The Wisdom of Anticipation: Old Testament.

The longer you walk with the Lord as your Savior, the more you long to see Him face to face. This was true of both Simeon and Anna in Luke 2.

The power of joyful anticipation is recognized even in the realm of medicine. Future excitement can help us get through a difficult present. Anticipation implies reward, and reward is a powerful motivator. The promise of gifts on Christmas morning, acceptance to the college of our choice, or a promotion at work motivates us to more disciplined living.

Anticipation is a stepping stone to hope. The two saints in this passage were advanced in years and had served the Lord all their lives. Their perseverance was the fruit of long-term anticipation.

The Nature of Anticipation

There is no greater anticipation than a Christian waiting to see their Lord. Simeon was looking for the “consolation” of Israel. This phrase hearkens back to Isaiah 40:1-2.

When Christ changes a life, others will respond either positively or negatively (2 Corinthians 2:14-17). Simeon indicates as much in verses 34-35.

Anna was looking for the “redemption” of Israel. This phrase hearkens back to Isaiah 52:3-10. No enemy of Christ can have an ultimate hold on our souls or physical bodies.

Neither Simeon nor Anna were looking for a king to rule, but a Savior to deliver them from sin. This is who Jesus was announced to be in Luke 2:11 and Matthew 1:21. True believers in the Old Testament era entrusted their lives and souls to the Savior Messiah who was to come. A few understood that there had to be a cross before the Kingdom. Their anticipation changed the way they lived. Simeon and Anna’s devotion is clear.

Anna had learned from her faithful heritage. She persevered in extreme difficulties and influenced friends who were also looking for the Messiah.

Anticipation is powerful when we are looking and living for the right reason. These two saints lived simple lives and were part of a small remnant who were likely unpopular among their peers.

Application Points

  • We too are called to live holy lives in anticipation of seeing Christ (1 John 3:2-3).
  • What compels you to live every day? What motivates your daily life? Are these things temporary or eternal?
  • Do you anticipate seeing Jesus Christ? His return is imminent (1 John 2:26-28, James 5:9). Will you be ashamed at His coming or will you enjoy an abundant entrance into His presence? (See 2 Peter 1:11.)

A Hymn to Encourage: "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus"

Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.