I love to know things. All the things. It’s probably not healthy, but there you go. On the one hand, this desire to know everything has created in me a lifelong love of learning. On the other hand, it can make me pretty impatient when there’s something I don’t know and no one can help me find the answer.
In other words, I’m the opposite of people like Anna and Simeon. I love how understated their stories are here in Luke’s Gospel. They both longed for the redemption of Israel—for the promised Messiah to come, the one who would be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Anna served in the temple, praying and fasting day and night (Luke 2:36). Simeon was told by God that he would not die before he actually saw Him with his own eyes (v.26). How long had he waited, I wonder. Was he patient as he waited for God to do what He promised to do? Did he have moments of doubt and frustration? Whatever Simeon and Anna might have felt, there’s a powerful emotional pay-off when, on a certain day, a couple named Mary and Joseph brought a baby named Jesus into the temple to be dedicated—and all of a sudden the wait was over.
The Messiah had come, and Simeon didn’t just get to see Him with his own eyes—he got to hold Him in his arms! Is it any wonder that he prayed, “Now Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace, as you promised. For my eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:29–30). In other words, That’s it! I’m good—I can die now because You kept Your promise, Lord! And when Anna saw Jesus, she did much the same, thanking God and telling everyone about the Messiah, sharing the good news with all those who were longing for redemption (v.38).
They got to see what we have not. They got to see in person what we long to see: the one who is called the cornerstone of our salvation (1 Peter 2:7), the Savior we want all the world to know. And I’m not going to lie, I’m a little jealous of that at times. But I also know that there’s a day coming when I’ll get to meet Anna and Simeon, these two faithful servants who had waited so long for their Redeemer to come. And when I do, I’ll get to ask them what that was like. And together we will celebrate not just that He came, but that His work is finally and fully finished.
But that day isn’t here yet. I get to wait for Jesus to come, too. Because one day, He will return, and whether it’s eighty-four days or eighty-four years from now, I’m going to do my best to keep waiting with expectation, to keep hoping, looking forward to the day when we all get to stand together before Jesus and celebrate all that He has done for us.
Written by Aaron Armstrong