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Luke 2:25-38 – Simeon’s Prophecy (the Nunc dimittis) and Anna’s Prophecy


The infant Jesus and his parents come to the Jerusalem temple, where they meet Simeon and Anna. These two people praise God for Jesus and explain how the birth of this child is good news for both Jews and Gentiles.


Simeon's statement of praise in vv. 29-32 (often called the Nunc dimittis, the first two words of the Latin translation of his statement) comes in response to seeing the Messiah, something that the Holy Spirit had promised him would happen before his death. As with the other two "canticles" in Luke 1-2 (the Magnificat and the Benedictus), the words of the Nunc dimittis come from numerous passages in the Old Testament.

The Nunc dimittis is forward-looking, describing the story that will unfold in the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, as the story of Jesus proves to be good news for both Jews and Gentiles. The coming of Jesus is the embodiment or the manifestation of the salvation that God provides. After this statement of praise, Simeon tells Mary that struggle and hardship await (vv. 34-35); not all of Israel will accept what God is offering, and Mary herself will experience suffering and grief.

The baby Jesus and his parents also encounter Anna, a woman whom Luke names as a prophet. Anna is deeply pious and she announces that Jesus is pivotal for Jerusalem's redemption.

Luke 2:25-38

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;* this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.* 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon* came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon* took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant* in peace,
   according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,
31   which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
   and for glory to your people Israel.’

33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon* blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

36 There was also a prophet, Anna* the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child* to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

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