Discovering Jesus Part 2 – Anna the Prophetess

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. (Luke 2:21-39)

In our last post we began a series of posts focused on discovering Jesus in the Bible. We looked at the account of Jesus’ dedication at the temple of Jerusalem. Our first post closed with Simeon prophesying over Jesus. We will pick up in Luke 2 with the entrance of the prophetess Anna.

Anna was the daughter of Phanuel. Phanuel means the face of God which is interesting because his daughter spent her lifetime serving God. She was a member of the tribe of Aser. The women from her tribe were known for their talent and beauty.

Anna was of great age. Many commentators estimate her age at around 84. Some commentators put her age at 104 based on the age she was probable married. Either age would have been unusual because people did not live into their 80s during the era.

I wonder if Anna lived this long because of her expectation to see the Messiah. Luke tells us that she served God “with prayers and fasting night and day”. We need more people like this today.

She walked in just as Simeon finished and gave thanks to God. Anna knew who the baby was and praised God. The Old Testament was a shadow of things to come. It is filled with prophetic utterance of Jesus’ coming that she was familiar with.

The thing that we are looking at in the account of Simeon and Anna is that they knew the prophecies regarding the coming Messiah. They knew what the prophets had said about Jesus. My goal for this series of posts is to spend time looking at these prophecies to become more familiar with the Savior whose birth we celebrate in this Christmas season.

In the next post we will begin by looking a the ministry of the prophet with a goal of determining their role in preparing the way for Jesus’ entrance into the earth.

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