2023 Advent Devotional - Luke 2:36-38 (Day 28)

The Prophetess Anna
Luke 2:36-38 “And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. “

In three verses, we discover all that scripture records of the Prophetess Anna.  We know her lineage, her tribe and we have a few details about her life.  She was married for seven years.  After her husband passed away, she dedicated her life to seeking and serving God in the temple.  She had a reputation for worshiping with the spiritual disciplines of fasting and for prayer.  She did this night and day in the temple.  While we don’t know exactly her age, scripture does say that she was “advanced in years”.  So that probably means that after the death of her husband she spend decades in the temple.  What does this brief description tell us about Anna?  She was focused.  She was dedicated.  She was a woman of faith.  And, she was a woman who heard from God.  When Joseph and Mary brought Jesus into the temple that day, clearly the Holy Spirit spoke to her.  Clearly the Holy Spirit pointed out THIS family in the midst of undoubtedly many families who were also there to offer the offerings required after having a child.  Clearly, Anna was listening and when the Holy Spirit spoke to her about Jesus as Messiah, she moved towards Him.  Imagine, all those decades of waiting for Messiah to come.  Imagine the Spirit, Who she had come to know through worship, fasting and prayer speaking to her, “this is He”!  Imagine the joy in her heart when she saw….Him!  We know there was something like this going on because the text says: “she began to give thanks to God AND to speak of Him to ALL who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem” (v. 38).  So, by faith, Anna did two things.  First, she “gave thanks to God”.  But thanks for what?  Thanks for her Redeemer Jesus!  And second, she began to prophesy to others about Him.  This is why she’s one of only five “prophetess’” mentioned in the Bible!  A prophet(ess) is someone who speaks “forth” God’s Word.  Here in this case Anna proclaimed Jesus as the promised Redeemer….the Messiah….the ONE given by God, Who would “redeem” or buy back the world from sin, the fear of death and the evil one.  In short, this was the child promised in Genesis 3, who would “crush” the “head” of the evil one and reverse the curse.  This was the “Lamb of God Who would take away the sins of the world”- John 1:29.  This was God’s GREATEST Gift!  And she was the second of the “two witnesses” that day that prophetically proclaimed…introduced God’s Gift…Jesus, to the world!  So, how might YOU join Anna in telling others about God’s Gift?  May SHE inspire and instruct you as you receive the Gift of Jesus and may you follow her beautiful example in your life!

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the prophetess Anna.  We thank you for her example to us of focus, dedication, discipline and obedience.  Help us to imitate her love for You.  Help us to hear and see and proclaim Jesus to those around us.  And help us to glorify the Gift You’ve given FOR us and TO us…Jesus!  It’s in His Name we pray.  Amen - By Pastor Tim
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