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


Luke 2:25-38


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.