Summary: The second message in the series which focuses upon the character of Anna who celebrated the birth of Christ with thanksgiving
Waiting For God
Anna – Waiting for the Redeemer of Israel
Aim: To show that God’s blesses the patient praying of the godly.
Text: Luke 2:36-38.
Introduction: Last Sunday morning we considered Simeon, the first of two individuals who feature in the nativity, but are often overlooked. This morning we continue in Luke 2 and encounter the second individual who was “waiting for God” that first Christmas, Anna. This is truly a remarkable woman, and really one of the unsung heroes of the nativity story. We always remember the shepherds and the wise men, but both Simeon and Anna saw the Christ child BEFORE the magi, and yet how often are they passed by in the telling of this tale. Well, we want to set that right this morning, and I want you to come with me to Jerusalem, to the court of the temple, and meet Anna who was waiting for the redeemer of Israel.
I. Her Seniority – vss 36-37a
A. Notice the details we are given about this extraordinary woman.
1. Her name means, “grace”, and she was the daughter of Phanuel, whose name means “vision of God.”
2. The Bible describes her as a prophetess, no small distinction, placing her alongside a chosen few such as Miriam, the sister of Moses, and Deborah.
a. This was woman with whom God spoke.
b. Earlier in this chapter we saw the kind of people God does business with, the sort of people He speaks to, Simeon was of that number, and now Anna also.
c. It will become clear why as we go on.
3. Then we are told she was of the tribe of Asher.
a. This is an important little detail.
b. Why? Because there is an insidious doctrine which has existed since the 1930’s known as British Israelism.
c. It’s premise is is the belief that the Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Scandinavian, Germanic and Dutch peoples of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States are the direct lineal descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, and that the British Royal Family are directly descended from the line of King David.
d. It really is a very racist doctrine, and among the so-called “lost tribes” is of the tribe of Asher, whom it is said never returned to Palestine after the Assyrian captivity.
e. Well, evidently some did, for here is a lady, who is the of the tribe of Asher, standing in the court of the temple at the time of Christ’s birth.
f. There are no “lost tribes”. God knows exactly who is who, and where they are, and at the end of time He lists the tribes in relation to the 144 000 Jewish evangelists who will be active during the Great Tribulation.
4. Now, in relation to Anna herself we should know something else about Asher, and particularly the women of Asher.
a. The woman of this tribe were noted for their beauty and talents, consequently they were deemed a suitable pool for royalty and the high priests in their search for a bride.
b. There are certain nationalities, even now, whose beauty is recognised among the peoples of the world, and that is where the women Asher were in Bible times.
B. Now the Bible tells us that Anna was a woman of “great age”.
1. How old do you think she was?
2. Well she had been married for seven years and widowed for eighty-four, so right there we know she has been alive more than 91 years, and allowing for her being married at the youngest possible time (after puberty) she must have been at least 105 years old!
3. And where do find her? In the house of God: waiting for Him.
II. Her Solitude – vs 37a
A. You know there is not a drop of ink wasted on the Word of God.
1. In introducing her Luke says, “… there was one Anna”
2. Given her background, that designation is all the more significant.
3. Her tale is one of sorrow, married for just seven years before her husband dies, leaving her as a young widow.
4. One would imagine a beauty from the tribe of Asher would soon find another husband, but not this beauty, she remained single until her dying day, she took a path that many young woman of her age would be, perhaps, justifiably loathe to follow.
5. She determined to live alone, to live as one.
B. For eighty-four years Anna kept herself to herself.
1. Actually, better than that, she gave herself to God.
2.She chose to live a life of single-minded devotion to the Lord.
3.That is not for everybody, but it is for some people.
4. God doesn’t want everyone married, nor does He want everyone single, but for some people singleness is their chosen path.