So glad you are joining us for 31 Days of Fasting in January! You can catch up on posts you have missed here. Be blessed and feel free to message me with any questions.
“And there was one Anna, a prophetess…she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” Luke 2:36-37.
The story of Anna, the prophetess, as found in the Gospel of Luke, is fascinating on so many levels. Let me introduce this amazing lady to you.
Anna was old. The Bible tells us she had been married for seven years and then widowed. Then, it is a little difficult to decipher whether she has been a widow for 84 years or she is 84 years old when we encounter her in Luke 2.
If it is the former, then she is around 105, which would not be out of the question, and many scholars agree this could be the case. She could have married at age 14, a very common age back then, become a widow at 21, and then we come upon her at the temple 84 years later, at the ripe old age of 105.
This lovely lady serves in the temple, night and day. The Word even tells us she doesn’t leave! She is the only woman mentioned in the New Testament as being a prophetess. (Phillip’s daughters are said to have prophesied as well but not actually taking on the title. Acts 21:9.) She is highly honored in this regard as someone who can touch the throne of heaven with her prayers.
What is her significance here today?
Joseph and Mary have brought Jesus to Jerusalem to “…present him to the Lord…” Luke 2:22. As was the custom in those days, every Jewish male baby had to be brought and a sacrifice made to the Lord; a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
The parents of Jesus first encounter Simeon when they arrive at the temple. “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.”
“Waiting for the consolation of Israel”…what does that mean? The same word used here for consolation is the same word Jesus used later when He describes the Holy Spirit as the Comforter. The word is paraklesis and it means “one who comes alongside to help, one who pleads a cause…”
So, Simeon was waiting for the Comforter; he was waiting for the Messiah! And when Mary and Joseph handed the child, Jesus, to him the Bible says, “Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”
The Comforter, the Consolation, the Messiah, had come; as far as Simeon was concerned, he could die in peace.What he had been working for, waiting for and living his entire life telling others about, had finally arrived.
Then, they encounter Anna who had spent her time much like Simeon, fasting, praying and telling everyone she could about the One who was to come. She sees Joseph, Mary and Jesus with Simeon and this is what the Bible has to say about their meeting:
“And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” Luke 2:38.
Look closely, or you will miss it. She comes up…she is not introduced. But immediately, in that instant, she gives thanks, she begins to give God praise! She doesn’t hesitate for one moment to tell everyone there that this is the REDEMPTION of Jerusalem!
How did Anna know? Because she fasted, she prayed, daily. She spent time with God, she knew Him and she was waiting for the promise.
She recognized Him when He came.
Will you know Him?
Will you recognize Him in an instant?
We must KNOW Him! And like Anna, we must spend our days in relationship with Jesus Christ. We cannot afford any less than to love Him, to delve deep into the Word and into prayer and fasting. To deny our flesh the pleasures of this world and realize that these things WILL PASS AWAY! We will not be taking them with us!
Only what is done for Christ will last. Only reaching for the lost will be what really matters in the end. We will be so glad we spent our time on things eternal.
Reach out to Him today…He is waiting for you!
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