Anna and Simeon Biography
When Jesus was still an infant, Mary and Joseph took him to the Temple. Mary was there to make a purification offering as instructed by God’s Law following the birth of each child. As Mary and Joseph walked into the Temple court, an old man named Simeon hurried over, obviously beside himself. Taking Jesus into his arms he began praising God. “Lord, now I can die in peace,” he cried. “For I have seen the Savior you promised to show me. He is the Light that will shine upon the nations, and he will be the glory of your people Israel!”
Joseph and Mary were private people—they didn’t enter the House of God proclaiming their son as something special. The Scripture states that they were astonished when Simeon suddenly appeared, overflowing with praise for the infant.
Simeon then turned to Mary. “A sword shall pierce your soul,” he said tenderly, “for this child shall be rejected by many in Israel and this to their undoing. But he will be the greatest joy of many others. And the deepest thoughts of many hearts shall be revealed.”
Anna, a prophetess, was also in the Temple that day. In fact, this remarkable aged widow spent every day worshipping and praying in the Temple. When she heard what Simeon was saying, she immediately agreed with him and began praising God for the child. From that day until the day of her death Anna told everyone who awaited the coming of a Savior that Messiah had finally arrived.
Though later in Jesus’ life others would testify to his deity the witness of these two great saints constitutes some of the most powerful testimony. First, their witness was spontaneous—they had no prior knowledge of Jesus. Second, Simeon and Anna were mature, godly saints, not the type who might make rash claims about a spiritual matter. Next, Simeon’s words reveal a supernatural knowledge of both the opposition and honor Christ would later face during his ministry. And finally, the two recognized the Messiah as an infant, without the opportunity to observe his developed character, his personal claims, or his gifts of healing and teaching. This was a miraculous revelation of Jesus’ identity very early in his life by two remarkably perceptive saints. We also bear witness with them.
What can we learn from Anna and Simeon?
Alluding to the Magi at Christ’s birth, there is a bumper sticker that reads, “Wise men still worship Him.” Simeon and Anna were two wonderfully wise saints who recognized the Christ when most only saw the infant as another Hebrew child born into poverty. Through Simeon and Anna we honor all those elderly trophies of God’s grace with the light of Jesus shining in their eyes. They still recognize the face of Christ in those they gently serve.
Bible Verses about Anna and Simeon
What questions does this help to answer?
- Who were Anna and Simeon?
- Was Jesus at the Temple?
- What was the role of women in the New Testament?
- What prophecies did Jesus fulfill?
Steve Fortosis served for six years as youth minister in several parishes. Meanwhile he was also working toward his masters, then his doctorate in religious education. Through the years he has enjoyed teaching on the college and seminary levels and writing professionally. He has published a number of books including story and prayer compilations, missionary biography, Biblical character biography, devotional lit, children’s lit, and even stories of Bible translation. Presently he resides in Florida with his wife, Debra, where he teaches part-time and writes on a free-lance basis.Steve Fortosis