“…She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fastings and prayers.” Luke 2:36-37 (The Message)
Anna is a beautiful picture of faithfulness. It cannot be said enough, the Bible was written during a time when women were oppressed. And what Christ did for us was so powerful – he was such a revolutionary – it literally changed how the writers of scripture told their stories compared to other writers of that time. The Holy Spirit influenced the writers of the Old Testament as well but as we will see for these women alive during the time of Christ’s life and after his resurrection, Christ completely changed the course of history for women. He made them disciples and empowered them to make disciples too.
Anna is the name of the very first female missionary in history. She, no doubt, hears Simeon exclaiming over a baby in the temple and immediately understands this baby to be the messiah she has been waiting for. She was a prophetess. Recently I was in a class at my home church and read a definition of prophesy that provides great clarity regarding what a prophet does in the church:
The gift of prophecy is the divine strength or ability to boldly speak and bring clarity to Scriptural and doctrinal truth, in some cases foretelling God’s plan.
I have always thought of prophets as being people who ONLY foretold God’s plan. But this definition is backed up by Scripture. Anna was given divine strength to boldly speak and bring clarity to Scripture. She knew the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus because she had been hearing the prophesy for 84 years! God honors her faithful service to him by allowing her to meet the savior she had been waiting for.
When Anna said yes to her husband as a young girl she said yes to Jesus as well. She had every right to remarry having lost her husband at such a young age. But she chose to trust God completely and didn’t give in to the weakness of her flesh. What a beautiful bride! Anna no doubt missed her husband but this woman lived a life of security in her identity as the Bride of Christ before Jesus was born! She knew he was coming! There is no greater way to honor your husband than to let him go into the arms of Jesus spiritually and follow him physically by remaining faithful to him for the rest of your days. She believed death would ultimately and forever be defeated and because she believed that, “till death do us part” meant forever. Anna didn’t believe death would have the final victory over her husband, over her own self, or over Jesus. This love for her husband was a result of her love for Christ first and foremost and it secured her confidence to remain a widow. The last we read of Anna tells us what we all must do to have a heart like hers for Jesus: “… she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him (Jesus) to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” Luke 2:38
She had her eyes fixed on The Groom… let’s do the same!