TEXT: Luke 2:21-40
Your students will be able to rehearse the promise made to Simeon, and its fulfillment. They will further be able to summarize the past four lessons and conclude that God’s promises are as infallible in our day as they were in that time.
The praise expressed by Simeon and Anna is paralleled by that of Hannah and Zacharias. A heart that can praise has already obeyed. Anna was of the tribe of Aser—one of the ten tribes of the kingdom of Israel. Her family must have been one of several which had returned to God from idolatry, in the time that Hezekiah proclaimed the Passover in Jerusalem. See 2 Chronicles 30:1-11.
Jesus was presumed to be forty days old when taken to the Temple. The Law required every new mother to be separated from society for thirty-three days of purification after what was termed the seven days (for a male child) of her uncleanness—forty days in all. See Leviticus 12:2 and 4.
The pair of turtledoves brought by Jesus’ parents were for a burnt offering and for a sin offering. The rich were required to bring a lamb, but the poor and middle class could bring either two turtledoves or two pigeons.
Jesus made a permanent impression on everyone He came into contact with. Even Herod and the others who rejected Him were never the same again. Today, all who will receive Him, as Simeon and Anna did, will obtain the benefit of the promises recorded in the Word of God. Jesus is our salvation and through Him we have a new outlook on life and a beautiful hope for the future.
- What are two moral attributes mentioned in Luke 2:25, which adorned Simeon’s life?
Response: He was just, which means “righteous; upright,” and devout, which means, “earnest; fervent.” These show a sincere devotion to one’s faith. Bring out that these attributes are necessary in order to live close to God, as Simeon did, and receive His answers to their prayers and His promised blessings on their lives.
- Who revealed to Simeon that he would not see death before he had seen the “Lord’s Christ”? What role does that Person have in our lives today?
Response: The Holy Ghost revealed this. God’s Spirit was upon Simeon and directed him into the Temple at the very time Jesus was brought in by His parents in obedience to the Law of Moses. Bring out that, likewise, the “Promise of the Father” is to send the Holy Ghost into our lives today to lead us and guide us.
- Why did Simeon bless God and know, with confidence, that he could now “depart in peace”?
Response: His eyes had seen God’s salvation in the Baby Jesus, as God had promised him. Ask the students what brings that sort of confidence into the heart. They should conclude that it is faith in God’s promises, and a determination to fulfill all the requirements of God in their lives.
- What was the significance of Mary’s giving her firstborn Son the name Jesus? See verse
Response: Mary and Joseph were obeying the commandment of the angel who appeared to both (Luke 1:31 and Matthew 1:21). The angel told Joseph, “He shall save his people from their sins.” Ask your students to enumerate the promises given Mary concerning her Son (Luke 1:32-33). Which of these promises have we seen fulfilled? Which are yet to come?
- What attitude is manifested in the lives of each of those who recognized the fulfillment of promise and were privileged to see the Baby Jesus?
The Shepherds — Luke 2:15-17,20
The Wise Men — Matthew 2:9-11
Simeon — Luke 2:27-28
Anna — Luke 2:38
Response: All of them were filled with joy. They gave praise and glory to God. They spread the news of His birth. Discuss with your students their reaction when they see the fulfillment of one of God’s promises to them. It is their privilege then to tell others of these fulfillments, just as the shepherds, Wise Men, and Anna and Simeon did in their day.
- Look back over the past four lessons. Briefly summarize what promises were given, and state how these were fulfilled in the text of today’s lesson.
Response: Your students should begin by reciting some of the prophecies concerning Christ’s birth given in the Old Testament, and how they were fulfilled in the New. Gabriel’s message to Mary foretold the birth of her Child, who would be called the Son of God. The proclamation of the angels brought “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” The promise in Micah was that from Bethlehem would come One to rule God’s people. Your students should recognize that all of these promises were fulfilled at the birth of Jesus.
- What parallel can we draw between the days in which we are now living and the promises of God, and the prophecies of His Word which were fulfilled by Jesus’ first advent?
Response: Knowing that every prophecy concerning Jesus’ birth was fulfilled completely, we can be confident that the promise of His second coming as King of kings and Lord of lords will come to pass also. Just as Simeon, the Wise Men, and others looked for the promised Messiah, so we can look forward to Jesus’ return to earth. At that time He will come to take us to be with Him forever.
- Noting the key verse, what connection can be found in holding fast the profession of our faith without wavering, and God being faithful to His promise?
Response: It is easy to have faith in the One who always keeps His promise. Discuss with your students the fact that God is delighted to fulfill His promises to those who have faith in Him. With these elements working together in their lives they can be assured that they are “more than conquerors.” Referring to Hebrews 11, have your class list several names of people who had outstanding promises fulfilled in their behalf. Focus on the fact that faith in God was uppermost in their lives.
Show a clock to your students, and discuss with them what it is like to wait for something really special. Time seems to go so slowly when we are waiting for a special event. As Christians, we are waiting every day for the second coming of Jesus. Although we don’t know the exact time of His coming, we do know it will be soon— maybe today! We mustn’t just sit and watch the time go by. We must be like Anna and Simeon, getting ready and doing the Lord’s work.
Have a small gift ready (and hidden) for each child in your class (a pencil, a nickel, a bookmark, etc.). Tell your students you have something for each one of them. Invite them to ask what and when you’ll give the gift, but don’t give them an answer; just ask if they believe you. Go on with the lesson and once in a while ask if they still believe you’ll give them something. Toward the end of class time produce the gifts, and then bring out that Jesus’ second coming is even more sure than the gift you gave them.
To illustrate that we don’t know when Christ will come, bring a stopwatch or timer to class. Set a certain amount of time on the watch. Pass around among the students a heart on which you’ve pasted pictures of a home, money, food—pictures which represent the “things of this world.” The student may hold the heart as long as he wishes, collecting for each five seconds a reward (candy, penny, play money). But if the buzzer goes off while he is holding it, he is out and must forfeit all he has collected. Continue doing this until only one person is left. Present that person with a heart holding a picture of Jesus. Explain that the others held onto the things of the world, even though they knew the buzzer might sound.
Write some simple promises and rewards on separate slips of paper and place them in a hat. (Example: If you read John 3:16, I will give you a nickel. If you shake hands with Mary, I will give you a candy bar.) Ask the students if they really believe you will fulfill the rewards. Let each one pick a promise from a hat, then do what you said you would! Discuss how sure God’s promises are.