Google+ 12/31/12 Don't Forget Anna!

Luke 2:36-40

 

Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple.

She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old.

Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 

Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. 

She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.

She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God.

She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.

When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord,

They returned home to Nazareth in Galilee.  There the child grew up healthy and strong.

He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him. 

 

Today we conclude our four-part devotion on Simeon and Anna.  I have taken the last four days to write about this, as there are so many things for us to learn from these two faithful souls.  The time between Christmas and Epiphany is usually a struggle for Christians.  It is important to study and determine what Mary and Joseph were doing during this time, so that we know what to do.  Our Scripture today describes the female part of our "dynamic duo!"  It is important that we all hear what the Bible says about Anna.  Luke calls her a prophet (in the original Bible language she was actually called a prophetess).  Anna was a lady with unusual commitment and was blessed by God with special spiritual insight.  Hold on.  Stop the presses.  God blessed woman with exceptional, spiritual insight?  Yes, and He still does.  Remember Pilate's wife who is not even named?  She was the one who interpreted Pilate's dream.  She told him to have nothing to do with Jesus.  Pilate should have listened!  There has been an unwritten assumption in Christian circles that women do not possess these kinds of abilities.  That is simply not true.  As men, God calls us to discern if this "special spiritual insight" is of God or Satan.  As we know, both God and Satan visit women and the results of their influences are very different!  In this case, Anna's ability was very real and of God.  She was from the tribe of Asher.  She was a widow, only enjoying 7 years of marriage.  She had reached the age of 84.  Get ready.  Here is the major point.  She had not departed the temple.  She continued to serve the Lord day and night with fasting and prayer, even though she lost her husband at a very early age.  How was she able to do that?  Because the elders of the temple did what the Bible said to do.  They took care of the widows and orphans.  They fed her, gave her a place to stay, and kept her safe.  She was then able to become a constant prayer warrior.  And who was at the temple ready to lift up Jesus when Simeon, Mary and Joseph arrived?  You guessed it, Anna was on duty.   Look out, here we go again with Bible truth!  She was an evangelist.  Yes, I used that word again.  The Scripture says that she told everyone that had been expecting the birth of Jesus the "Good News."  Notice the little words and don't miss them.  She told "everyone who had been waiting expectantly."  Not everyone!  Now, John the Baptist should make sense to you.  John the Baptist announced the coming of Christ and all of advent was about preparing for Jesus' arrival.  In our Scripture today, Anna answers the call and spreads the word to all that have been preparing and waiting.  Frankly, everyone else simply didn't care or were threatened!  Our Scripture ends with more obedience from Mary and Joseph.  After they had completed their "parental duties," they departed and headed back to Nazareth, which was their home.  The Scripture tells us that Jesus was full of wisdom, grew up healthy, and was favored by God.  All of us have the potential to be Simeon and Anna.  How do we get there?  Listen and obey.  Find a way to say yes to God everyday.  Discern His will in your life.  Then, go to the temple.  Pray and praise daily.  Don't stop.  While you are in the temple, God will present Jesus to you.  Talk to God and Jesus.  Acknowledge that you know who they are.  Then, go tell everyone who has been preparing and waiting for Jesus, that He is here, and alive and well.  Take care of our widows and orphans.  We need them to grow in Christ and become our prayer warriors, day and night.  All you potential "Simeons" out there, please heed this warning.  Follow and obey, but most of all, don't forget Anna!