First Sunday of Christmas
Simeon Praises God in the Temple
Luke 2: 22 - 40
Sometime after the baby Jesus turned thirty days old, Mary and Joseph took him to the Temple in Jerusalem to buy him back from God in a ceremony called pidyon ha-ben, the redemption from priestly service (Numbers 3: 13). Mary was also completing her ritual purification at this time (Leviticus 2).
Modern Jewish mothers still redeem their first-born sons in this fashion (the ceremony cannot happen in the family if the first-born child is a girl), although today Jewish fathers pay the ransom in silver dollars, instead of with doves.
Jesus, our Redeemer, who paid the price for our sins, was first bought back from God by his own parents.
Simeon, the priest, belonged to the tribe of Levi, the people who served God in the Temple. Many Christians sing his song of praise to God (the Nunc Dimittis, Latin for Simeon's first words, "Now you let me depart") as the post-communion canticle at worship.
Women were never priests in Jewish practice, but there always was a place in the tradition for women (most often married, with children, like Isaiah's wife) who gave their lives to prayer and prophecy. Anna followed in their footsteps.
Herod the Great had rebuilt the Temple, but he ruled under Roman authority, and Jerusalem was under Roman occupation at that time.
1. Why did Mary and Joseph take the baby Jesus to the Temple?
[Mary and Joseph were following the rules in the Law of Moses (the first five books of the Old Testament).]
2. Who told Simeon to go to the Temple?
[The Holy Spirit told Simeon to go to the Temple.]
3. What did Simeon do when he took the baby Jesus into his arms?
[Simeon sang a song of praise to God.]
4. What other person was in the Temple on that day?
[The prophet Anna was in the Temple.]
5. What did Anna do after she praised God?
[Anna spoke about the child Jesus to everyone who hoped for Jerusalem to be set free.]
Calendar | HomePage | Christmas 2 Art | Baptism of Our Lord Lesson | Confirmation Instruction Overview | Confirmation Lesson 6