Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Luke 2:36-38

Luke 2:36-38
And Anna was a prophetess, daughter of Phanuel, out of the tribe of Asher, having become advanced in age in many days, after living with her husband seven years from being a virgin and then as a widow until her eighty-fourth year.  She was not leaving the temple, performing her rites by fasting and prayer night and day.  And after approaching in that same hour she was giving thanks to God and she was speaking regarding Him to all the ones who await the redemption of Israel.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

I love this description of Anna.  First of all, it shouldn’t need to be said that she was a woman, but she was.  God doesn’t care about a person’s gender when it comes to using them.  Second, she was out of the tribe of Asher.  Asher is one of the least remembered tribes in the Bible.  God doesn’t care about station or lineage, either.  She was married, but her husband died after seven years and she was a widow for many decades.  God doesn’t care about one’s marriage status when it comes to needing a servant, either.  She was old – 84 years!  God doesn’t seem to care about age, nor does he have an age beyond which we are useless.  So many things in Anna’s description would have caused us to stop, question, doubt, and maybe even reject.  But God does not see her as we do.  God values people on a whole different standard.

Do you think you would have overlooked Anna had you been in the temple?  Why do we often value people on the things we can see rather than valuing people on more meaningful categories?

Second Thought:

 Anna served in prayer and fasting.  In other words, she was serious about her duty.  But I think that there is really more to this than we think.  Notice that what Anna is remembered for is something that many of us often disregard or brush over.  Anna prayed and fasted.  She didn’t give amazing sermons.  She didn’t go out and evangelize all of Jerusalem.  She wasn’t a great teacher.  She prayed.  She fasted.  She lived a humble life open to the leading of her Lord.

Would you be content for being remembered as a person who prayed and fasted?  Why do we often want more than this?  How does this show us the difference between God’s assessment of what is important and our own assessment?

Third Thought:

I find it interesting that we are told about Anna’s audience.  She spoke, but she spoke to the ones who were awaiting the redemption of Israel.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I doubt she was close-mouthed and only spoke to those who were interested.  But I also have no doubt that the vast majority of the people to whom she spoke were people who were interested in the message.  In other words, we hear another example of how we are called to take the message of God to the people who want to hear it!  God doesn’t call us to beat our heads against proverbial brick walls; God calls us to take His love and mercy to the people around us who are interested in listening.  This should make sense.  We are going to be most successful teaching and exhorting the people around us who are naturally interested in the message we bear.

Are you surprised to hear that Anna spoke to the people who were already interested in God’s Messiah and the future redemption of Israel?  How does this apply to your life and God’s calling for you?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 2:39-40
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