Anna is a name from the Hebrew “Hannah” (1 Samuel 1:2) which means “favor” or “grace.” Hanna was the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher (Luke 2:36). She was a prophetess of the Lord. The Bible tells us that she lived with her husband seven years and was a widow of about eighty-four years” (verses 36-37).
Because of her love to the Lord, she continued in the Temple and in His service during the morning and evening hours of worship. Her life was absorbed in ministry as she had no other interests to distract her attention. Such a life Paul describes as most appropriate to one who is “a widow indeed” (1 Timothy 5:5).
When Mary and Joseph came to the temple with baby Jesus in compliance with the Old Testament law to make the purification offering (Leviticus 12:6–8) and present their baby as their firstborn before God (Exodus 13:2, 12–15), they met Simeon the prophet. As he held Jesus in his arms, he offered a prophecy saying, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).
When Anna heard Simeon’s inspired testimony concerning Jesus, her own heart was touched with inspired insight that the child Jesus is the promised Messiah (Matthew 16:17). Thus, at Jesus’ dedication two inspired witnesses confirmed what Mary and Joseph already knew concerning the child. The Bible tells us that Anna praised God with joy at seeing the Messiah and “She gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).
Before seeing Jesus, she often pointed forward to the coming of the Messiah but now she could speak from personal experience of the fact that the Messiah had come. Her many years of service and love were finally rewarded by seeing the Messiah. She was among the people who studied the prophecies and were aware that “the fullness of the time was come” (Galatians 4:4; Daniel 9:24–27 Luke 2:25). Anna the prophetess was one of the first few that welcomed Jesus to the world.
In His service,