Anna, the Aged Prophetess, Sees Jesus
THE disciple of Jesus, Luke the physician, in writing to one Theophilus, states: “I resolved also, because I have traced all things from the start with accuracy, to write them in logical order to you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know fully the certainty of the things which you have been taught orally.”—Luke 1:3, 4, NW.
In giving us this logically arranged history of the life of Jesus we find that Luke not only follows a strict chronological order, but also gives us many bits of history of the life of Christ Jesus which are not recorded by the other gospel writers. Perhaps most important among these is his record of the later Judean and Perean ministries of our Lord. However, we are also appreciative of his care in giving details regarding the birth and early infancy of Jesus. For without his record we would not have the circumstances relative to the birth of John the Baptist, the sayings that Mary and the angels uttered, the record of the shepherds’ visit to the manger; and except for him we would not have the description of the temple scene, where among others Anna, the aged prophetess, saw the child Jesus.
According to Luke, Anna was the daughter of one Phanuel and of the tribe of Asher. Being a prophetess she had the gift of the holy spirit in a special sense. After living with her husband for seven years she became a widow and was now 84 years old. In spite of her advanced age she “was never missing from the temple, rendering sacred service night and day with fastings and supplications”. No question about it, Anna had a keen appreciation of the blessedness that came with service in the house of Jehovah. Her actions told all, that she, like David, had but one thing to ask of Jehovah, that she might dwell in his house all the days of her life, “to behold the beauty of Jehovah, and to inquire in his temple.”—Ps. 27:4, AS.
At the very hour that Joseph and Mary brought Jesus into the temple Anna “came near and began returning thanks to God and speaking about the child to all those waiting for Jerusalem’s deliverance”. (Luke 2:36-38, NW) As the angels had done forty days before, Anna was bearing testimony to him who was to be the savior of the world. (Luke 2:8-15) Doubtless, like Simeon, she had been longing, praying and waiting for the One who was to deliver Israel, and the good news that this was the One was too good to keep.
How different Anna was from the practitioners of orthodox religion! How many of them would keep on rendering sacred service night and day at the age of 84? They would have asked for a pension long ago. Anna set a good example (even as did Paul the aged, some sixty or seventy years later) to all servants of Jehovah who are advanced in years. Regardless of how old one may be he is not too old to devote his life to the sacred service of Jehovah; nor is he ever too old, once in that service, to witness to the King and Kingdom as opportunity affords. Those rendering such service now can testify to Jehovah’s blessing upon them, even as Anna back there was specially blessed.