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Anna’s story is found in Luke 2:36-38: “There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.”

Luke introduced Anna as a prophetess when there was no prophet for over four centuries after Prophet Malachi who lived around 450 BC. Though Luke presented Anna as a prophetess, he does not specify any of her foretelling. As a prophetess, she was a preacher of the Word of God, especially to the women who came to the Temple. Her name in Hebrew is “Hannah” which means grace. There was another prophetess in the Old Testament with the same name and similar religious practices. That was Hannah, the mother of Samuel.

There were five prophetesses before Christ. Miriam, the sister of Moses, was the first one (Ex 15:20), who led the women of Israel to praise God for saving Israel while drowning Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. Another prophetess was Deborah (Judg 4:4) who was also a judge of Israel before the reign of kings. Huldah was also prophetess (2 Kgs 22:14). The other prophetesses were Noadiah (Neh 6:14) and Isaiah’s wife (Isa 8:3). Then came Anna, who arrived at the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. The prophetesses were very few and served only short-term compared to the male prophets of the Old Testament.

After seven years of her married life, Anna became a widow (Lk 2:36). Instead of considering a second marriage, she dedicated her life to God in the Temple. She remained in the Temple, worshipping God day and night with fasting and prayer (Lk 2:37). She got shelter in the Temple premises like Prophetess Huldah (2 Chr 34:22) and spent her time in the Women’s Court until age eighty-four when she met the Holy Family in the Temple. As a prophetess, she might have been guiding women who came for worship and might have volunteered to clean the Temple. The Jews considered such service at the Temple as a noble task for God. So, Anna might have been a familiar character for the worshippers, especially women. She also might have been the leader of a community of widows who settled there for worship and service in the Temple.


Anna was from the tribe of Asher. Asher was Jacob’s eighth son from Zilpah, Leah’s maid and Jacob’s concubine (Gen 30:12-13). This tribe was one among the 10 Northern tribes that fell into idolatrous worship (2 Kgs 17:16). So, God withdrew his support, and the Assyrians attacked and dispersed the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC. A very few faithful from the ten tribes had migrated to the south so they could continue to worship the true God in the Temple. However, they had to sacrifice many of their family members, friends, land, and inheritance. Anna’s family was one among such exemplary people who wanted to continue their faithfulness to the true God. Thus, God involved a lady outside the tribe of Judah to give witness to the Infant Jesus.

Mary and Joseph went to the Temple with Jesus to perform the purification sacrifice and redeem Him as their firstborn. Anna appeared immediately after Simeon proclaimed Jesus as the anticipated salvation for all people. The text does not make it clear whether Anna heard Simeon’s words directly. Upon seeing the Infant Jesus, she instantly identified the baby as the long-awaited Messiah. Her spiritual sensitivity allowed her to see beyond the ordinary and understand the significance of this child.

Anna was very old, having lived as a widow for many years after her brief marriage of seven years. At the time of her encounter with Jesus, she was 84 years old. Her long years of widowhood and dedication to God exemplify resilience and unwavering faith. Anna never left the temple, devoting herself to worship, fasting, and prayer night and day. This dedication shows her deep piety and commitment to seeking God, making the temple her home and place of continual service. Now, she not only saw the Messiah but also held Him in her arms.

Upon seeing the infant Jesus, Anna immediately gave thanks to God and began speaking about the child to those who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Her recognition of Jesus as the promised Messiah underscores her prophetic gift and spiritual discernment. Anna’s life of prayer, fasting, and worship sets an example of steadfast faith and devotion. Her dedication, even in her old age and despite her personal losses, is a powerful testament to her deep love for God.

Anna’s encounter with Jesus in the temple highlights the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel. Her reaction to seeing Jesus—thanking God and proclaiming the child’s significance—emphasizes the fulfillment of the prophecy and the arrival of redemption through Jesus. Anna’s prominent mention as a prophetess and her role in recognizing Jesus affirm the important contributions of women in the biblical narrative and their significant roles in God’s salvific plan.


The story of Anna the prophetess is a profound narrative of faith, devotion, and recognition of God’s work in the world. Her life inspires believers to stay faithful, worship passionately, and stay vigilant to God’s unfolding plan. Christians are encouraged to strengthen their faith and trust in God by following Anna’s example.

Just like Anna, believers have a responsibility to preserve their faith and loyalty to God, no matter what trials or hardships they face. Anna’s unwavering devotion and prayer serve as inspiration for Christians to pursue a more profound connection with God through consistent spiritual disciplines. By recognizing the fulfillment of God’s promise in Jesus, Christians are reminded to stay attentive and open to the ways God’s promises are being fulfilled in their lives today.

Anna exemplifies steadfast faith and devotion. Despite facing hardships, including the loss of her husband and many years of widowhood, she dedicated herself to worship, fasting, and prayer. Her unwavering commitment to God, spending her days and nights in the temple, highlights the importance of perseverance in faith. Let us strive to deepen our relationship with God through regular prayer, worship, and spiritual practices, even amidst our challenges.

Anna’s long period of dedication to God’s service at the Temple exemplifies the importance of serving God and His people through the church. Just as Anna waited for the Messiah, believers are encouraged to trust in God’s promises, even when they seem delayed. The idea that spiritual maturity and wisdom are associated with time and experience is emphasized by her advanced age. The wisdom of older generations should be cherished as God can use people of all ages for His purposes. Anna’s joyful declaration about Jesus exemplifies the Christian duty to spread the good news as she did. She motivates us to stay loyal, acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, and eagerly anticipate His second coming.

Though Anna became a widow at a youthful age, she did not despise God. Instead, she served Him in the Temple. God rewarded her faithfulness by allowing her to witness the presentation of Jesus. She “spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem” (Lk 2:38). Like Anna, let us serve God and introduce Jesus to others.

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