Sunday, January 16, 2011

Simeon and Anna meet Baby Jesus

Lesson: My eyes have seen your salvation
This story actually takes place before the 3 Magi's visit, but due to the Christmas period, we tell it after.

1. Story: 
Tell the story of Jesus being presented at the temple based on Luke 2:21-40.

a. Jesus' Circumcision:
  • Mary and Joseph took God’s Son when He was 8 days old and had Him circumcised. At that circumcision ceremony babies were given their name. Before this baby was born an angel named Gabriel told Mary what to name Him. Who remembers the name Gabriel told Mary to give God’s Son? (Luke 1:31)
b. Jesus' Dedication:
  • When Jesus was 40 days old, Mary and Joseph traveled to the temple in Jerusalem for another ceremony. Many, many years before Jesus came to earth as a baby, God had given Moses laws for His people to obey. One of those laws was that any family who had a firstborn son had to take that son and have him dedicated at the temple. To dedicate someone means to offer him to God. The parents of the firstborn son had to take an offering with them as they dedicated their son to God in the temple. The offering needed to be a lamb. If a family didn’t have enough money to bring a lamb, God allowed them to bring 2 birds called turtledoves. Mary and Joseph loved and obeyed God. They obeyed His laws regarding the Firstborn Son. This little baby, Jesus, was God’s Son.
c. Simeon meets Jesus:
  • Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, there is a man named Simeon who was righteous. Whenever we read that someone is righteous in the Bible, it means that their faith was in God’s promise to forgive their sins. In the Old Testament people were declared righteous by God when he/she believed by faith that God was going to send a Savior to take away their sins. In the New Testament people are declared as righteous when they believe in Jesus, the Savior God promised to send to take away their sins.
  • Simeon was a man who loved God. He lived a life that pleased God. In the days that Simeon was living, not many people heard God’s voice. It says in Luke that the Holy Spirit was upon Simeon. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon certain people but did not live inside them. After Jesus died on the cross and rose again the Holy Spirit comes to live in the hearts of people and He does not ever leave.
  • Simeon listened and obeyed God’s voice. God had told him that he would not die until he had seen with his own eyes the Promised Christ (the Messiah). We don’t know how old Simeon was when God made a promise to him but the Bible tells us that Simeon believed the promise and was looking for the day to come for God’s promise to happen.
  • This must have been an exciting promise to Simeon. Each year as he worshiped and served God he must have kept his eyes open for God’s promised Savior. As time passed, it may have been hard for Simeon to understand how he would ever live to see the Savior. Faith believes in something that a person cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1) Even though Simeon could not see or understand how he would see the Savior he believed God would do what He said.
  • One day, the Holy Spirit urged Simeon to go to the temple. So he went. And he saw a young woman holding a baby in her arms and her husband walked through the temple doors. God’s Spirit told Simeon that this baby was the Promised Savior. Immediately, Simeon went to Mary and reached out to hold her Baby Boy. He held him in his arms and began to praise God.
  • Listen to what Simeon said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation.” Mary and Joseph were amazed at Simeon’s praises to God. Simeon was praising God and speaking words of the Messiah’s future to Mary and Joseph.
d. Anna meets Jesus:
  • There was another person in the temple that day. Her name was Anna. She was 84 years old. Anna was a widow — she had only been married 7 years — and was serving God in the temple. She was known as a prophetess. Anna stayed in the temple everyday praying and fasting. Because she had a close relationship to the Lord, she knew that God had promised to send a Savior.
  • As soon as she saw the Child she immediately thanked the Lord for sending the Savior who was going to take away the sins of the world.
  • Simeon and Anna saw and believed that Jesus was God’s promised Savior. After Simeon and Anna met the Savior of the world, they chose to praise and thank Him for allowing them to see His Promise come true.

2. Lesson: Good news for Today
  • Today you too can meet the Savior. You have heard that God has kept His Promise to send His Son into the world to take away our sins. You can be like Simeon and believe by faith that Jesus died and rose again so your sins can be forgiven. It is faith because none of us were living when Jesus did this for us. We have to believe it even though we didn’t see it.
  • Did you know that today, believers also have a promise that they are looking forward to? A promise God has given in His Word that has not happened yet is that Jesus is going to come back and take all who believe in Him back with Him to heaven.
  • Who believes that Jesus has taken away your sins? Who believes that Jesus is coming back again for us? Who would like to believe in Jesus? (Give children a chance to respond and lead them in prayer and thanksgiving for Jesus and what He has done for us)

3. Activity ideas:
a. Colouring & Activity sheets on Simeon and Anna (source: Higher Praise)



Youth Bible Study

Leader's Guide
Jesus Dedicated at the Temple

1. Read Luke 2:21-30.

2. What are the 3 rituals/ceremonies mentioned and what do we know about them?
(briefly explain; no need to spend too much time on this cross references etc; just as long as the youths understand what these mean)

i.          Circumcision:
(Gen 17:10-12) It was a covenant sign of God’s people under the Old Covenant; 8 days after birth; babies usually named then (e.g. John the Baptist; Luke 1:57-63)

ii.         Purification rites: 
(Lev 12) Woman ceremonially unclean for seven days after birth of son; then must wait 33 days to be purified from bleeding. Jesus was probably 1 month old when his parents brought him to the temple. Had to offer sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons.

iii.        Dedication of the firstborn:
(Exodus 13:1, 14) Firstborn of every Jewish family to be dedicated to God in remembrance of how He brought them out of Egypt by striking down the firstborn of the Egyptians;

3. Why do you think Jesus’ parents went through all these rituals/ceremonies?
They were a good Jewish couple; law-abiding.
Matthew 3:15  Jesus fulfilled all righteousness; fulfilled the law

4. What do you know about Simeon?
Righteous, devout, told by the Holy Spirit that he will see the Messiah before He died; told by the Holy Spirit to go to the temple that day.
Righteous: Having faith in God’s promise to forgive our sins (Gen 15:6)
Holy Spirit: Is now in us. He speaks to us every day, and we can hear His voice.

5. What did Simeon do when he saw Jesus?
Took the child in his arms and praised God. Thank Him for letting him see God’s salvation for His people — all of Israel and the Gentiles too. 
Blessed Joseph & Mary. Warned Mary about what will happen to Jesus.

6.  Who else was at the temple, and what do we know about this person?
Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. A prophetess. Very old (84 years old); lived with husband for seven years. Never left the temple. Worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.

7.   What did she do when she saw Jesus?
Gave thanks to God. Said Jesus was God’s answer to redeem/save His people.

8.   What did Jesus and His parents do after that?
Returned to Nazareth. Jesus grew and became strong; filled with wisdom; the grace of God was upon Him.

Let's thank God that today we can meet Jesus too, our Salvation, and that we can look forward to His coming back again!

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