Luke 2:21–39 (NKJV)
21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.Luke 2:21-24
22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Being a devoted Jewish family, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple on the 8th day to have Him circumcised. At that time, the families would announce the name of the child, and they–of course–named Him Jesus. This gives Jesus the same impeccable credentials as a proper Jewish boy as possessed John as well. Mary served a period of purification for 7 days as unclean, then continued for an additional 33 days of purification after the circumcision. After that, she was able to enter the temple to present Jesus to the Lord on the fortieth day of His life. He was the firstborn, and–as such–He was to be presented to the Lord and then offer a sacrifice in His stead.
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”Luke 2:25-35
The first witness to the role of Christ in salvation history is a man named Simeon. He had been given a promise by the Holy Spirit that he would see the Messiah before he died. He was led by the Holy Spirit into the temple at just the right time, and He blessed Jesus and announced that the prophetic word to him was fulfilled in the Christ. He even goes so far as to declare that this baby would bring salvation to all people, not just the Jews. Jesus parents marveled at what was said, and he continued by blessing the family and prophesying further that Jesus would be instrumental in the rise and fall of leaders and that sorrow would be brought to this family for the cause of redemption.
36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. 39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.Luke 2:36-39
The second witness to Jesus’ purpose was Anna, a prophetess. She was made a widow at a young age, and had served in the temple for 84 years. She was spiritual, engaging in prayer and fasting regularly. She gave thanks and declared Jesus purpose for redemption in Jerusalem. After these blessings, Mary and Joseph returned to Galilee with Jesus, rearing Him there. These two witnesses would be a tent pole, a touchstone, for the parents of the Christ for years to come as they followed the plan of God for their baby boy, the Messiah.