This study (10 mins) focuses on another of Luke's many unique characters, the widow Anna. Anna is the 6th of 6 devout Israelites in the presence of the baby Jesus the miraculous births of John and Jesus.
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Scripture: Luke 2:36-38
- Hannah (Hebrew) = Anna (Greek & Latin).
- In some ways she reminds us of her OT namesake (faith, presence at the house of God, deep spirituality).
- Luke supplies her father’s name, Phanuel, but not her husband’s. (She is more integral to the biblical story than he is.)
- Luke mentions her tribe, Asher. She numbers among the very few NT characters identified by tribe: Jesus,—Judah (Luke 2:4; Matt 1:1-16); Saul—Benjamin (Phil 3:5); and Barnabas—Levi (Acts 4:36).
- Implication of the numbers: she was over 100 years old when she met Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.
- She is a prophet.
- Both Simeon (NT character podcast 43) and Anna are advanced in years, people of faith, and meet Mary, Joseph & Jesus. And the account of Simeon is longer than the account of Anna. Yet Anna "outranks" Simeon, a man praised as righteous and devout (Luke 2:25). Simeon is not explicitly called a prophet. Rather, the Spirit moved him to speak.
- Simeon came to the Temple courts; Anna was there nearly always.
- She is the New Testament’s only named female prophetess. She reminds me of Huldah the prophetess (earlier podcast)
- Her life is marked by fasting, prayer, speaking, and prophesying.
- She does not remarry—in a culture when remarriage was the norm after the death of a spouse, and especially for one who became a widow at such a young age (20?).
- "Luke’s description shows her as well adjusted, engaged in Israel’s life and useful to the Lord. She may well have become the model for the righteous church widows Paul describes in 1 Timothy 5:5.” — Robin Gallaher Branch, “Anna in the Bible” in Bible History Daily
- “Anna shows one model of aging in the Biblical text. Luke presents her positively, as a woman without the bitterness that may come with age and as one full of hope. As she moves throughout the Temple, no doubt she seeks to do good to those whom she encounters." — Robin Gallaher Branch (same source).
- She foresees the redemption of Jerusalem (Simeon had foreseen the restoration of Israel). Perhaps she was aware of and distressed by the corruption and politics of the Temple.
- The prophecies of Zion (Jerusalem and its center of worship) and Israel were going to be fulfilled, but not in the way most people would have expected. (The true Jerusalem is "above," as Paul explains in Gal 4.)
- She speaks about the Lord to all who are interested. That is, she does not confine her verbal witness to a handful of "special people" (like Joseph & Mary). This shows both generosity and wisdom.
- Men: Do we have a positive attitude towards women? In the Bible, they are prophets. They can serve as national leaders (Miriam, Deborah). They are often portrayed as wiser and more spiritual than men.
- Older people feature prominently in Luke, as well as in the rest of Scripture. Yet our culture worships youth. This is destructive of self-image, hinders morality, impedes wisdom, reduces respect for others, etc.
- Are fasting and praying part of our daily and weekly lives?
- Do we speak about Jesus to all who are interested?
- Remember, we are men and women of faith for the long haul. Decades and decades and decades…