Bible Lesson: Simeon and Anna see the Savior

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The following is an adaptation of the Gospel Project lesson of Jesus being dedicated at the temple.  The lesson was prepared for a small group of students ranging from age 5-11.  The students discover that as Simeon and Anna believed God would keep His promise to send a Savior, they can believe God keeps all His promises.
Bible Story: Simeon and Anna see the Savior
Scripture: Luke 2:22-38
Target Age Group: Age 5 – 11 (U.S. K – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
Supply List:  Bibles, copies of your choice of activity page, pens/pencils
Learning Goal:  Students will learn that faith is believing that God keeps His promises.
Learning Activity #1:  Activity pages As students are arriving working on activity sheets gives the teacher and student opportunities to talk and learn about how the students’ week has been.
Memory Verse:  “For my eyes have seen Your salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.  Luke 2:30-32
Related: Your class might enjoy our learning skit based on this same Bible passage. For even more ideas, we’ve uploaded another free Bible lesson based on this same passage.

Bible Lesson:  Simeon and Anna see the Savior

(Begin with prayer)
What are some things you wait for? (Allow responses)  What is the longest time you have had to wait for something?  Is there anything you are still waiting for?  Are you asking God to do something and are waiting for Him to answer?  Are you praying for someone you know to become a Christian and are waiting for that to happen?  Are you praying for God to heal someone you love and you are waiting for God to answer?  Waiting isn’t always easy but if we believe that God hears and answers our prayers we have faith that He will answer.  Sometimes His answer is yes, no or wait.  The answer wait sometimes takes a few days, months or years but God will answer in His own timing.
Let’s turn to Luke 2:22.  Many, many years before Jesus came to earth as a baby, God had given Moses laws for His people to obey.  One of those laws was that any family who had a firstborn son had to take that son and have him dedicated at the temple.  To dedicate someone means to offer him to God.  The parents of the firstborn son had to take an offering with them as they dedicated their son to God in the temple.  The offering needed to be a lamb.  If a family didn’t have enough money to bring a lamb, God allowed them to bring 2 birds called turtledoves.
Mary and Joseph loved and obeyed God so they knew that this baby, the Son of God was now 40 days old and it was time for Him to be dedicated to the Lord.  Mary and Joseph began their travel from Bethlehem to Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, in Jerusalem there is a man named Simeon.  Simeon was a man who loved God.  He lived a life that pleased God.  In the days that Simeon was living not many people heard God’s voice.  It says in Luke that the Holy Spirit was upon Simeon.  (Before Jesus died on the cross and rose again, the Holy Spirit came upon people.  Today the moment a person believes in the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside that person). Simeon listened and obeyed God’s voice.
One day earlier in Simeon’s life God told Simeon that he would not die until he had seen with his own eyes the Promised Christ (the Messiah). (“He would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” Luke 1:26b) We don’t know how old Simeon was when God made a promise to him but the Bible tells us that Simeon believed the promise and waited for the day that God would keep His promise.
This must have been an exciting promise to Simeon.  Each year as he worshiped and served God he must have kept his eyes open for God’s promised Savior. What do you think Simeon imagined the Savior would look like?  As time passed, it may have been hard for Simeon to understand how he would ever live to see the Savior because as the years passed he was not getting any younger.  In Hebrews 11:1 God’s Word tells us that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Even though Simeon could not see or understand how he would see the Savior he believed God would do what He said.
One day as Simeon was going about his day the Holy Spirit told him to go to the temple.  Simeon may have been busy doing things he wanted to do but he chose to listen to God’s voice and obeyed.  He went to the temple and went inside.
When Simeon arrived at the temple he saw a young woman holding a baby in her arms and her husband standing with her.  God’s Spirit told Simeon that this baby was the Promised Savior.  Immediately, Simeon went to Mary and reached out to hold her baby boy.  He held him in his arms and began to praise God.  Listen to what Simeon said:  “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation.”
Mary and Joseph were amazed at Simeon’s praises to God.  He was thanking God for sending the Savior and allowing him to see Him before he died.
Simeon spoke words of blessing to Mary and Joseph about this Child’s future.
As Simeon was praising God and blessing Mary and Joseph there was another person in the temple that day.  Her name was Anna.  Anna was a widow.  Anna had been married for 7 years and her husband died.  After her husband died she began serving God in the temple.  She was now 84 and was known as a prophetess.  She stayed in the temple praying and fasting every day and night.  Because she had a close relationship with the Lord, she knew that God had promised a Savior and as she heard Simeon’s praises she came to see what was going on.
As soon as she saw the Child she immediately thanked the Lord for sending the Savior who was going to take away the sins of the world. After she saw the Savior she spread the news to all who were looking for God’s promised Savior.
Simeon and Anna saw and believed that Jesus was God’s promised Savior.  They chose to praise and thank Him for allowing them to see His Promise come true.
Today we have God’s Word that teaches us about His promise to send the Savior and how His promises came true.  The Bible gives us the rest of the story of this baby.  Jesus grew up and lived a perfect life obeying God’s laws.  He died on the cross for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day.  When a person believes by faith that Jesus died in his/her place their sins are forgiven.
Just as Simeon had faith that God would keep His promise that he would see the Savior before he died we have faith that what Jesus did to save us from our sins over 2000 years ago is true.  None of us were living when Jesus did this for us.  We believe it even though we didn’t see it. Once we believe by faith that Jesus is our Savior we need to live our lives day by day by faith.  We need to read and obey God’s Word so we can know how to live and trust His promises even when we don’t understand.
Did you know that if you are a follower of Christ we are waiting for something God has promised but has not happened yet?  God has promised that one day Jesus is going to come back and take all who believe in Him back with Him to heaven.  After He does that all of those who did not believe in Him and have their sins forgiven will be left on this earth to face very terrible punishment from God. Once Jesus punishes the unbelievers for rejecting His salvation He is going to rule as the King over all the earth.
This is an exciting promise for those who believe in Jesus because at any moment believers could hear the trumpet of God and in a twinkling of an eye go up to meet Jesus in the air and live forever with Him. (1 Thess. 4:13-18)
Simeon and Anna both believed that God would send the Savior and waited for Him to keep His promise.  All who believe God’s promise for Jesus’ return believe He will come back one day and are waiting for that promise to come true.  How are you and I going to wait for that promise?  Are we going to live each day of our lives learning more about God by studying and reading our Bibles?  Are we going to pray for our friends and family that don’t believe in Jesus who would be left behind to be punished?  Are we living our lives in a way that is pleasing to God?  If Jesus could come at any moment we should always ask ourselves, is this what I want to be doing if Jesus were to come back right at this moment?
Let’s be like Simeon and Anna and live with an attitude of worship and obeying God every day.  Let’s have an attitude of praising Him and thanking Him for all that He has done and will do for us as we believe Him by faith.  (Hebrews 11:13)
Close in prayer.
Review Questions:

  1. Why did Mary and Joseph have to take Jesus to the temple?
  2. What did God promise Simeon?
  3. How did God keep His promise?
  4. What did Simeon do when he saw Jesus?
  5. Who was Anna?
  6. What did she do when she saw Jesus?
  7. What do we need to believe by faith?
  8. How should we live our lives as we wait for God’s promises?

Image courtesy of Sweet Publishing and Distant Shores Media

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