Category Archives: Bible Study

Anna: God’s Prophetess

Today’s Verse

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, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 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. Luke 2:36-38

Background

Throughout the Bible, women had a role in proclaiming the truth of God. God chose in the biblical narrative, to mention women as well as men who went in boldness to tell others about God and speak his word to others. These women are sometimes called “prophetesses”, a female version of a prophet.

Context

Why is Luke including Anna here in his Gospel? Because his major theme is that God sent Jesus to earth that ALL might be saved.(Luke 2:10) In a culture that generally did not hold women in high regard, Luke wanted to show that God is different. He wants to be sure that the reader understands that women as well as men will be part of the Kingdom of God. In fact, Luke’s Gospel tells us more about women than any others. Later in the book of Acts, also written by Luke, we learn of other women who prophesy. (Acts 2:19)

Gospel Implications

Anna was a mighty woman of God. She was a watchful woman and used the spiritual disciplines of fasting and praying to keep her mind and heart focused on God. As a long-term widow, Anna could have wallowed in self-pity. But she did not. Instead, she devoted herself to pleasing God and waiting for him to fulfill his promises. Anna was a woman of faith and God rewarded her with the greatest gift of all.

Luke wants us to know that in the birth of Jesus, God is fulfilling his covenant promises of the Old Testament. This fills Anna with gratitude and joy so much that she must share the Good News with others.

Application

In the midst of all your activities this Christmas season, find time to tell others about Jesus.

Praise, Peace and Prophesy

Praise, Peace & Prophecy: Simeon

The Gospel of Luke

> Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
>   “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
> according to your word;
>   for my eyes have seen your salvation
>   that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
>   a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
> and for glory to your people Israel.”
>  And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.  And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:25-35

Background

Luke, in this part of Scripture, wants to show us that Jesus came to fulfill the prophecies and the law. He tells us of two who prophesied of Jesus’ life, Simeon and Anna. Today’s devotional is about Simeon.

Who Is Simeon?

Simeon was:
1. Righteous and devout
2. Full of faith and hope
3. Filled with the Holy Spirit
God had prepared the hearts of some of those in Israel to accept Jesus and all that he meant to the world. Simeon was one of those. God always has a remnant of those who believe, even in what seems the darkest of times.

What Did Simeon Do?

Following the lead of the Holy Spirit, Simeon came into the temple. Just as Jesus would later welcome children, Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms. He praised God for the salvation he provided through Jesus. He filled with peace as God confirmed that he fulfilled his promises. Simeon could rest knowing that salvation had come to the world. He then began to prophecy the truth about Jesus to his earthly parents.

There was a difficult part of Simeon’s prophecy, one that he may have hesitated to give to eager new parents. Simeon revealed that Jesus would be opposed and would cause turbulence in Israel. Along with the Good News of salvation comes the reality that not all will be saved and that those who proclaim the news will suffer. Some will reject the gift of God, they will refuse the only way by which they would be saved. They will not receive the word of God’s prophets.

Application

In every age are prophets, those filled with the Holy Spirit who obey God and speak truth to those around them. God has always delighted to use humble servants as agents of proclamation. Are you willing to speak truth, to let others know about the amazing gift of Jesus that we celebrate on Christmas day?

Have you accepted the gift of Jesus as your Savior?