About 40 days after the birth of Jesus, it was time for Joseph and Mary to perform the ceremony of purification, as prescribed in the Law of Moses (15). So they took their baby to Jerusalem to present him to God & to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God — because God’s law says: “Every first-born male is to be dedicated to God.”
At that time there was a man named Simeon living in Jerusalem. He was a good, God-fearing man who was waiting for the promised salvation of Israel. The Holy Spirit of God had assured him that he would not die before he had seen the promised Messiah. Led by the Spirit, Simeon had also come into the temple that day.
When Joseph & Mary brought Jesus into the temple, Simeon took the child in his arms and gave thanks to God:
“Lord, you have kept your promise, and now you can let your servant depart this earthly life in peace. With my own eyes I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all people — a light to reveal your will to the Gentiles (16) and to bring glory to your people Israel.”
Joseph & Mary were amazed at the things Simeon was saying about Jesus. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, “This child has been sent by God to the people of Israel — for the salvation of some and the destruction of others. Many people will reject him, breaking your heart as if pierced by a sword.”
A prophet named Anna, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher, was also there in the temple that day. She had been married for only seven years before her husband had died; now she was a widow past 80 years of age. Anna never left the temple; day & night she worshiped God, fasting & praying. On this day, Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about Jesus to all who were waiting for God to set Jerusalem free.
(15) Luke 2:22-38
(16) The Jews often thought of people in two categories: Jews & Gentiles. Gentiles were simply non-Jews.