Anna, The Worshiper
I wanted to give a little more context to this passage, so I’m adding the first half of what happened first.
When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
-Luke 2:22-35, NIV
Now, we get to the widow of the story…
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, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 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. When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
-Luke 2:36-40, NIV
So, this is very interesting to me. First, a man is mentioned named Simeon, “who was righteous and devout.” The Holy Spirit was on him, it says, and it was also revealed he would not die before seeing the Messiah. Once that moment in time finally came, he (maybe in thanksgiving) said, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.” Then he prophecies to the parents about their son.
Right then, Anna came on the scene. What a gift! Her faithfulness to the temple allowed her to be one of the few to witness the Messiah at that time. She had the revelation as well as Simeon of who they were beholding. She is one of the few woman in the Bible given a name and a title as prophet. The disciples must have wanted to honor her sacrifice and service by mentioning her as much as they did, for she only really made it into a few verses, but they say a lot. “She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.”
Not everyone discerns a prophet when they meet one, but these two faithful ones were seen too. I’m thankful a female widow is mentioned here. She only got seven years with her husband, and from that point on she offered herself as a living sacrifice by daily pursuit in the temple. Her life became a life of worship. All she did was meant to honor her King, and the King honored her by allowing her to be there when His time of purification came. What a day in history to behold! She had to tell everyone. “She gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” When you come in contact with the Savior, your heart can’t help but overflow onto others. This is a sweet story. She lived a long life. She honored the King. She saw Him, and she was in awe of Him.
Yeah, prophets are widows. I like the sound of that. Widows are worshippers. I like the sound of that. And they can encounter the Savior of the world just by showing up. Oh yeah, I like the sound of that too! So, as we finish up the month of July, I hope you can hold your head high knowing that being a widow is a worthy cause. Widows matter in the His-story of life. We matter in His story. We all matter for that matter!! Never despise your piece in the story called life. Seven years is all she got, and then gave the rest of it to her King. I’m in wonder of this widow. Anna was a lifer in her devotion, and for that I feel honored to be a part of her heritage. Amen.
I’m going to continue this Wonder of a Widow series next month by going through all four chapters of the book of Ruth. It’s a fun book to explore, and it has a hallmark ending. So, you don’t want to miss next month’s journey through a story of loss, transition, harvesting, risking and being reassigned, for her son’s bloodline is in the lineage of King David. It’s an epic story. Wonder is all over this story from beginning to end. I didn’t want the book to end really, but four chapters is more than any other widow got, so we will devote the whole month to understanding a little bit more of the bravery of this widow and her mother-in-law Naomi.
Until next time,
Keep gliding 🪁
& Smiling 😁