Saturday (December 30): "Anna recognized the coming of Christ and gave thanks to God"
Scripture: Luke 2:36-40
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, 37 and as a widow till 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 gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39 And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
Meditation: Where do you place your trust and hope for a
life of peace, freedom and happiness? Scripture tells us that
those who place their trust in God will not be disappointed
(Isaiah 49:23, Psalm 62:8, Proverbs 3:5-6). In every age, God has
placed in the hearts of his people, from the descendants of Adam,
Noah, Abraham, the prophets, and King David, a longing and a hope
for a Redeemer who will bring us God's kingdom of peace, joy, and
righteousness. We see the great unfolding of God's plan of
redemption in the birth of Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of
God before all ages, who became a man to redeem his people from
sin and oppression.
The long expected newborn Messiah is presented in the
Temple at Jerusalem
Luke the Evangelist records the coming of the Christ child (God's Anointed Messiah) to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth in Bethlehem (Luke 2:22-24). Joseph and Mary brought the child Jesus with them to the temple to fulfill the Jewish ceremony, recorded in the law of Moses, for the "redemption of the firstborn child" (Exodus 3:2) and the ritual purification of the mother after childbirth (Leviticus 12:2-8). As Joseph and Mary presented their offering and dedicated the child Jesus in the temple, Anna, a godly woman of great age (84 years) who was filled with the Holy Spirit immediately recognized that this child was the promised Messiah and heir to the throne of David. She publicly "gave thanks to God and spoke of him [who is the Christ - the Anointed Messiah] to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem" (Luke 2:38).
Anna's persevering hope and reward of seeing Christ face to
What is the significance of Anna's witness and prophetic proclamation of the Messiah's coming to his temple? Luke calls Anna a prophetess because she had dedicated her life to the service of God's word through prayer and fasting. Like Simeon (Luke 2:25-35) and all the prophets of the Old Testament, she was attentive to God's word and she spoke prophetically - under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit - to others of God's plan of salvation for his people. She spent her days in the house of the Lord (the Temple) where she offered up daily prayers and intercession for her people.
Anna did not grow weary of placing her trust in God and his
promises. Here hope and trust in God did not waver but grew with
age.What enabled Anna to persevere for so many years and through
difficult times, such as the loss of her husband, and through the
trials of advancing old age? She never ceased to give thanks to
God each and every day. She worshiped God in daily prayer, and
with fasting and intercession on behalf of her people. And she
never ceased to cling to God's word and to speak of his word to
others to bring them encouragement and hope. She believed with
hopeful expectation that she would one day see her Lord and
Redeemer face to face. Anna is a model of persevering faith and
hope to all who hunger for God and for his saving word.
The reward of seeking God's kingdom first
Is there anything holding you back from giving God your unqualified yes to his will and plan for your life? Allow the Lord Jesus to flood your heart with his peace, joy, and love. And offer to God everything you have and desire - your life, family, friends, health, and provision for the future. If you seek his kingdom first (Matthew 6:33), he will give you everything you need to know, love, and serve him now and to enjoy him forever in his everlasting kingdom of joy and peace.
7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the
peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and
8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts.
9 Worship the LORD in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, "The LORD is king! The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity."
"Anna, who, by reason of her years of widowhood and her virtues,
is set before us as wholly worthy of belief, announces that the
Redeemer of all people has come... Not without purpose, however,
does he make mention of the eighty-four years of her widowhood,
because both the seven twelves and the two forties seemed to imply
a number that is sacred." (excerpt from EXPOSITION
OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 2.62)
Scripture quotations from Common Bible:
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright
1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the
Division of Christian Education of the National
Council of the Churches of Christ in the United
States of America. Used by permission. All rights
reserved. Citation references for quotes from
the writings of the early church fathers can be
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