Anna’s heart beat loudly in her chest. She wished Azrielwas alive to see this day.
‘He will be born in Bethlehem’
Her dear husband’s eyes sparkled as he taught her the holy scriptures.
Although he had died just seven years after their marriage, Anna knew marrying Azriel was not a mistake.
‘A woman cannot understand these things,’ some of his friends had told him, but he was undeterred.
‘I want you to recognize the messiah when he comes Anna. All the law and prophets point to him.’ He said one day during their evening study.
‘You will be here to tell me about him my love’ she had replied.
‘What if I am not here?’
She raised her head from his lap, taking her eyes off the scrolls.
‘You will always be here with me Azy, you are not going anywhere.’
‘My love, you know that I would give anything to spend my whole life with you, but if for any reason I cannot accomplish my wish, what matters to me the most is your faith and the faith of our children.’
‘Just like Noah’s ark saved those who came into it from the flood, anyone who believes in the Messiah will also be saved from the wrath of God’
‘Well, what if I also am gone before the messiah arrives…will I be saved then?’
‘Oh my sweet, sweet Anna. Remember our father Abraham? He also did not meet the messiah, but was saved by simply believing. Just believe.’
Anna had grown so much since that conversation many,many years ago.
She had prophesied to many within and without the synagogue for years, so no one dared hush her whenever she opened her mouth to speak.
The prophecy she was about to give was like none other.
The messiah whom Israel had awaited for thousands of years had come into the temple.
The Holy son of God had come in the form of a baby with two turtledoves for the purification ceremony !
Her eyes were filled with tears of joy…and thankfulness.
She was thankful her husband made sure she knew the Holy scriptures.
‘Go over it again,’ he would say.
‘Oh my love, I need to make dinner for you’ she said on one of such occasions.
‘The kingdom of God is more important than food…Even if it is for your very handsome husband. Or have you forgotten? Perhaps I can rekindle your memory with a kiss.’
‘Oh I remember it, I don’t need…’
“Then this would be a reward”
He said with a sparkle in his eye, and kissed her soundly on the lips.
‘Alright let’s hear it’
She begun reciting prophecies pertaining to the Messiah, like she had hundreds of times before:
‘He will be born in Bethlehem, according to Prophet Micah’
‘He will flee with his family as a baby, according to Prophet Hosea’
‘According to Moses, the Messiah would be born of a woman.’
‘He would be born of a virgin according to Prophet Isaiah.’
‘Moses also said that he would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’
‘He would also be a descendant of Judah and of King David.’
‘A massacre of children would happen at Messiah’s birthplace according to prophet Jeremiah’
‘He will come to the temple as a child’
She had recited a very long list of prophecies for her husband in the past. And from when their children were very small, she had taught them, so much so that they knew it by heart. So did their own children and grandchildren.
But right this moment, this one had stopped her in her tracks.
He will come to the temple as a child
There were whispers when the young family had entered the temple. Even Priests could gossip. Many said the baby came quite early and that Mary had put on some weight before the wedding. But Anna saw beyond all that.
The spirit of God came upon her just before the whispers. There was assurance, peace and joy like she had never had before. She did not need to hear any words from men; she had heard the voice of God.
He will be born of a virgin
She closed her eyes and meditated on these words, and as they burned in her soul, another voice uttered the very truth God had confirmed to her.
‘Now I can depart in peace Lord.’
It was Simeon’s voice. Another old prophet she had come to admire.
There was such strength in his voice that could only come from above
‘I have seen your salvation; The light who will reveal the all people to you. Jews and Gentiles will be at peace with you because of this child.’
Anna’s eyelids could no longer keep the tears back.
She overheard when Simeon told Mary: ‘A sword will pierce through your heart as well.’
She knew what he meant. The Messiah would be flogged, beaten, spat on and then crucified. But her tears were not of sadness, but of thanksgiving.
He would rise again! Her heart burst with praise. God’s spirit that came upon her when it was time to prophesy would live in her forever.
There would no longer be need for yearly sacrifices that still made one aware of sin.
‘Thank you God! You have done what you said. You have sent us the Messiah!’
Her loud voice rang though the temple.
At eighty-four years of age, anyone would sound frail, but not someone who has received the greatest revelation known to man.
Her children and grandchildren would know it, and so would anyone in Jerusalem who sought for redemption.
Anna’s story is dear to my heart for a million and one reasons. At a time when even the Pharisees who could recite the scriptures by heart could not recognise the Messiah, she, an old woman could.
It’s easy to think that there is a certain age you get to either as a man or woman, that you become less important. Anna proves this wrong. She lets us know that it isn’t how old or young we are that defines us, neither is it marriage or widowhood. But Christ. Christ defines us. And if we focus on him and on his word, then he can use us for us glory, regardless of the circumstances.
You must have also realized that in retelling the story, I tried to emphasize the prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament. It is intentional. When hundreds of prophecies given 400-1000 years before the birth of someone are fufilled in his lifetime, it tells you two things; one is that He is who the bible says he is, the Christ, God in the flesh. Secondly, it goes to prove the authenticity of that document I.e the bible. The bible is the word of God, and the most genuine way God reveals himself to us.
If you need more convincing, you could read ‘Am I being fooled’, a new book by my husband, Pst Emmanuel Iren which answers questions such as: ‘Is there a God?’ ‘If there is a God, why is there so much evil in he world?” ‘Is the bible true?’ Among others.
In fact, I will send a pdf copy of the book to anyone who drops their e-mail address in the comments section. Thank you for reading! Looking forward to your comments, likes and shares.