Finally, to complete the list of women surrounding the birth of Christ, we finish with the Gospel of Luke, introducing us to the only named woman prophet in the Christian Testament, Anna.
Anna the Prophet
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.Luke 2:36-38 (NRSV)
How long have you been waiting for the longing you have been praying about to be fulfilled? A longing you have felt certain God has invited you to pray about, that you feel certain God has indicated will be fulfilled?
Anna’s story can be told in three stages: There was tragedy early in her life, then came the temple where she lived most of her life, and finally came the testimony God gave her towards the end of her life.
- I Tragedy, Luke 2:36
- II Temple, Luke 2:37
- III Testimony, Luke 2:38
Simeon, most likely a priest in the temple, had been hoping all his life on the fulfillment of a prophecy he had been given. Now a very old man, and an otherwise perfectly ordinary, routine day, his hope was fulfilled, and Simeon was inspired by the Holy Spirit to make a prophecy of his own. Right by his side,
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great ageLuke 2:36 (NRSV)
She is already notable for being named a prophet, but more than that, she is the only named woman prophet in the whole Christian testament. Philip the Evangelist had four unmarried daughters who were prophets, and evidently in the first century church were many women who prophesied. But only Anna is named.
Through Anna, we learn that
- God provides in times of tragedy.
- Living into God’s calling brings life satisfaction.
- Prophets–including women– publicly praise God and proclaim Jesus is Messiah.
God surely meant for Simeon’s and Anna’s prayers, prophesy, and proclamation to strengthen and encourage Mary and Joseph as they began to raise the most unique person who has every lived, God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
But God’s purpose in Anna goes so much farther! Tragedy in Anna’s life became an opportunity to live for God. For you and I today her life reveals the joy and satisfaction that comes with living close to God, living fully every day, full of hope, full of joy, full of love, and the reward patient faith in the Lord brings.
Each video is designed to offer background scholarship on the topic, including setting, culture, original language, and archaeology, as well as a theological study.
The “Broken, Searching, Trusted, Powerful” video series is a companion to the book, available on Amazon, and published by Wipf and Stock.