One of my favourite passages is Luke 2. We see behind the scenes preparation going on. I remember that in 1994 I had recently arrived back in Nottingham.
I had had a intense 2 years in the Forest of Dean which ended abruptly. God had His Designs to bring me into rest with some very good friends like Ray and Yorrie and Eirian.
Yorrie and Eirian are with the Lord now. But were a massive influence in my Ministry. I was preparing to go with them to Dundee in Scotland. They were going to see their daughter in a remote place there. We were invited to preach. Me in the morning and Yorrie at night.
The message was Luke 2 and it was a rich revelation in how God prepares for revival of repentance. Yorrie got up after the message saying in the classic Welsh tones that I had preached his message. Very precious memory associated to this message.
The first thing we note about Luke 2 was a hope planted in people’s hearts about the “Consolation of Israel.” There were two things happening. People met together to pray. Prayer had come back. People were sharing what God had put into their hearts.
Luke zones in on two people: Simeon and Anna. Simeon was full of the Spirit, led of the Spirit, and it was revealed to him by the Spirit. I had done a series on this in a small Church in Valongo in Portugal in 2003 how the Spirit always leads us to Jesus. Hence any true revival comes when Jesus is in His Rightful Place.
The Holy Spirit prepares Simeon and shows to him revelation of His ways and what He was about to do. The answer would come in the form that many would miss: a baby.
The focus is the Temple. It is here that it seems that a parallel movement is born. It does not direspect the faith of the day but it recognised that something new was about to take place.
Simeon receives a promise from the Spirit that he was not going to die…and I want to stop right there. The promise of God to us cannot be the acquisition of this or that material good or Ministry. Rather the promise is the fulfilment of God’s purpose in Simeon’s day and he was to touch the very thing God was doing.
God wants you to live until you touch and speak of those carrying the birthing of Jesus in this generation. Once you lose the sense of promise and purpose you die. Caleb took his mountain at 85. He had the same strength at 85 than when he was 45. Where was the strength? It was in the promise.
Abraham lived in the promise. That promise sustained him. What is sustaining you?
Simeon was trained and prepared to recognise the leading of the Spirit. This reminds me of David Wilkerson who wrote Beyond Cross and the Switchblade who tells of the success that the first book had, and the work in Brooklyn. How he was now on TV. The Holy Spirit began to show him how far he was straying. The Holy Spirit trained him how to be lead moment by moment.
That means doing things that God leads you to do in any given moment. To go where He leads whenever. It may mean getting people around you to understand that God is a God who works everyday and not just in a Sunday meeting.
So once we become sensitive to that leading and recognising it you qualify for the day when you will be in the right place in the right time when Jesus turns up.
It means that we know (yadah) what Jesus is coming to do and what form He will come. Here He came as a babe. But what form will He come today? We know because the leading of the Spirit gives us the ability to interpret the kairos times of God.
Whatever the kairos will be will determine what form Jesus will come.
And right there Anna with more than half a century in prayer and fasting also came into the place in which Jesus was presented and knew who He was. She recognised. Now all that prayer and fasting prepared her. For Simeon all we know is the Holy Spirit leading and speaking. Each person has their own preparation. That is not to say that prayer and waiting in God does not come into it. You need to know what you are to do; and how you are to prepare.
Without preparation you will not recognise the move and manifestation of Jesus when He comes.
And that non recognition means you are immediately disqualified.
The priests who dedicated Jesus did not see…they were not part of what Jesus came to do.
Simeon and Anna had much to say. They saw what Old Testament prophets did not see. They saw the mysteries which were for the confounding and downfall of many. Those who knew God would pull through.
The men of Luke 24 on the way to Emmaus did recognise partially but once the Word was opened to them by a “Jesus” they had yet to recognise Him not just as Prophet but as Lord. When their eyes were supernaturally opened they knew Him intimately. They came into yadah.
So revival is not just a moment but a preparation and a process which prayer and commitment plays a part.