Anna and Simeon, part two


Since I had gone through a bit of an analysis of the prophetess Anna, I thought I would continue now with Simeon. Simeon unlike Anna likely was an official at the temple, he is the one that lifted up the child Jesus. Like Anna he is described as devout and awaiting the consolation of Israel: He is not just carrying out a professional responsibility , he too is actively searching and praying for his nation and people. He is awaiting the fulfillment of a promise made by the Holy Spirit, and in Jesus that promise is fulfilled.

Canticle of Simeon

“Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you prepared in the sight of every people,
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.”

In that promise Simeon sees Jesus as both salvation to Jews and Gentiles: it is at the adoration of the magi that Jesus is proclaimed as King of both Jew and Gentile.Ironically, in that statement of Christ as redeemer to both Jew and Gentile there is not the immediate consolation of Israel, but a battle before the victory. It of course hints towards the Passion of our Lord. It also in that temple setting can be analogous to Jacobs wrestling with God. It does not describe a truce between nations, but the Kingdom of God rightly restored.

In going back to comparing Anna and Simeon, Anna’s tribe Asher was named, while Simeons was not. It is curious that Luke would go through the effort of giving that detail, but what now about Simeon? The name of Simeons tribe is not given, but Simeon is the name of one of the tribes of Israel. That tribe was located in the heart of Judea, the seat of temple worship. Anna’s family and Simeons came from different Jewish traditions. Simeon from the southern kingdom were those that placed emphasis on temple. Anna from the northern kingdom was the land of the prophets. Luke then might have subtly suggested the range of the Jewish experience. His own experience was thought to be that of a pagan convert or a Jew from a Hellenic region of Galilee.His account of both Simeon and Anna’s proclamation of Jesus as savior emphasizes, however subtly, that Jesus is the consolation of all Gods chosen people. Another reason for including both in the narrative is that of the need for witness in Jewish law. Simeon legitimizes Anna’s prophesy according to Jewish law, and that gives further strength to what she has to say. It is then a true proclamation valid for all under that covenant.

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