#832. The encouragement of Anna - Luke 2:36-40 (8/6/23)
Updated: Jun 8
Today, as we continue in our series in Luke, we are briefly looking at Luke 2:36-40 - the account of Anna prophesying about Jesus.
Summary: Let’s learn from the prophetess Anna to worship and pray no matter our challenges.
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‘There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.’ (Luke 2:36-40)
This chapter has the witness of many to Jesus as the promised Messiah - Saviour King. We have the witness of the angels (1:10-11). We have the witness of the shepherds (1:20). The witness of Simeon (1:26), and finally, that of the prophetess Anna. God, through Luke, is seeking to convince us of the identity of Jesus as divine, human and Saviour of the world.
Again, as with all of those who have played a human part in Luke’s account so far, Anna is a humble and unassuming person. She is described as ‘very old’. She was a widow. She was a woman - which, at the time, was an unusual choice to include as a witness. So, on a human level, she is the kind of person that one may have overlooked. God, however, does not overlook her. He wants her involved because He wants all of us involved.
We are told that, ‘she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. How has Anna choosen to use the tragedy of the loss of her husband at a young age? She chose to devote herself to worship, fasting and prayer. Tragedy and loss are turned into opportunity and gain. She is an example to all of us.
Finally, so as to remain balanced in our view of Jesus' divinity and humanity, we are brought down to earth with the report of them returning to Galilee and Jesus growing up. Jesus was not some sort of man-child. He grew physically and in wisdom over time. He was a sinless child but He still had to develop physically and mentally.
Let’s learn from the prophetess Anna to worship and pray no matter our challenges. Like Anna, God wants to involve us in His work and this begins with our devotion to worship and prayer.
Secondly, we must be careful of over-speculating on Jesus as a child and must confine ourselves to what scripture does actually teach us, and we are taught that he was a real child who developed over time. This phrase from Luke 1:40 is worth praying over in regard to your or the children of others; Pray that, like Christ, they would grow in strength, wisdom and the grace of God.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Very important - this is the last week to book in for our weekend away!
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Please read Luke 2:1-52
This section on the birth of Christ has three sections:
1. Jesus’ birth (vv. 1–20)
2. His presentation in the temple (vv. 21–40)
3. His presence as a boy in the temple (vv. 41–52)
Let's discuss together:
What particularly struck you from Sunday's message?
What would you say was the common theme and aim in Luke telling these three accounts?
What are the various applications that one could make to this passage?
Jesus, in vv. 41-52, reveals His desire to be in His Father's house in order to learn and pray. How do you or could imitate Jesus in this?
SIV - What do the Shepherds do in vv. 16-20 and what does this teach us about evangelism?
SIV - How could you serve, invest and invite this week and let’s pray about this.
Prayer - How would you like prayer as a result of today’s study?