(Reading Luke 2:36-39 Amplified)
“Now there was one, Anna a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.”
Anna was identified by two things: her spiritual position – prophetess – and her Hebrew ancestry – the tribe of Asher. Asher was the sixth son of Leah, unloved wife of Jacob. Yet for her this child brought joy, and so she named him Asher, meaning “happy” (Gen. 30:13).
Jacob blessed this son with something both rich and royal, to be a source of “rich bread and royal dainties” (Gen. 49:20). Then Moses called Asher “most blessed of sons. Let him be favored by his brothers, and let him dip his foot in oil. Your sandals shall be iron and bronze; As your days, so shall your strength be” (Deut. 33:24).
Anna’s ancestry is noted to give a clue to her nature: happy, rich, royal, a source and most blessed.
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.
A young widow, alone for many years, she gave her life to God for prayers and fastings. Living such a life in the temple would be so reclusive and confined that for some it would be intolerable. Yet the blessing of her heritage was this: that for as many days as she lived, she would have strength for every one.
Anna dwelt in such a focused life for over 60 years. God alone she served, at the loss of any normal life. It seems that just as Simeon pronounced his blessing and his prophecy to Mary, Anna appeared and heard it.
And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Anna, remembered in scripture and noted for the sacrifice of her entire lifetime, was given the privilege to see, to rejoice in, the Messiah present on earth. And she is listed as the second witness of His birth.
Given to a select few, chosen by God for their unusual intimacy, it was a Divine Secret the Father shared only with His faithful daily-and-nightly friends.
Copyright © 2002 Martha Kilpatrick