“Therefore, you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 1 Corinthians 1:7
I am not a good waiter. I get irritated by bumper-to-bumper traffic. I hate waiting in long lines. I am always looking for a quicker way, some shortcut, some advantage to get where I am going or get what I am after quicker. Is this my fallen nature kicking in? Is there truly sanctification in patient and contented waiting?
The most excellent examples for us in the patience of waiting are these two first century saints: a man living in Jerusalem, Simeon, and a woman, apparently unrelated to him, though a sister in the Lord, Anna. We are told they were both waiting devotedly for the consolation and redemption of Israel, something they were convinced would come in God’s timing.
It is not that they were inactive in their waiting; it was a waiting of service to God and in the worship of Him, of devotion and of their own sanctification. Their minds and hearts were involved in the study of God’s Word and in the encouragement of others with whom they crossed paths.
But miraculously they were both in the temple, purposefully by God’s appointment, when Mary and Joseph brought their firstborn there for His consecration, as the Law instructed. It is of such consequence that the Scriptures under Luke’s writing alone records this encounter. This is the only place in Scripture where the names and activity of Simeon and Anna are written down. But they are universally recognized by Christians from then until now.
To those around who were willing to hear, their words and pronouncements were the most momentous of their lives, though they may have been unaware. To us who know and study the Scriptures, this was the event and verbal testimony which spotlighted the fulfillment of THE prophecy of all time, from man’s beginnings to the appearing of God made flesh; the start of a brief thirty-three years in the midst of all millenniums when your salvation actually came to be.
It marks its great significance that we are told of Simeon’s and Anna’s contribution and that we can see them as examples for us in waiting for Jesus’ return. You and I need to emulate the eager waiting of these two while we look for the appearing of Jesus our King. Advent is a time where we can be readily reminded. Celebrate His first coming; anticipate His coming again! Become a Simeon or an Anna in spotlighting Jesus’ return! I believe this is a reason for their story being told.
Waiting is made worthy and rewarding when you wait for the most important reason in your entire life and in the life of the world. Such waiting should be active in those things which marked Simeon’s and Anna’s long lives. In Simeon’s waiting you see a love and study of God’s Word, a knowledge which he shared with others. In Anna’s waiting you see a devotion for worship, a discipline to be near the heart of God through fasting and prayer.
But such waiting must never lose the eagerness with which they waited for the Savior’s return. Scripture encourages us to “eagerly await His coming. Are you so enmeshed in the vicissitudes of this world that you have lost, that you have even forgotten, the joy of His coming? Your eagerness and longing for His return should rise above all thoughts which misdirect your thinking and erroneously impact your attitude while living in this fallen world.
You need to acknowledge with them by the way you live your life Jesus’ own encouragement at the very end of His written Word: “Surely, I am coming soon. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
“Lo! He comes with clouds descending, once for favored sinners slain; thousand thousand saints attending swell the triumph of his train. Alleluia! Alleluia! God appears on earth to reign.
(1st verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending, 1758)
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