the Lord. If you could please stand for
the reading of the Gospel. This is a reading from the Gospel of Luke, two verses 22 through 40.
Then it was time for the purification offering as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child.
So his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. The law of the Lord says that if a
woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord. So they offered the sacrifice required in
the law of the Lord, either a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons. At that time there was a man in
Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to
come and rescue Israel.
The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the
Lord’s Messiah. So that day the Spirit led him to the temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to
present the baby Jesus to the Lord, as the law required. Simeon was there and he took the child in his
arms and he praised God, saying, Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace as you have
promised. I have seen your Salvation, which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of the people of your people. Israel
Jesus’s parents were amazed at what was being said about him, and then Simeon blessed them and
said to marry the baby’s mother. This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a
joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him and as a result,
the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed and a sword will Pierce your very soul.
Well, Anna, a Prophet, was also there in the temple. She was the daughter of Hanule from the tribe of
Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then
she lived as a widow to the age of 84, and she never left the temple but stayed there day and night
worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and
Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting
expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
And when Jesus parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they were turned
home to Nazareth and Galilee, and there their child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with
wisdom and God’s favor was on him the word of the Lord.
All right. Well, Evan and Caleb, we’ve got kids alive now. I want to pray for you guys. Father, bless
them as they go. Bless the time that Miss Lily and Susan has with them and keep them growing in you
in Jesus name. Amen. All right. Well, I’m delighted to have Tanner Griffith back with us today. As
many of you have heard Tanner preach here before, and Tanner and his wife, Kara, are going to be
planting a Church somewhere in the Triangle region. They’re in the process of discernment with Holy
Trinity Church in Raleigh, and I’ve just had the privilege of knowing Tanner for quite some time.
And so Tanner, welcome back. It’s good to have you. Yes. Thank you.
Well, it is very good to be with you all this morning. Again. I have some sniffles myself. So I am
wearing my mask this morning and I got a covid test when I was down in Florida because I’ve seen my
mother, so I don’t have COVID just to let you know, but I’m wearing a mask because I’ve got some
sniffles so I don’t want to pass anything to anyone. It is good to be with you all this morning. And look
at this incredible passage in Luke. If you know the artist Rembrandt, you know that he likes to paint
A lot of his works are known throughout the world, and this scene has captured his imagination. In
fact, he paints it three times. He has one where he includes Anna in the scene with Simeon and Mary
and Joseph and Jesus. He’s got one scene where it’s mostly kind of focused on simul a little bit while
simulating the Christ. The one that I really, really appreciate is titled Simeon. The song Appraises. And
in that work, you get to see this whole scene in which looks like this large Church.
At least some people think it’s the Church that he went to St. Peters. But it could be the scene of the
temple. In this picture, Jesus is at the center of it in Simeon’s arms. And the way Rembrandt paints is
with a lot of light being the feature of his scenes. It’s always interesting to see where is the light
coming from in the room or what is that light highlighting? Because when you look at a lot of his work,
a lot of things are kind of in dark or in the darkness.
They’re kind of unclear. And in this scene, what is very clear is the baby Jesus, Simeon Himself, the
mother of Christ, Mary Joseph, and those right around him. And you can tell if you’re really paying
attention that the light source in this painting is Jesus. The light is radiating out from this child. And
the reason I bring this painting up today is we need help in our lives to see things as they really are.
And the Holy Spirit does that for us. He helps us see.
