36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.[a] She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Who was this Anna? Didn't she have any children in those seven years? Was she at the temple night and day for, let's say 60-ish years (assuming she married in her early teens, as many women then did)? Did she prophecy regularly, or just on occasion? What kinds of things did she prophecy about? I've never thought to ask any questions about her before. From Testifying to Jesus: Anna by John MacArthur:
Now what is a prophetess? It's not somebody who predicts the future, not a fortune teller, it's not somebody who works on the psychic hot line. It's simply somebody who is...somebody who speaks. She spoke God's truth. She spoke God's Word. She may have been a teacher of the Old Testament to other women. She is not a source of divine revelation. There is no revelation that has ever come from her, none comes in this passage.
Perhaps even a better option, it means at this moment in time she becomes a teacher. She becomes the prophetess in the sense that speaks of this child as the Messiah. And maybe it's this very moment, verse 38, when she came up and found Joseph, Mary, the baby and Simeon and was informed that she begins to speak of Him to all those looking for the redemption of Jerusalem and fulfills that title. We don't know. It could be that she in the past had been a teacher. It could be that it designates this great moment in her life.
Now don't you just love this lady? I'm so glad that I learned more about her.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 2:39-52.