This study is about two older people whose lives ended well. They seemed to know how to live life with power and meaning. Let’s look at their “witness” to Jesus.
Getting started: What do you want to be like at the end of your life? What do you want to have accomplished? You may not have done a lot of thinking about this, but take a few moments to share some preliminary thoughts.
1. Have someone (or a few people) read Luke 2: 22-40 aloud. Verses 22-35 are about Simeon, verses 36-40 about Anna.
2. Verses 1-21 of this chapter describe the birth and circumcision of Jesus. Now it is time for his “presentation.” How is this ceremony described in verses 22-24? Leviticus 12:6-8 in the Old Testament describes the origin of this purification ceremony. From the Leviticus passage and verse 24 we get a clue to the economic status of Mary and Joseph. What was it?
3. Look carefully at how Simeon is described in verse 25. Do you know anyone like this, who seems to have “the Holy Spirit resting on” them? Share a bit about them. What makes them special?
4. How do you think Simeon felt when he saw Jesus?
5. Now look at his “song” in verses 29-32. What does he say about the salvation that is brought by Jesus? Who were the “Gentiles?” (Everyone who was not Jewish.) If this “light of revelation” that Jesus will bring is for the Gentiles, and also for the glory of Israel, what is Simeon really saying about the revelation of Jesus?
6. Look at Simeon’s further prophesy in verses 34-35. Why do you think there will be opposition to someone bringing the revelation of God? What do you think he meant when he said to Mary that “a sword will pierce your own soul”?
7. How is Anna described in verses 36-37? Do you know any older people who are very godly, who seem to worship God with genuine power? Share a bit about them.
8. In verse 38, as soon as Anna saw Jesus, what are two things she does immediately in response? How is this similar to the shepherds’ response in verses 17 and 20? What seems to be the first thing people do when they truly encounter Jesus? Have you encountered Jesus in such a way that would make you want to tell others about him?
9. Compare Simon and Anna. What did they have in common? What was their response to encountering Jesus?
In closing: What characterizes those who genuinely seek Jesus? What do they seem to do as soon as they encounter him? How do the examples of these two people help you as you think about living your life, and ending your life, meaningfully?
Many thanks to those who gave valuable feedback in the writing and editing of these studies: the Iowa staff team led by Lindsay Olesberg, Beth Krysl, Judy Johnson, Fred Neubert, Shelley Soceka, Glen Ewart, Nancy Fox, Suzy Gaeddert, Scott Eddlemon, Ann Beyerlein, Bob Wolniak, Paula Esealuka, John Seiders and Donna Snow. Special thanks to Kathy Burrows (design) and Jeff Yourison (editor).-Bob Grahmann