Presenting Jesus to the Temple – By Father Gabriel Alkass

As you know, Simeon carrying the Lord Jesus is part of the event for presenting Christ in the Temple.

Who is Simeon? He was a righteous man waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. He was also a Hebrew scholar and translator. In 250 BC – almost 300 years before Christ was born — the ruler of Alexandria sent a letter to Lazarus, the high priest of the Jews, asking for the Old Testament books so translators can do it from Hebrew to Greek in 70 days so that he can hold the largest library of the world.

Simeon was one of the translators, and he was responsible for the Book of Isaiah, which was going smoothly until chapter 7 when Simeon read “the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and call his son Emmanuel.”

At that point, the poor man was very confused about the prophecy. How can a virgin give birth?

And in his translation, he was about to change the word “virgin” to “girl” when he heard a voice in a dream “You will not die until you see Emmanuel being born from a Virgin. So, for that particular reason, God made him live for almost 300 years.

So now, let’s see the full scene of the event, the presentation of the Lord. Forty days after His birth, Mary and Joseph brought the baby, for 1) the Virgin Mary’s purification, and 2) the law required a sacrifice on behalf of the firstborn.

The sacrifice was meant to address when Pharaoh once sought to kill all the firstborn babies. So, for his people, God brought them out of Egypt, this tradition of sacrifice was in remembrance of that time.

For a time in our early church, every house offered children to God offered a child to be a monastery or monk. And at the sixth century, the Patriarch took two years to visit the churches in the region, including 600,000 monks in our church at that time.

So back in the temple, Simeon was purified by the Holy Spirit for nearly 300 years for that day – the consolation of Israel. He came to the temple, even though the temple was a “den of thieves,” according to the word of Jesus. He had to come for what the world was waiting for, and he said, “Now dismiss your servant of peace.”

And 3) the third point of the presentation is the declaration of salvation, which means Simeon passed the good news to Israel and the whole world. Why? Because he believed, “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, and a life to bring revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.” – In Luke, Chapter 2.

So, what are the two pearls we can take today?

  1. We are celebrating the presentation of the Lord in the temple. So that great temple, which took 46 years to be built, Jesus said, “Not one stone shall be left here upon another.” And even though it was the ONLY temple, he responded, “Instead, I am going to make each one of you a temple of God” – how beautiful this is!
  2. Simeon, at the end of his song, mentioned “the glory of your people Israel.” We all know that Jacob spiritually wrestled with the Lord and spiritually wrestled with the Lord until sunrise. That’s why the Lord named Jacob Israel. Every person captured the Lord inside their heart, and nothing in the world is more precious than Jesus; yes, that person is Israel!

Learn more from Father Gabriel’s sermon video here.

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