Christmas Lesson Part 1: Simeon. Start a dialogue about the meaning of the word expecting :

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1 Christmas Lesson Part 1: Simeon The focus of this lesson is to introduce Simeon and emphasize the fact that he lived his life expecting God s promises to be fulfilled. Start a dialogue about the meaning of the word expecting : What does the word expect mean? (Allow students to define the word before reading the definition) o Definition: To look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate the occurrence or the coming of -- To think that something will probably or certainly happen, to think that someone or something will arrive or that something will happen o When you expect something, you have an idea that something will be happening at a future time. You have the idea in your head of what is going to happen and you look to the future knowing that it will happen. Can you think of examples of things you might expect? (Allow students time to come up with some ideas of their own, you can use these examples to help guide them in the right direction) o When you see a pregnant mother, you expect a baby is coming o When you see dark clouds, you expect rain is coming o During the season of Christmas, you expect to do Christmas traditions with your family o When you grow up, you might expect to get married o When the cold winter is over, you expect spring to bring warmer days and new growth for plants Let s think about the Jews who lived during the time that the Old Testament was written. Can you think of a promise God gave to David that would make them expect something very specific? o Promise God made to David: 2 Samuel 7:12 "When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 "I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. o God made a promise that a descendant of David s would come and set up a kingdom that this descendant would be the Son of God and king of the kingdom! We know that God spoke at various times and in various ways. One way He spoke in the Old Testament was through the prophets. The Jews would have heard the prophecies that Isaiah and Micah spoke of concerning this coming descendant. (Choose three students look up verses to read aloud.) o Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. o Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it

2 with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. o Micah 5:2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting." We know that over and over again, the Jewish nation fell into disobedience and unbelief. Most of the Jews during this time were choosing not to believe in God s promises. After Malachi gave the last prophecy in the Old Testament, there were 400 years of silence from God. During this time the Jewish nation followed after their own desires instead of remaining faithful to God. But, throughout the Old Testament and up to Christ s birth, there was always a small group of Jews that were faithful and believed and were expecting God s promises to be fulfilled. Right before Jesus birth angels appeared to a few of these obedient Jews to prepare them for the birth of Christ. Can you think of any of these particular people? o Zacharias, Mary, Joseph they knew and believed in the promises made to David and the prophecies spoken by Isaiah and Micah! They were expecting God to send his Son. Who did the angels appear to right after Jesus birth? o The shepherds they too were familiar with the promise made to David and all the prophecies in the Old Testament. They were expecting God to send his Son. So, Zacharias (and his wife Elizabeth), Mary, Joseph and the shepherds were all part of the Jewish people that believed in God s promises. While the rest of the nation continued in disobedience, they remained faithful and looked for, or expected God s promises to be fulfilled. There are also two other people that scriptures speak of who were also expecting God s promises. We can read about them in Luke chapter 2, right after Christ s birth. Let s open our Bibles and read Luke 2:25-26 to find out more about this first person. o Luke 2:25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: 29 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation 31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, 32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel." **Pass out student worksheets** help students fill in the blanks of the worksheet as you go over the information.