He helps us live this abundant life that Christ has come to promise us. Christ came saying, I’ve come
that you may have life, that you’ll have it to the brim, to the full, this abundant life. And all over this
passage in Luke this morning, we get to see the language of the Holy Spirit that the Holy Spirit was
upon Simeon. Prior to this, we get to see that the Holy Spirit is just preparing all these people to see
Jesus for who he is to be part of this story that we know now of where God is making everything new
in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
So today I want us to just look at this passage to see the kind of offer of this life with the Holy Spirit
and the abundance found in walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. So today, before I get into our
word this morning, I’d like to pray for us that the Holy Spirit would work and have his way in our
hearts. Father, I’m thankful that you work always and in ways that are mysterious to us and God. I’m
so thankful that you offer us yourself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You work in our lives in the details and the mundane and the suffering in the Holy Spirit. I ask that you
would in this sermon in these moments, would you help your word root into our hearts? Would you
help anything that’s not from you to just blow away like chaff in Jesus Christ or Holy Spirit? Would you
help glorify the one that you always glorify and lift up, which is the Son Jesus Christ Jesus, I know that
you want to be made known in our hearts today and lift up your Father.
So Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we ask that you would do your work in your way in this time. Amen. So
in Luke two, we get to see particularly this man, Simeon. Zooms us in on this man, Simeon, who’s
been waiting and he has been waiting for a while. And we get to see this in verse 25 and 26. So if you
have Luke Two open look at what Luke tells us about Simeon. It says now there was a man in
Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel. And the Holy Spirit was
upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he
had seen the Lord’s Christ. We get to see here that Luke tells us there’s this man named Simeon. And
Simeon had been waiting. And in this waiting, where he is waiting for the constellation comfort of
Israel, which is the Messiah really the one that was long foretold promised would come and redeem
We are told that the Holy Spirit was upon him and that the Holy Spirit had even in some way let him
know that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. And I want to invite all of you into Simeon’s
world. It’s much like ours. He’d wake up in the morning. He’d probably have something to eat, wash,
get ready, go to his work, go to his job. He’d see people interact. And there becomes a question of
how would he know? How would he see?
How would he interact or how would it be revealed in a way that he would understand that he had
seen the Messiah? The Holy Spirit had let him know you’re not going to taste death until you see the
Messiah. And he knew that the Holy Spirit was upon him. But he didn’t have any special instructions.
As far as we know in this text, that if this person does certain things, you will know. But in this text, we
get to see that this poor couple come into the temple and we know they’re poor because of the
offering that’s listed here and Leviticus twelve, which gives me instructions for a woman to be purified
after childbirth, which is what was happening.
Jesus was both getting presented as he was supposed to. But also there was a law for Mary to
basically be purified. And that comes from Leviticus chapter twelve and the offering here that Luke
kind of puts this whole scene. He meshes those two things into one. Basically, if you’re poor in
Leviticus twelve, you don’t have to offer a lamb. You can offer turtle doves or pigeons. This is one of
the reasons that we know that Jesus came into a poor family. So imagine again with me, Simeon has
The Holy Spirit has been upon him. He’s been told you’re going to see the Messiah before you die. But
he doesn’t really have instructions out of this. And suddenly this poor family comes into the room.
This is where I want you to consider. Maybe Rembrandt is somehow the Spirit work in a way that
without Jesus saying one word and we know he couldn’t speak. He would cry at this point at 40 days
old. But he knew the Holy Spirit was upon him. And this is important for all of us.
The life lived in the Holy Spirit is a life that is in many ways centered on waiting. But it is a waiting that
is one of hope, where in certain moments things just kind of become transformed for us. Maybe a
person stands out to us, you’re to love that person, or you’re supposed to say something to that
person, or maybe it’s even you’re on a walk and you see a bird. And for some reason there’s a glory to
this little creature that somehow takes something in your heart and stirs it in a way that I think the
Holy Spirit sometimes wants us to engage.
I’m here. I’m for you, I’m to be worshiped Glorified. He helps us see things. And this is the first thing
that pattern we see in Simeon in this passage is he is a man that is waiting. And in his waiting, the
Holy Spirit reveals to him Jesus Christ, which is one of the main focuses of the Holy Spirit’s work in all
of our lives is the Holy Spirit reveals to us Jesus Christ. One thing that I want to commend to you this
year is you think it’s the time where we think about new beginnings, new starting.
