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Friday, December 15, 2017

Saturday Sermonette - Who Was Anna?

Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38, NKJV.

This short paragraph doesn't tell us a lot about this senior citizen. All it says is that she stayed in the temple, prayed a lot, and that she showed up when Jesus was presented at the temple, probably for circumcision.

When Jewish boys were eight days old, they underwent circumcision. It was a religious ceremony. Oddly enough, I have heard and read many health professionals' recommendations for the procedure, and a doctor's book (None of These Diseases) said it was pretty neat that God told the Jews to do it on the eighth day after birth--the day that just happens to be the day when Vitamin K, the clotting vitamin, is the most abundant in a baby's system.

But that's beside the point. Sorry--that was a rabbit I had the urge to chase. 😊

Back to Anna. There aren't many female prophetesses mentioned in the Bible, but Anna was one. She "just happened" to be in the right place at the right time, and she got to see the King of Kings. Eighty-four (estimated age) might not be considered at death's door now, but back in Jesus's time, this was a rare age for anyone. Half that would have been more of a normal lifespan. She had to have been still young when she was widowed. Jewish girls then usually married when they were young teens, and she'd only been married seven years.

I wonder where she lived. I thought she might have actually lived in the temple, but that might have been a stretch. Usually young widows would go back to live at her parent's home, or if the husband's family really liked her, maybe she would have lived there. One of the Jewish rules was that the deceased husband's brothers were supposed to marry the widow and produce a son to carry on the first husband's inheritance, but maybe she had a son already. Whatever, she either lived in or near the temple and spent her waking hours there. I'm thinking she probably prayed for a lot of visitors there.

And then she saw Jesus and His family. Maybe she had been with Simeon, the other prophet who spoke to the holy family. Maybe she heard what Simeon had said to them. Whatever, she knew Who this Baby was. What a blessing, not only for the family, but for Anna. I'll bet she glowed the rest of the day, and I'll bet she told every one willing to listen Who she had seen.

Seems to me that day probably sparkled in a lot of minds that day. It still stirs me, I know. Does it light up your life too?

Lord, Your blessings never end. What a wonder You are! Amen.