Verse 37 “…and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
Yesterday we were talking about Simeon and how he acted in faith and hope. Today we see what an active hope looks like. A long-time widow, Anna was very old and yet it says she was worshiping in the Temple day and night. Talk about devotion! Anna was a prophetess in an age where prophets were rare. We also know who her father was and that she was from the tribe of Asher. It could be that after her short marriage she had moved back with her father and that is why she is identified by his name instead of her husband’s name. And knowing she is from the tribe of Asher could be a way of saying she was from the Galilean region.
While all these things tell us more about Anna they don’t tell us the most important thing about her. This is a woman who had worshiped day and night at the Temple for who knows how many years. She was devoted, not to the Temple but to God. She was devoted in prayer and fasting. She walked with God through her life and this day was like any other until this baby showed up. Unlike Simeon who had been led to the Temple that day, Anna was going about her normal day.
Anna lived this life of hope. Not just a hope for the promised Messiah but a hope in God, Himself. Her life hadn’t been easy. To be widowed after only 7 years would have meant she was still young and yet she didn’t remarry. As a widowed woman she would have had a hard life and yet where do we find her? At the Temple worshiping God, fasting and praying. Prayer seems to be our go to in times of trouble but it was Anna’s way of life. She prayed and fasted because her hope was in God. No matter what she was going through she worshiped, fasted and prayed. She knew Who to turn to in life – the Giver of Life.
Anna’s relationship with God was such that when she saw Simeon holding the infant she knew what was happening and Who this infant was. And because of the hope she had in God she knew this hope was not to be kept for herself. The first thing she did was give thanks to God and then she went around telling the good news about Jesus to everyone who was awaiting the coming of the Messiah. She had experienced the fruit of hope and wanted others to enjoy it too.
Making It Personal
If the level of your hope was attached to the level of your living out your faith, how much faith would you have? What needs to happen in your life to raise that level? Do you want to deepen your relationship with God?
Making It Personal Kids
What do you think Anna prayed about all day? Why did she tell others about Jesus? Do you tell others about Jesus?
Father, please help us know how to have the kind of devotion to You Anna had. Give us the courage to tell others of Your Son and His redeeming work. In Jesus’ name, amen.