I want to remind us what it means to be just Christian. It means for us to wait. And I read this quote
from Dietrich Bonhoffer this week as I was thinking about what I wanted to say. And so I went to a
sermon that he had on New Year’s. So he gave this quote as part of a New Year’s sermon. And I
thought this was so good. He says it is God alone who makes a new beginning with a person when
God is pleased to do so and not the human being who undertakes to do it with God.
I’m going to read that one more time. It is God alone who makes a new beginning with a person when
God is pleased to do so, and not the human being who undertakes to do it with God. So a new
beginning is not something one can do for oneself. One can only pray for it to happen. I think we get
to see this in this passage. How would Simeon have known that this child from this poor family was
the Messiah? Could he have worked it up?
Could he have made this new kind of beginning for himself? No. The Holy Spirit revealed it to Him.
And here we get to see one crucial part about being a Christian. Or we are those who wait in the
power of the Holy Spirit. We wait for God to work and move and reveal. And then we go and do. The
second weird thing we get to see in this passage is prayer as being a huge part of this story. Now I’m
going to jump and shift kind of like Rembrandt does in one of his paintings to putting Anna in the
story as well.
So there’s an incredible older lady we get to see in this passage there’s a poor family that walks in.
There’s this man Simeon. And then there’s this older widow, and her name is Anna. In verse 36 to 30
38, we get this description of her. So read with me. And there was a Prophet Anna, the daughter of
Daniels of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years
from when she was a Virgin and then as a widow until she was 84.
She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer, night and day. And coming up
at that very hour, she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the
redemption of Israel. This woman was a woman of prayer. She had lost her husband early in her
marriage, and we get this description of hers every day. She devoted to worship. Every single day she
was at the temple fasting praying. Her life was a life of prayer and the Holy Spirit moved on her.
She shows up. I love how Luke says it at the right time, just at the right time, right when Simeon is
being revealed that this child is the Messiah and she sees she understands the second point of being
of prayer is prayer is the language of the Holy Spirit. This prayer is an abundance that we receive from
the Holy Spirit. This woman had given herself to worship into prayer. And the Holy Spirit in our lives
works and moves through the language that he gives us, which is in prayer.
Anna had devoted her life to God. This life of prayer, I really think, is what prepped her by the power of
the Holy Spirit to be ready to see, to see what Simeon saw. The Holy Spirit had come upon Simeon.
The Holy Spirit came upon Anna. He was waiting. She was praying and Christ is revealed. Think of the
abundance of this life in these two people that had lives of incredible suffering. Really, the Holy Spirit
comes and moves in a way that they see Jesus the Messiah, our Lord.
The third thing we get to see is we get to see waiting. We get to see a waiting posture, a posture of
prayer. And Anna. And finally we get to see revelation or how the Holy Spirit helps us see. In verses 28
through 32, we’re back with Simeon, and Simeon says in verse 28 took him up in his arms, which is,
this is the child. This is Jesus and blessed God and said, Lord, now you are letting your servant depart
in peace according to your word.
For my eyes have seen your Salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all Peoples a light for
revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people. Israel is like he sees. Simeon takes the child in
his arms and he sees his Salvation. I love all the language here. It’s such a sight that he says, you can
bring me to you. You can let me die. He is filled with peace. He sees the Christ. He sees his Salvation,
light to the Gentiles glory for your people, Israel.
I mean, this is the promised one, the Messiah, the very Son of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit
moves upon him to help him see as it really is. There’s a question that I think we have to ask
ourselves, how can we see? As Boniffer mentioned, it’s not that we get to just will it up. I’m going to
see God today. I’m going to work with God to help me see. This is something that God does in our
lives. We see through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We see things as they really are. When I was thinking about this language of seeing Christ, I
remember this story near the end of Matthew, where Jesus tells this message that ends in this time
of judgment. And the people say, Jesus, when did we see you? I never saw you hungry. I never saw
you poor. And Jesus said, no, you did. There were some that did whenever they saw the poor, the
least of these. And they said that person, they saw me. And I think one thing that we need to
remember is the way we view people is telling of whether the Holy Spirit is active in our lives or not.
