A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Monday, December 28, 2020
"A Lesson From Anna"
Message summary: Today let us recognize the full redemptive scope of the mission of the baby that Anna encountered and wholeheartedly worship and serve Him today.
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"There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them [Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus] at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem" (Luke 2:36-38).
There's a tendency during the Christmas season to consider the events leading up to the birth of Christ but following Christmas Day we tend to move on especially since we begin making considerations for the new year. But several events in the Christmas story took place following Christ's birth, especially the encounter with Simeon and Anna.
My (Stephen's) first recollection of a person with the name Anna was my grandpa’s older sister whom we all called Aunt Anna. She lived in the tiny town of Harwood, Missouri and although I don’t remember much about her, I recall to this day that she was famous for her delicious sugar cookies, enjoyed by any who were privileged to receive them. I’ve known several other Annas since that time including my cousin Anna Lee and our good friend Anna Ruth, but my Aunt Anna most aligns with the description of Anna in today’s passage, since I only remember her as an older widow in her eighties.
Today we will study the only Anna referred to in the Bible. Anna is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Hannah, both of which mean "grace".
Anna was the second of two faithful believers who, along with Simeon, encountered the Messiah after His birth at His consecration in the temple. Married only seven years she then became a widow and never remarried. She could have been a bitter person but Luke described Anna as an 84 year old prophetess who had fully dedicated her life to God, who "never left the temple, but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying".
From Luke's description it sounds like Anna didn't take a personal day off in her ministerial role at the temple. She must have been an interesting person! Somehow when I read this description I form a mental image of her as possibly a rather eccentric woman, perhaps a charismatic sort of personality. Over the years I have learned to value the various contributions many types of believers make to the Body of Christ.
She first "gave thanks to God" as she encountered the holy family. Apparently she was in such rich communion with God that she knew this was no ordinary family or baby. She also may have witnessed the exchange that had just taken place with Simeon recorded in the previous portion of Scripture.
She then "spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem". The specific content of her words are not recorded for us, but relate to our Lord’s redemptive work. Like Simeon, it is doubtful that Anna lived to see Christ’s redemptive work on the Cross.
Today let us, like Anna, also thank God for the gift of His Son and let us faithfully speak “about the child” who became the Savior of the world. As we focus on the wonder of the Christmas story, remember, this Baby was born to die for our sins. Let us recognize the full redemptive scope of the mission of the baby that Anna encountered and wholeheartedly worship and serve Him today.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we read of the aged widow and prophetess, Anna, who praised You in the temple upon the blessed arrival of the Christ Child. She was satisfied and overjoyed that prophecy was now fulfilled making the future brighter than ever. As Anna met up with the couple holding the Christ Child, she gave thanks and spoke about the Child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. She is an inspiring example to believers that we need to share the redemption story with all who are without Christ so that they too can thoroughly enjoy the full scope of His redemption. Freely we have received, now let us freely give in the matchless name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Brooksyne’s Note: One of the things I enjoy about the study of Anna is that her story reminds me of how people of all ages were touched by the Christmas story. From the tiny Baby in the manger, the young virgin and her youthful husband, the shepherds and wisemen representing men of various ages, to Elizabeth and Zechariah who were beyond child bearing years, and then Anna and Simeon who were nearing the century mark. The angels bearing the good news also represented the eternal aspect of our miraculous Christmas story. How wonderful that people of all ages, the very young and the very old, are all included in the full scope of Christ’s redemption plan.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
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