And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth. The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
– Luke 2:36-40 NASB
The last couple of days we have focused on the time when Joseph and Mary brought the infant Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem. Just as they encountered an older man named Simeon who recognized the significance of this child, so they encountered an older woman named Anna who had similar insight. God had opened the eyes of both of these older people by the power of the Holy Spirit. Just as humans have physical eyes to see physical things, so God gives us spiritual eyes to see spiritual things.
Both Anna and Simeon knew from the Scriptures that God giving a child was no insignificant thing – for from a child would come great things. For example, recall this passage from Isaiah:
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
– Isaiah 9:6 NASB
This passage prophesies of Messiah. Even before He was a child, Messiah was a seed. As God said to Satan in the Garden of Eden after Satan had successfully tempted Adam and Eve:
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
– Genesis 3:15 NASB
Anna could give thanks because she could see in something small that God was doing something very big.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, increase my spiritual eyesight. Help me see the little things you have started so that I can appreciate them…and nurture their growth to maturity. Let me not ignore what You deem important…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.