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Lesson # Luke 2:36-38
Study Material - Luke 2:36-38
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with a husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. And she never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. 38 And 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.
Gen 32:30 mentions the location, Phanuel, named by Jacob who there saw God face to face, so Anna saw God face to face. Her fathers name means 'seeing God face to face.' She also being female forever closes the door on the argument that God does not recognize women in society or in heaven, which of course is not true. Just because there is a command for wives to be subordinate to their husbands does not in any way prevent them from advancing in their own spiritual life. Here in the middle of the all time spiritual low with respect to society, even the priests who should have been spiritual giants and they knew nothing, the woman Anna, knew more about the scriptures than they did.
She was a prophetess. She had tremendous knowledge regarding Bible doctrine. Usually this is a mans role in society. Because where the authority resides so the wisdom should also reside. But this is a sign of the times. Here is a woman performing the role that should have been performed by men, yet then men of the age were lax in their scripture knowledge and spiritual growth, therefore God gives this gift to Anna, which is sort of a slap in the face of the Levitical priesthood, but they aren't smart enough to recognize it.
Next there has not been a prophet in Israel for some 400 years, and there was no one except Anna. None like Elijah, or Samuel, or Jeremiah, only this woman to recognize the birth of Christ and announce through prophecy and her teaching in the temple, of the birth of the savior. Note also that her teaching is generally unnoticed by the priests. Even Herod did not recognize that there was something going on until the Magi wandered into the country. Interesting to note that no one noticed the birth of Christ, the God of Israel, the one whose birth had been foretold for so many centuries, even the time and place was foretold, yet they take notice of foreigners, the Magi, who had been traveling for a long time searching for the Christ child.
So goes the low nature of the spiritual lives of the vast majority of the population. Anna was from the tribe of Asher, located in the area of Galilee. Also there was a common saying the out of Galilee no prophet would come, yet Anna preceded Jesus of Nazareth of Galilee. The sayings of man often times have no bearing on reality. People think up little cute quotes in order to impress other people, and promote themselves in the eyes of people, but God fools the fools and laughs at those who would think themselves wise.
Anna was married young and for a short time. She was widowed young and did not remarry. She instead spent many years living near the temple and spending all her time at or in the service of the temple, studying and teaching. She fasted despite her advanced age, and she prayed long prayers for the glory of God. Note the contrast against the Pharisees who fasted and prayed long public prayers but for their own selfish interests. The Pharisees sought to advance themselves before people, but Anna sought no public admiration, but only her praise of God. She had a good head on her shoulders. She was not bitter from the loss of her husband many years earlier. She did not frantically chase after another husband or cry over not having any children, though we do not know her family status, but it is implied that she lived alone. She never left the temple or the temple area.
She came up at the time of Simeon's testimony and gave her thanks. She was richly rewarded for her years of service to God. Her service was not her physical activity, but her accurate knowledge of the scriptures. Many others served in the temple, but the doing of activities is not the issue in life. The knowledge you gain by learning doctrine is the issue in the spiritual life. That is the content of the soul which is the most important, for what you know drives your thoughts and actions.
Isa. 2:3, where doctrine is people who are interested will come to hear and learn. Anna taught doctrine to those who were willing to listen, though there were apparently few in the population who were positive toward Bible teaching at that time. Anna continued to teach and was not prevented by those who were in charge of the temple. Later when Jesus goes to teach in the temple the antagonism will have grown tremendously and the opposition toward Christ will reach the point of violence, and the Cross. While those who sought his murder, will actually serve God in His plan by sending Christ to the Cross. Yet in this time of Anna, who undoubtedly taught of the birth of Christ and the events of his presence in the temple while an infant, there was apparently little opposition probably due to apathy toward the birth of the savior. This could have been the result of the Roman census which was in process and the taxes being collected. Either way the attention given to the birth of Jesus, though it was not kept secret, was wanting to say the least. Again no one had any excuse. The information was present in the flesh and there were those who witnessed it. Many unfortunately were not interested.
We should learn from Anna and Simeon. We all have our daily lives to live. Responsibilities to self, family, job and so forth. We need to continue to set aside time daily for our spiritual growth as well and not get distracted by the busy schedules that can easily consume all of our time. The spiritual life is not one of exciting events that occur often with a few commercial breaks, but it is a systematic program of studying and learning and growing while in fellowship. Just as you eat your meals daily with generally no shades of excitement, so you should consume your daily spiritual food. The daily events of this world teach us in our daily experiences, and our spiritual growth prepares us for our eternal experiences as well as secures our eternal rewards. Time invested wisely in Bible doctrine will return interest beyond our imagination.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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