ANNA - TRUE WORSHIPPER, THE FIRST EVANGELIST OF THE GOSPEL!
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 ESV)
These short three verses in the New Testament are hardly spoken in many Christmas, or any other messages, in the modern church. However, they pack a powerful piece of revelation for the believer.
Let us not miss what happened here:
Anna became a widow after being married only 7 years, after a living a life of purity and integrity.
Anna did not go out and decided to remarry or start a family.
Anna dedicated the rest of her life in the service and worship of the Lord her God.
Anna took up physical, emotional and spiritual residence in the House of the Lord.
Anna continually went without food because the Word of God was her bread.
Anna petitioned the LORD with prayers and supplications, day and night for 84 years, without fail.
Anna's faithfulness was noticed by the LORD who rewarded her with being the one of only two people in Jerusalem counted of any importance, to meet the Christ Child.
Anna prophesied over Him and gave thanks to Our Great God for allowing her to see this Miraculous encounter.
Anna could not hold back the Gospel, after meeting the Baby Jesus. She knew right then and there Who He was and Why she was allowed to meet Him.
Anna proclaimed that good news to all who would listen, and who had looked for the Messiah, whose arrival they anticipated.
This is what amazingly occurred here! Anna was not just sitting in an air-conditioned temple 'pew' waiting on God to give her a sign. She was not like most western Christians these days!
Hers was a life totally sold out to God.
Hers was a life totally submitted to His Perfect Law and Will.
Hers was a life tied to the Promises of His Word.
Hers was a life thankfully rejoicing in those Promises.
Her motives were pure. Her conscience was clean. She put away the deeds of the flesh for a higher purpose. Instead the Lord was her portion in the land of the living. Her Lord was her bread and water, in a dry and thirsty land. The Lord was her all in all.
In a male dominated religious culture, where women were shoved off to the side, while the male Jewish priests and regular worshippers, she stands out as our example of a person who LIVES my life verse:
"One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.
(Psalm 27:4 ESV)
This is what Jesus meant when He told the Samaritan woman at the well the following from John 4:23 (ESV) "But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him".
This is the TRUE life of worship - total commitment. Not sometime in the future, when you have it all together, or have bought that new home or paid off the car or gotten to the life of ease and comfort BUT NOW. NOW is the time to worship the Lord in the Beauty and Fire of His Holiness.
Only a lifestyle of prayer and depriving yourself, not just of food or certain types of food (since most can't medically/physically deprive themselves of daily nourishment)...but a lifestyle of sacrifice of Praise to OUR GOD can bring us into alignment with that verse from John 4:23.
You and I can have that same deep, powerful and loving relationship with God through Christ the King. We need nothing else but a clean heart and that clean heart focused on the Word of God.
There is no magic, that is divination.
There is no mysticism, that is abomination.
There is no mind-altering chanting, that makes hell your destination.
All there is, is YOU! All there is, is YOU on your metaphorical and physical face down before the Fire of His Holiness, worshipping and being a true living sacrifice, just as Anna was.
When you and I live this way, my friends, we too, would be so on fire for Christ, we will go tell the world, that our daily encounter with Christ can be their redemption too!
(P.s....Anna WAS the first 'Christian' Evangelist and not John the Baptist, who was a baby the same time Jesus was! Remember they were cousins and both Elizabeth and Mary were pregnant at the same time!)
Love in Christ
Bernie Lutchman, a bondslave of Jesus Christ