Witnesses Around the Clock :: By Angel Torres

Just a little while ago, I read Luke 2:36-39, and I wanted to share what I learned with you all. I believe that this can help us to be better and more intentional evangelists for the Lord Jesus as we “wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10). Here’s the text from Luke for your reference:

“And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”

Amidst the beautiful Christmas story that we are all familiar with, we get a little glimpse into the life of a particular woman named Anna. It was Matthew Henry who said the following about the time during which Anna lived: “The Spirit of prophecy now began to revive, which had ceased in Israel above three hundred years…. Though it was a very degenerate age of the church, yet God left not himself without witness.”

According to Luke, the historian, Anna was both a prophetess and a widow. Despite having been married to her husband for only seven years before he passed away, Anna remained steadfast in her faith and continued to serve God with great zeal and devotion. Perhaps you’ve recently gone through a season of death or suffering that has left you feeling disheartened or fearful. If this is you, take heart because you are in good company!

I find it fascinating that Anna, despite living in or near the Temple, didn’t take refuge in the Temple as some kind of hermit or monk. No, Anna “spake of [the Lord] to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”

The context of this passage (which comes right after baby Jesus is presented at the Temple) implies that Anna was around to witness these events. Since she was always present serving God at His House, it would make sense that she either saw or heard about what happened concerning the Incarnation. Anna wasted no time in telling others about the arrival of the Messiah. Despite her great age and the loss of her husband long ago, Anna was not sitting on the sidelines. She was in the thick of the fight! She was evangelizing and telling people about the Savior who had just come into the world. No doubt God blessed the hours that she had spent fasting and praying by giving her opportunities to proclaim the arrival of Jesus to those who were looking for salvation.

Moreover, I think it’s vitally important that we learn closely from Anna’s devotion to the Lord. The text tells us that she “served God” on a “night and day” basis. She didn’t just do it on Sunday mornings or on holidays. No, Anna was all-in and full-time when it came to living for God.

As I was reading through the passage myself, I was reminded of what God commanded Joshua to do as he prepared to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8). If Joshua was to be an effective leader, he needed to be meditating day and night on the truths of Scripture. He needed to have a mind that was saturated by the Word of God! If we circle back to what Luke tells us about Anna, it becomes abundantly clear that she had a Scripture-saturated mind.

Amazingly, God used Anna as a witness to the Incarnation. God can use you and me the same way if we are seeking to do His will, and I think it’s important that we ask God to give us the same attitude that the people whom Anna spoke to possessed. These were people who “looked for redemption in Jerusalem,” and there’s no doubt that some (if not many) of these people were part of the anawim. This word comes from the Hebrew anaw, which means “humble” or “afflicted.” The anawim, then, were a group of poor yet faithful and obedient followers of God. Despite not having much in the way of titles, prestige, or money, they remained devoted to the Strength of Israel and looked for the redemption that He would provide through the coming Messiah.

Are we truly looking forward to the deliverance that God will bring His people, the Church, from the dark days of the Tribulation? Are we asking God for opportunities to be witnesses of His Son during our time here on earth?

There are people on this planet right now who are looking for hope. They are despairing and are in desperate need of a Savior who can deliver their restless souls from eternal death and from countless worries, anxieties, and fears.

Anna went out to meet those who were seeking the salvation that God would soon bring into the world through His Son, Jesus Christ. In like manner, you and I can go out there and meet those who are seeking salvation for their souls, and we can share with them the Blessed Hope that we have in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This all begins, of course, with us having Scripture-saturated minds. If our minds are set on the things above (Col. 3:2), we can be more effective witnesses to the Son who “shall descend from heaven with a shout” (1 Thess. 4:16) and will rapture all believers everywhere to be with Him forever!