Sunday, February 3, 2008

Anna: One of Christs Very First Witnesses

Her name in Hebrew is the same as Hannah, meaning "Grace". The story of Hannah has been special to me ever since I first became a Christian as a teen, admiring how she petitioned God with her whole being, wanting a son so she could dedicate him to be God's servant. Being the kind of woman she was, I imagine that some of that devotion couldn't help but spill into the lives of each of the 5 other children God blessed her with.

I think Hannah is a fitting namesake for Anna, because of her devotion to God as well. My middle name is Ann, and after learning about Hannah and Anna I secretly wished that my name had an "a" on the end like theirs. Because of the devotion I saw in their lives I wanted to feel connected to them in some small way. (I even named one of my many guinea pigs Hannah).

Although everything we can know about Anna is only in 3 verses, Luke 2: 36-38, they are enough to establish her reputation. In the book I am presently reading, Twelve Extraordinary Women, I'm amazed at how much we can glean from those few verses that teach us about Anna. I won't go into that whole profile, but encourage you to read it for yourself.

WE know she had been fasting and praying since she became widowed at least 64 years earlier, and lived in the temple. She was one of only 5 women in the Bible who were referred to as a prophetess, which meant that she was devoted to declaring the truth of God's word, probably using this gift in some kind of instruction or encouragement ministry to the women who came to the temple to worship.
If the believing remnant of Jews were keeping Daniel's timetable in mind, their hearts, as Anna's, should begin to be full of Messianic expectations around this time. On that special day, as she went about her normal routine in the temple, she heard Simeon's joyous blessing on Jesus, the Consolation of Israel. She must not have ever stopped proclaiming the fulfillment of the Messiah's coming because Scripture says she told all who were looking for the Redeemer.

Since she probably died before Jesus began His ministry, that may have been her only glimpse of Him. But she knew He was her Redeemer, and that was enough for her. (1)

1. Twelve Extraordinary Women by J. MacArthur pg 129-140. Nelson Books 2005

1 comment:

ErinOrtlund said...

I have always found the story of Anna and Simeon to be so touching. Michael Card did a wonderful song about them on one of his albums.