My latest guest post on the Political Theology blog was posted a couple of days ago. This week, I discuss Luke’s account of the meeting with Simeon and Anna in the temple:
Christians are often inclined to downplay the political significance of Jesus’ advent. We so stress the discontinuity between Israel’s expectations of a political Messiah and God’s gift of his Son, who lays down his life, that the notion of Jesus as the fulfilment of Israel’s politically-charged expectation can become for us a matter of some embarrassment. This supposed discontinuity establishes a breach between old and new covenants and between Israel, who first received the promises, and the Church, who proclaims the dawn of their fulfilment in Jesus of Nazareth.
It is noteworthy that our embarrassment in this area does not appear to be shared by the evangelist. Far from awkwardly registering a clumsy shift of gears in God’s redemptive purposes, Luke is concerned that his readers recognize Jesus as the true fulfilment of the old covenant expectation of men and women such as Elizabeth and Zechariah or Anna and Simeon and that they see the same Spirit who inspired old covenant prophecy in Israel to be the one who orchestrates the advent of Jesus. Although the politically-freighted expectation of Israel receives a surprising fulfilment in Jesus, it is neither an unfitting nor an apolitical one. For the prophetess Anna, Jesus truly is the answer to Jerusalem’s desire for redemption.
Read the whole piece here.