The Eighty-Four-Year-Old Witness
How old do you think the average employee at Google is? The answer—29. Time reports that the company has even set up a support group for folks over 40 called “Greyglers.” When we go over to Facebook headquarters, the stress upon the authority of the young remains the same. Mark Zuckerberg says, “young people are just smarter,” although Susanna Schroobsdorff, the Time editorialist, goes on to state that he “might not feel so smart now that his first child has arrived.” Maybe it’s time for all of us to get smarter and stop and listen to what some older folks have to say.
In Luke’s Christmas narrative his last witness is eighty-four, and her names is Anna.
“Now Anna was a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years. In fact she had lived seven years with her husband after marrying him as a virgin. Then after her husband died, she lived as a widow till her eighty-fourth year. She fasted and prayed, and never left the Temple grounds. She served night and day. At that moment (when Simeon was prophesying about Jesus and Mary) she approached and started praising God. She told everyone who was waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem about the child.” - Luke 2:36-38
She was ancient, from one of the tribes that was supposed to have disappeared in the Assyrian invasions in the 8th century B .C. She had faced the blow of losing her husband, and then lived as a widow in a culture where a woman’s status was based in their marriage. But God chose this woman to help us identify His Son.
Anna is one octogenarian who didn’t need a twenty something to pitch her ideas. With her experience and godliness she was the perfect witness verifying that Jesus was the Deliverer, the One who would one day set Jerusalem free. But this statement about the liberation of Jerusalem raises a tough question. When in Luke’s Gospel or in Acts did Jesus liberate Jerusalem? We’ll have to wait and see.
LORD, use Anna’s witness to cause both young and old to thank You for the gift of Your Son. In history we still haven’t seen Jerusalem submitting to Jesus and receiving His liberation. As Palestinians and Israelis continue to fight over the right to rule the Temple Mound, I pray that you will open individual hearts to humbly allow Jesus to liberate them from the tyranny of sin that enslaves us all.
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