Luke 2 is a very rich part of Luke's Gospel. In response to a recent nudge by a pastor I have explored Luke 2:22-40 in depth. In those verses Luke records how Jesus was presented at the temple so that Jewish purification rites could be completed. There is much to share, however, this blog post dwells on the two characters who were ready at the temple to greet Joseph, Mary and Jesus. Those two characters were Simeon and Anna.
Simeon and Anna were righteous and devout. I believe Luke is actually presenting Simeon and Anna as perhaps two of only a few of the time who were righteous and devout. Simeon is filled with the Holy Spirit whereas Anna is a model of worship, fasting and prayer that longed for the promised Messiah.
When you consider the woes that Jesus would soon direct at the religious - the Pharisees, Sadduccees and Teachers of the Law (Matthew 23) - you realise that Simeon and Anna had overcome their religious brethren and had stood apart. Simeon and Anna were likely to be lonely and perhaps despised or ridiculed.
Luke's message from Simeon and Anna is that despite the circumstances of the church of the day it is an individual's faith that holds you esteemed in God's eyes. You must overcome the hubris of the day that may present The Toronto Blessing, or Prosperity Gospel or reductionist gospel*. You must establish your own stand of faith in Christ. You must be discerning in everything (Proverbs 15:14). You must take care to define yourself not in respect your denomination or local fellowship but instead in terms of your relationship with Christ.
That only Simeon and Anna were righteous and devout at the time of Christ's purification rite should ring a warning bell. The warning bell rings loud of Revelation 11 where only two witnesses will stand. At that time the world will otherwise be desolate of the Word (Micah 7:13).
Will the desolation, and absence of people like Simeon and Anna, arise because people have defined their faith on anything but Christ?