Jesus our hope
“There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Luke never wastes a character, they are included for a reason. So to add to the wonderful occasion of Jesus being presented in the Temple and Simeon taking him in his arms accompanied with the sacrifice of birds that Mary and Joseph had brought to God, here comes Anna.
Luke tells us that she came from the tribe of Asher.
Asher had been one of the 8 northern tribes of Israel, the other 2 were in the southern kingdom where Jerusalem was, Judah and Benjamin.
In the 8th century the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and then no one knows for sure what happened next to these tribes. But we do know that some made it back to Israel because Anna has traced her lineage.
Luke has successfully shown us that Simeon was a priest in the temple and therefore from the tribe of Levi who though had no land given to them were associated mainly with Jerusalem in the south.
So can you see this picture as Luke describes it?
Here is baby Jesus in the middle of someone from the southern kingdom and someone from the northern kingdom. United at last because of Jesus.
Anna’s ancestry had stories of division and being overcome by the enemy.
Anna’s personal past also contained regret and sorrow over losing her husband and maybe not having children.
But where do we see Anna? And what is she doing?
She is serving continually in the Temple with worship, fasting and prayer focusing on the hope of a coming Redeemer.
Our past, whatever it is, division, defeat, guilt, sorrow does not have to have the last word. We can move forward with the hope found in Jesus our redeemer!