Luke indicated in 2:22-23 that Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus went to the temple to offer a sacrifice for their new born son and for Mary’s purification. Law required that she wait 40 days after giving birth to a son to enter the temple and had to offer a sacrifice for her purification. This was an important event as they were consecrating, dedicating their new born son to God. All firstborn be it animals or people were to be dedicated to the Lord. During this event, they first met Simeon who had been told by the Lord that before he died he would see his Lord and Savior. He trusted God and believed God’s Words that he would indeed see his savior. He knew God to be a promise keeping God.
After their encounter with Simeon and hearing his prophesy, they encountered Anna a prophetess.
Luke 2:36-38 “There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them 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.
Doing the math, she was over 91 years old and since the temple was very large, she lived their daily spending her time worshipping and praying. Being a prophetess, she would have received prophesies from the Lord. Other such women in the Bible were Miriam, Moses’ sister, Deborah the fearless leader during the time of the Judges, Huldah, Hannah and the daughters of Philip. Anna’s encounter with Jesus, Mary and Joseph was brief but revealing as God showed her the one who would redeem the Jews.
What can we learn from Anna and her encounter with Jesus? God knew the exact time in history that His Son would be revealed to the world. He placed Simeon and Anna there at that moment to confirm for us that Jesus was His Son and had a divine purpose. He was not a random child of Jewish parents but God’s Son. He was the one through whom God would redeem all mankind. God chose devoted followers to speak of Jesus’ coming work in the world. They were elders, revered and respected for their lifestyle, devotion to God and their ability to speak prophetic words from God. Their appearance in the life Jesus was confirming for Mary and Joseph and showed how much God loved them. God wanted them to know, along with Anna and Simeon, that Jesus was His Son and they were a part of His story. God graciously included them in His work to save mankind.
How is God including you in His work? Has He given you people to tell of His wonders and grace? I like to think of these as God opportunities or God moments. Has He given you people to serve and help so that they may see Him in and through what you are doing? Has God called you to stand firmly for Him and wait patiently like He did Anna and Simeon? What ever God has for you in the New Year, embrace it, claim His promises, and cling to Jesus daily so that His work may be accomplished through you. You will be blessed. Remember, Obedience brings blessing. 2 John 1:16 “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”
Make 2023 a year of obedience and love as you seek to walk with Him daily.