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. 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.
Anna, whose name means “grace” or “gracious,” was a widow, a prayer warrior, a servant, an eye- witness and an evangelist. She was a prophetess, which meant she had a special gift of declaring and interpreting God’s message. She devoted much of her life to God. I would say that Anna was truly a “living sacrifice.” Yet, she is only briefly mentioned in three verses in the Bible.
Following her husband’s death after only a few short years of marriage, Anna moved from the tribe of Asher to the temple, remaining in the temple—waiting, yearning, longing for the appearance of God’s promised Messiah. Anna devoted herself to serving God by worship through fasting and prayers. Anna’s vocation was one of prayer.
Think about it! Some would say she had a “dull life”—repetitive, loss of self-interests, absorbed continuously in only what God would make known to her, no distractions, probably in some quiet corner, surrounded by priests and Levites, all men, and maybe an occasional family who came to dedicate their child. It reminds me of another woman I admire, Mother Teresa.
But God’s timing is always perfect! It was not by chance that Anna came up just as Simeon was praising the Lord for the Child Jesus! Immediately, she joined in the song of praise. I can imagine she danced a bit in all the excitement. It must have been a magnificent sight and glorious sound to see and hear these two elderly people singing in the temple!
But Anna did so much more than sing. She was moved to action! She immediately went out to spread the Good News to others who were waiting for the redemption of Israel. They, too, joined in the excitement as they moved about sharing the Good News of a Savior.
Anna’s life was committed to serving God and seeking Him. When she came to the understanding of the long-awaited Messiah, she was moved to share the Good News so that others would behold Him, too. Oh, that God would raise up more Annas in this world!
- Does the longing in your heart find its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus?
- He has come and He is coming again!
- That is Good News and worth sharing with others!