Text: Luke 2:21-38
More than 80 years before Jesus was born in that manger in Bethlehem, a little girl was born somewhere around Jerusalem. I’m sure that she was her parent’s pride and joy. And I’m sure that she was strong, active and healthy. Anyway, in due course, she grew up and fell in love with the man of her dreams. They married, and she must have thought that they would live happily ever after. But after a few short years of married life, her husband died. She was left, bereaved, lonely, poverty-stricken. She never did marry again. But in her loneliness and need she had learned to trust in God. God would sometimes speak to her in special ways, and she would tell other people what God has said to her. Especially, God spoke to her about what the Scriptures said concerning one who was to come; a Redeemer; a Saviour; a Messiah. And she would go to the temple in Jerusalem to wait, and watch, and pray.
Year after year passed by. Life went on in the same old way. Anna was always to be found in the temple, day and night, praying for the coming of the Messiah. Some people laughed at her. Most simply ignored her. Just a few understood, and shared her longing that God would send a Redeemer. As Anna grew older and frailer, you might have thought that she would have given up hope. But she never did.
Finally, one day, when Anna was in the temple as usual, she saw a little family of three: a mother, a father, and a new-born baby. Joseph and Mary had brought Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with the Scriptures. Nothing unusual about that. But when Anna saw the baby, God’s Holy Spirit spoke to her in her heart,
It’s him! It’s him! It’s him!
She almost jumped and danced for joy. Her prayers of pleading were turned to songs of joy: “Thankyou for sending the Saviour; thankyou for letting me see him; thankyou for answering my prayers; thankyou for keeping your promises, even though I have had to wait so long.” Then she spoke about the child to the others who had been waiting for God’s Deliverer to come.
And that’s all we can know about Anna. Or is it? Before long, no doubt, this lady, who had become so old and frail, was laid to rest. And the years rolled by and that baby became a child, and the child became a man. And those who hated the light put him to death on the cross of Calvary. And Scripture says that as he died, there was a miraculous darkness over the land; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks split, the tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.. And I just wonder – could it be? That Anna herself was given one more opportunity to witness to the Redeemer who had now completed his work; the Lamb of God, who had come to take away the sins of the world; the Messiah she had watched and waited for so long?
Let’s remember that what Anna longed for has come. What joy should fill our hearts because:-
There is a Redeemer,
Jesus, God’s own Son,
precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
However, we do still have something to look forward to:-
When I stand in glory
I will see his face,
and there I’ll serve my King for ever
in that holy place
Thank You, O my Father,
for giving us your Son,
and leaving your Spirit
till the work on earth is done.