3 After reading this scripture let s fill in some of the information we know about Simeon. First of all, it s always helpful to know the meaning of names in the Bible. Simeon s name means God has heard. (Write on worksheet) o The very meaning of his name pictures for us the group of faithful Jews that were waiting and watching and believing that God would send his Son to fulfill his promise! Simeon was apart of this group and his name tells us that God has heard their prayers and their desire to see God s Son sent to earth to fulfill His promises. What two words describe Simeon in verse 25? o Just and devout (write on worksheet) o The scripture declares Simeon as just, meaning righteous, or right before God. The only way to be right before God is to remain faithful to God s word. So we know that Simeon was walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord (Luke 1:6) o Devout means he was concerned for the things of God. He was serious and careful as to how he treated God and responded to God s word. What does verse 25 say he was waiting for? o waiting for the Consolation of Israel (write on worksheet) the word consolation is translated comfort. Jesus birth would give comfort to Israel. Remember Simeon lived in a time when the Jewish nation was deep in sin and unbelief. As a result of this they were oppressed by their enemies and it was a sad and despairing time for them. It would bring comfort to the nation knowing that God always keeps His promises. Simeon had hope for the coming of the Messiah, the King that would bring the promised kingdom he was watching and waiting day after day for this! He was waiting for the comfort to be brought to Israel. What does the end of verse 25 say? o the Holy Spirit was upon Him (write on worksheet) The Holy Spirit was upon him guiding him and revealing things to him that very day. What did the Holy Spirit reveal to him in verse 26? o he would not see death before he had seen the Lord s Christ (write on worksheet) o The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would see the Christ, the promised King, the one who would fulfilled God s promises, before he died. o We can conclude that Simeon was most likely a very old man and has been waiting a LONG time to see Jesus. Where did the Holy Spirit lead him in verse 27? o to the temple Who did he meet at the temple? o Mary and Joseph and JESUS! It was the custom of the law that 40 days after a baby was born the parents were to bring the baby to the temple and offer a sacrifice. So on the day that Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to the temple, God led Simeon to the temple to meet them.

4 o The temple was a busy place and there were probably crowds of people everywhere, but the Holy Spirit led Simeon right to Mary and Joseph! Can you just imagine Mary and Joseph talking with Simeon, telling him of the details of the miraculous birth of Jesus? What an exciting day for Simeon! After praying diligently year after year, Simeon got to physically see God s promise come to fulfillment. He got to see with his own eyes the King that God promised to David. He got to meet the baby who was God s own Son, the One who would bring comfort to Israel. Just as the Holy Spirit revealed to him, he would get to see the Lord s Christ before he died. He had been waiting and expecting for this very moment such a long time! After realizing who he had met, what did Simeon do? (students should read from their bible) o Simeon took baby Jesus in his arms and blessed the Lord and said: Luke 2:29 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation 31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, 32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel." o Simeon begins praising God! God had kept his promise (which we read about in verse 26) that Simeon would get to see Christ before he died. o In verse 29, Simeon is saying he can now die in peace because he has seen Jesus. o In verse 30-32, Simeon is acknowledging that God s promises are being fulfilled through Jesus, that this is the promise of salvation sent to Israel and well as the Gentiles. (Bonus: who are the Gentiles? US!) **Have students fill in Simeon s talk bubble with verses 29 and 30. They can either copy the verses from their bibles or you can write the verses on the board for them to copy.** How did Mary and Joseph react to what Simeon had said? Let s read verse 33 to find out: o Luke 2:33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. o Joseph and Mary were standing in the temple with a very normal looking baby. There was no halo around Jesus head or a great light surrounding him. But for Simeon, he knew how special this baby was he knew, as well as Mary and Joseph, that this was the baby who was the descendant of David, who would reign on David s throne forever and ever. Simeon knew that this was Israel s Savior. As Mary and Joseph heard him declare these things about Jesus, the scripture said they marveled - filled with wonder and astonishment - about the things he said. Next week we will read about one other person who, just like Simeon, was expecting Jesus and was at the temple that very same day. **Students can color the picture of Simeon to complete their worksheet.**

