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Witness of the Prophets

On December 23, 2009

"...Simeon took him in his arms and praised God saying: '...my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the light of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles...'" (Luke 2:28, 30-32, TNIV).

"There was also a prophet, Anna...She gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem" (Luke 2:36,38, TNIV).

Do you marvel at the array of messengers sent to welcome our Savior’s birth? There seems to be a herald from every corner of the created world. From the angels, to the shepherds, to the Magi, even the stars have their emissary declaring Christ’s birth. The list of messengers is so diverse, it cries out to be noticed.

Consider Anna and Simeon, prophets waiting on God in the temple. Their very presence tells us that God is on the move! Remember, God’s people had not heard from the prophets for nearly 400 years! This deafening silence is finally broken as Simeon declares, “My eyes have seen the salvation of the Lord” (Luke 2:30). Anna too welcomes the Messiah, as she “spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). In these few words Anna and Simeon not only break a 400-year silence. They also deliver the news all of creation has been longing for. Through the child Jesus, Israel’s prayers have been heard! The deliverer has come! Christ is the savior not only of the Hebrew people, but of the whole world.

Simeon tells us that Christ will bring salvation to all the nations! Jesus will be the light of the Gentiles (Luke 2:31-32). From Anna we learn that Jesus will also bring redemption to Jerusalem—to those waiting in Israel for the Messiah. Simeon and Anna’s prophecies perfectly complement each other, as Richard Bauckham notes in Gospel Women. Each had something vital to tell us about the mission of Jesus.

Friends, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior this week, let us also honor the witness of the prophets God has sent. May we receive their words as part of the authoritative word of God. To ignore their witness, because of gender, is to diminish the good news of the gospel. No one in the temple that day ignored Anna’s voice! The news she and Simeon brought together comprised the climax of salvation history! God has fulfilled his promises not only to the people of Abraham, but also to the whole world.

Join CBE this Christmas in welcoming the world’s Redeemer. God bless each of you.

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