Saturday, 28 January 2023

Anna the Prophet


Quick timeline. Let's assume Anna is 84 years of age when she sees Jesus. It's a slightly tricky passage in the Greek apparently. But we'll go with that.

Jesus was born roughly 6 BC.

So Anna was born in about 90 BC. Due to the weird Roman way of counting backwards. Thank you, Sellar and Yeatman.

Around the time that Anna was a toddler, there was a Jewish Civil War which ended with the King and High Priest, Alexander Jannaeus, having 800 Jewish rebels, mostly Pharisees, crucified - having executed their wives and children first. 

When she was in her 20s, the Roman general, Pompey, took the city of Jerusalem. 12,000 Jews died defending the city - was Anna's husband one of them?

When she was in her 30s, another Roman general, Crassus, took all the treasure out of the temple.

When she was in her 40s, a man called Julius Caesar became Roman dictator.

When she was around 50, Herod became the "King of the Jews".

When she was around  70, Herod started rebuilding the temple that had itself been rebuilt under Ezra and Nehemiah

When she was 84 - and the Temple was still a building site - Jesus, the Christ, came to the Temple that had been built to hold his name.

And she had been waiting, alongside Simeon, for that moment. Through all those terrible times.

And when Anna - the prophet - saw Jesus, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

When anyone claims on the basis of Scripture that women can't preach, can't teach - bear in mind that Anna, in the presence of the One whose Spirit inspired that Scripture - told everyone that was looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem about that holy one. 

All who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Men, women, and children.

Anna, the prophet. Who preached the Good News to everyone that was looking for it.

On the day of Pentecost, Peter said that Joel's prophecy was being fulfilled:"Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy." 

Which would not have come as a surprise to Anna, the prophet. Who told everyone that was looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem about Jesus.

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do the job God's called you to. Anna wasn't too old. Anna wasn't too female. She waited her whole life to see God's Son. Waited her whole life to share the good news. And she did.

And so I have no compunction in reproducing a bit of Beaker Gold from a few years ago: "A Song for Anna". 

All the years I have waited
Each day here
As the round of slaughtered beasts
has filled the air
with the smell of blood and flesh.
I have seen nations fall
Emperors rise - not dreaming that their realms will end
their statues will be broken,
their names erased.

Now, there in Simeon's arms - the still point
The axis on which the universe turns.
Ancient of Days, yet six weeks old.
Time for us now, Simeon
Dawn has come
We've waited through some dark nights
We've seen the light,
we can find our way home.


  1. Blessings to you for publishing Anna's story. I am reading it on 29 January 2023, which is my 80th Birthday. The only thing I really wanted for my birthday was to return to my writing of "Holy Dwelling: The Architecture of the Soul." May Anna and Simeon be my guides in sharing the Good News of our Lord Christ.


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