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Published Date: April 22, 2022

Published Date: April 22, 2022

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Women in Scripture and Mission: Anna

Anna was an 84-year-old prophet. She was widowed after only seven years of marriage and devoted the rest of her life to prayer and fasting in the temple. When Mary and Joseph presented the infant Jesus to the Lord at the temple, two elderly prophets, Simeon and Anna recognized him as Savior (Luke 2:22-38).

Luke pairs Simeon and Anna but swaps gender expectations with Simeon giving a private revelation and Anna the public revelation. Simeon prophesied over the child, and spoke “to his mother Mary,” his prophecy was a quiet family affair. Yet, Anna proclaimed Jesus’ identity and its meaning to all who were there and awaiting Jerusalem’s redemption. Like Hulda, the Old Testament prophet, Anna’s prophetic context was not in the home or with a private audience in the temple. Instead, it was in the central location for worship—the temple—where Anna displayed her deep knowledge of the Scriptures to a public audience of both men and women waiting for redemption.

Significantly, the Hebrew law required two testimonies to settle a dispute or confirm an event (Deut. 17:6,19:5). Luke uses Anna and Simeon as evidence of trustworthy testimonies of Jesus’ significance. By using Anna and Simeon for this purpose, he also emphasizes complementary mutuality in the testimony of both a man and a woman.

To learn more, see: “Anna: Proclaimer of God’s Grace,” by Allison Quient, March 12, 2014.

Finding the Beginning of Female Missionaries in the New Testament,” by Sarah Rodriguez in Mutuality, December 4, 2016.

To see more on God’s empowerment of women at critical times, read: “At Critical Moments,” by Kristina LaCelle-Peterson, August 10, 2011.