Mary and Joseph married and Mary’s pregnancy came to near full term and then they were called to travel to Bethlehem for a census. This would seem a hard journey given Mary’s condition. When they arrive, they find no room at any inn, but instead go to a stable and Mary gives birth to Jesus there. Not exactly an easy path in life as they get started together. However, the Lord continued to provide them encouragement along the way.
The Lord provided an angel as messenger. He provided Elizabeth’s pregnancy to help and encourage Mary. He provided the shepherds at the stable where Jesus was born. Now as Jesus is presented at the temple, the Lord provides another to continue encouraging Mary and Joseph about who Jesus is as Messiah. Then He brings in Anna as yet another. The Lord encourages the faithful abundantly as they do His work.
Jesus Presented at the Temple
21And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
22And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “EVERY firstborn MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD”), 24and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS.”
25And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29“Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
33And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 34And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— 35and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
36And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. 38At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
I am so grateful that our Lord sees fit to encourage us and reaffirm to us when we are on the right path, the path of obedience. It is not always the easiest path. Quite the contrary, sometimes the sinful and selfish path appears the easiest. “Just go along and get along”. But He calls us to be separate. Along the way there are trials and difficulties. It is such a blessing when He provides us with other believers around us or a word from the Spirit within us to encourage us and affirm to us that we are on the right path. I have experienced this many times in my life as a believer. I am greatly encouraged by how much my Father cares for me and for my family. He truly supports and guides us along the way… sometimes at just those times when the journey may seem most difficult.
Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.