The way we see the poor, the least of these, those that vote differently than ourselves, those that are
rude to us, those that might be nailing our Savior to a tree. The Holy Spirit helps us see. Jesus
reminds us this in His whole life and work. Look for me. Look for me. Your hospitality towards the
least of these is hospitality to me. The whole Bible would really commend us. Please, just love one
another when you love you are treating others the way they were made, which is in the image of God
and with the dignity that God gives.
And so today, as we think about what does it mean to see Christ? I don’t want to just give a spiritual
answer of like, okay, go pray. I want to actually commend us to see our neighbors in a way that God
sees them. May we be more hospitable by the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives? And finally, I want
us to think through. Okay. There’s a posture of waiting that we see in Simeon. There’s a posture of
prayer. There’s a posture of seeing that the Holy Spirit will move us to see Jesus.
And he will also move us to see others in the right way. But also he enables us to speak. He gives us a
voice and a few things that I want to say about this is Luke does this through a lot of ways, and we’ve
already seen it if we’ve gone through Advent in Luke chapter one who does he get to speak? A lot of
women. Really, Elizabeth Mary, finally, and honestly, all of those times that they speak, it says they
were filled with the Spirit.
They were filled with the Spirit. Finally, Zechariah gets to speak and it says, he’s filled with the Spirit.
And he speaks. And here Simeon becomes filled with the Spirit. And in verse 34, he prophesies in
verse 34, it says, Insimian blessed them and said, to marry his mother. Behold, this child is appointed
for the fallen rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed and a sword will also Pierce
through your own soul. Also, so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed when the Holy Spirit
moves in our lives.
He gives us a lot of times just a song to sing. Thank you for those leading our singing this morning.
But he also gives us words to say many times. And for a lot of us, I want to even just encourage any
that haven’t thought that you’ve had a voice, maybe at Church or you’re nervous of, I don’t know,
speaking in a Bible study or in a group of people. The Holy Spirit, I think, wants to invite your voice to
come out at the beginning of Loop.
There’s a lot of people’s voices that we hear from that we haven’t heard from in the normal parts of
our world. It’s amazing that she just takes this young teenage woman named Mary and gives her a
song, gives her a voice. It’s amazing that he takes this old, barren woman named Elizabeth, gives her
a song and a voice. This man Simeon, Anna, this weird Prophet named John, that’s in Camelhair. He
gives all of them voices. And I want to invite you to as you are waiting on the Holy Spirit, praying as
you see Jesus Christ.
I don’t think you might not just be able to help it, but I want to encourage you to speak out, help us see
Jesus where you have seen him. Simeon was in this moment and a poor family walks through the
door of the temple. And Jesus, he had been waiting and waiting. And the Holy Spirit comes upon him.
And like that Rembrandt painting, I think just the room turned on fire and the Messiah was in his arms.
This life of waiting and prayer now turned into seeing.
And now he speaks out this word that is honestly kind of painful. Mary understands. Yeah, I’m going
to be hurt in this journey through we know his death, Jesus death. And today I want to help us
remember who Jesus Christ is. He is the one that has been working out in this plan through Father,
Son and Holy Spirit. They have been working out our redemption, our rescue, our Salvation coming to
us, revealing them, namely, Jesus Christ to us in both Word and in his work, in His death and
And this morning, I want to invite you to respond to the life of Jesus Christ, the one who came who
was crucified, buried and risen from the dead three days later and invites you to live by the power of
the Holy Spirit. Amen. Let me pray for us, Father. Thank you for your son. Jesus Christ. Thank you for
this word in Luke two. Would you help us be a people that wait that pray see you and others and also
that will speak out your good news.
It’s in Jesus name. We pray. Amen.