Waiting with Expectancy
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout… It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Luke 2:25, 26 NIV
Jesus was born seven hundred years after Isaiah foretold the prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. Wow, that’s a long time—700 years! I don’t know about you, but I’m not very patient.
Luke, however, tells us of two people who lived their lives waiting with expectancy for the coming of the Messiah who would one day redeem Israel.
One of them is a man by the name of Simeon. Simeon is described as a righteous and devout man, who was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Messiah to come and save Israel. The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that “he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.” (See Luke 2:6-27)
We meet Simeon for the first time outside the temple. Jesus is brought to the temple by Mary and Joseph for His circumcision ceremony. Simeon felt prompted to go to the temple as they were preparing to dedicate their eight-day-old son to God. (Luke 2:27 NIV)
There, at the temple courts, Simeon saw the promised Messiah.
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation.” (Luke 2:29-30 NIV)
What does it mean to wait with expectation?
According to Boyd Bailey, to wait with expectancy means: “We don’t fret or wait fearfully. Instead, we wait, expecting God to engage in our world while faith fills our soul with expectation.” (Bailey, 2010, para. 2)
For Simeon, it was not a question of whether it would happen but when it would happen. He patiently awaited the coming of the Messiah because he was confident that God would keep His word.
God never revealed the day or hour to Simeon. Only that he would see the Messiah before he died. With the knowledge that one day we would see the Messiah, how many of us would have clung to this promise and remained faithful throughout every season of our lives? I doubt I could have done it.
Luke also mentioned another faithful person who eagerly waited to see the promised Messiah. Her name was Anna. She was “the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day.” (Luke 2:36-38 NIV)
When Jesus was being presented at the temple, Anna saw the young couple carrying their baby. She hurried over to them and realized the baby Mary was holding was the One for whom she had been praying and waiting. He was the Messiah.
“She gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:38)
Friends, I want to be like Simeon and Anna, who eagerly awaited the Messiah’s coming. They didn’t just believe; they knew God’s promise to their ancestors was true. They had a Biblical Hope.
Max Lucado states, “Biblical Hope is the confident expectation that something good is ahead. But since it is not there, we must stay alert because hope pays attention. And one day, hope pays off. Then, all the waiting gives away to wonder.” (Lucado, p. 1465 )
Let us wait with expectancy for the second coming of the Lord, and while we wait, let us share the good news of God’s gift with others and tell them how much our life has changed because of His Grace and mercy.
Lord, thank you for reminding me of what it means to wait patiently for the day I will see you face to face. Please help me to be proactive and not passive in waiting. Please help me to keep my eyes on You and continue running my race. “You will keep in perfect peace, all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)
- Holy Bible New Living Translation, 2015 Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
- Bailey, Boyd. Wait In Expectation. Wisdom Hunters. May 13, 2010 wisdomhunters.com/wait-in-expectation
- The Lucado Encouraging Word Bible, New International Version, Max Lucado, gen. ed., Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2020