5 Christmas Lesson Part 2: Anna The focus of this lesson to introduce Anna and emphasize the fact that she lived her life expecting God s promises to be fulfilled. Review: Ask students these questions to review last weeks teaching. Who did we learn about last week? Simeon What does his name mean? God has heard We learned that Simeon was expecting something. What was he watching, waiting and praying for? God to send the promised One, God s Son Simeon was apart of the small group of Jews that were faithful to God and believed in his promises. What other people did we learn about that were also in this group? Zacharias, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds What did the Holy Spirit reveal to him? he would not see death before he had seen the Lord s Christ Where did the Holy Spirit lead him? To the temple Who did he meet at the temple? Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus Today we are going to learn about one other person who, just like Simeon, was expecting Jesus and was at the temple that very same day. Open your bibles to Luke 2:36-38 to read about this person. o Luke 2:36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. **Pass out student worksheets** help students fill in the blanks of the worksheet as you go over the information. What is the name of this other person that was expecting Jesus to be sent? o Anna We learned last week that it is helpful to know the meaning of names in the Bible. The name Anna means favor or grace. (Write on worksheet)

6 o God had favor and grace upon Anna s life because of her faithfulness and belief in God s promises. She served in the temple and was expecting waiting and watching for God s promises to be fulfilled! o (Interesting to note: The name Anna is the Greek translation of the Hebrew name Hannah. Hannah in the Old Testament is also characterized by prayer, fasting and being dedicated to serving God in the temple just like Anna!) How does the first part of verse 36 describe Anna? o She was a prophetess (Write on worksheet) o This means she spoke God s truths, she spoke and taught about God s Word to others. She believed what God had said through the prophets in the Old Testament and shared this with those around her. Continue reading verse 36. What does the scriptures say about her age and was she married? o She was a widow advanced in years (write on worksheet) o We know she was very old. Verse 37 says she was married for 7 years and then a widow for 84 years. 84+7= 91 The scriptures don t tell us how old she was when she got married, but we can conclude she was over 91 years old! Continue reading verse 37. Where does the scripture say Anna spent her time? o She did not depart from the temple (write on worksheet) o She had dedicated her life to serving at the temple. o (Review: Who else was at the temple that day? Simeon, Mary, Joseph and Jesus) How did Anna serve God at the temple? o She served God with fastings and prayers (write on worksheet) o Fasting means not eating in order to focus on God. From this verse we know that Anna s prayers were such an important part of her life that she denied herself even food at times so she could focus her mind and spend time in prayer. o What do you think she was praying about? (Hint: She was part of the group of Jews that were faithful and believed in God s promises. So what do you think her prayers were all focused on?) That God s promises would be fulfilled that the promised One would be sent to set up his kingdom! The scripture continues and says Anna served God with fasting and prayers day and night. o This tells us that she fasted and prayed continually this was her life! Her life revolved around praying to God and believing in His promises to send the Messiah. She believed this so much that her entire life was dedicated to fasting and prayers at the temple. She took the promises of the Old Testament seriously and prayed for them day and night day after day, year after year!

7 Read the first part of verse 38. What does coming in that instant mean? What exact instant was she apart of? o We have to look at the previous verses to know what this means. The previous verses (that we read last week) told us all about Simeon being at the temple meeting Mary, Joseph and Jesus. o So Anna was also at the temple the very same day. Remember the temple was a busy place and there were hundreds of people coming and going. But, God allowed Anna to be in just the right place at just the right time to hear Simeon speaking about Jesus! After seeing and hearing Simeon with Mary, Joseph and Jesus, what did Anna do? o Firstly, she gave thanks to the Lord she was instantly filled with praise and thanks to God!! After all her years of fasting and prayers how do you think she felt when meeting this baby, the One who God had promised? She was probably overwhelmed with thanks and praise! She had been waiting and expecting the Messiah, the Redeemer, the One who would fulfill the promises made to Abraham and David! o The next part of the verse goes on to say after Anna gave thanks she spoke of Him to all those who looked for the redemption in Jerusalem.! God had answered her prayers and she wanted to tell everyone about it! She went to all those Jews who were seeking and believed in God s promises all those who were expecting Christ and she told them how God had stayed true to his promise. She told them how God had answered her years and years of prayers! How excited she must have been! The kind of excitement that she could not keep to herself she had to share this news with others!

8 Simeon = What scripture tells us about Simeon:

9 Anna = What scripture tells us about Anna:

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