How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Isaiah 52:7 (NIV)
What makes someone beautiful? Is it her appearance? Or his smile? Maybe it’s the person’s personality or kind nature. Would Jesus have been considered beautiful? Isaiah 53:2 tells us, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” And yet, to those who have faith in Him, Jesus is the most beautiful, the most precious, the most beloved person. Like Isaiah 52:7 says above, He is beautiful because He brings us good news. He is lovely because He brings salvation to His people.
From His mother, Mary, to the women at the tomb, many women played essential roles in Jesus’s life and ministry. Women were also instrumental in spreading the gospel. The Samaritan woman at the well spread the good news of the Messiah to her town. Mary Magdalene told the disciples the good news of the resurrection. And one woman had the honor of being the first to share the gospel.
Waiting at the Temple
In Luke 2, Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the temple to present Him to the Lord and offer the sacrifice required after the birth of a firstborn son. Simeon, led by the Spirit, took the baby and said, “My eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all the peoples” (Luke 2:30-31, NASB). As Simeon finished prophesying about Jesus, another prophet stepped up.
Anna, a prophetess, came to Jesus in the temple and praised God. In Joel 2:28-29, God promised that He would pour out His Spirit and the sons and daughters of Israel would prophesy. We see the fulfillment of that prophecy in Acts 2 at Pentecost. But here, shortly after Jesus’s birth, we get a taste of that fulfillment in Simeon and Anna. These two prophets witnessed Jesus’s dedication at the temple and recognized Him as the long-awaited Messiah, the promised Savior of God’s people.
Having seen the Savior, Simeon announced that God had kept His promise that he would see Christ before he died. Anna began to spread the good news “to all those who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). Can you imagine Anna’s joy and excitement? She had to tell everyone that salvation had come!
Anna was a widow who never left the temple. We don’t know much about her. She may have been like the women mentioned in the Old Testament who served at the entrance to the tabernacle (Exodus 38:8). We know she was elderly and had been a widow for many years. Like Mary sitting at Jesus’s feet (Luke 10:39), Anna’s focus was on the Lord. She dedicated her life to serving God with prayer and fasting.
Anna’s life was unusual in a culture that prized women by their function as wives and mothers. Anna was a wife for only a short time, and we don’t know if she ever had children. She may have been considered barren and of little value to society. She certainly wouldn’t have been considered blessed or favored by God.
But look at how God blessed her! She was among the first witnesses to see the Savior. Her dedication to the Lord is recorded for all believers to read about. Anna was the beautiful one who brought the good news and proclaimed the Lord’s salvation.
Seeing the Promise Fulfilled
Look what we can learn from Anna’s life and witness. Whatever the circumstances of our lives, whatever blessings and trials we have, we can be encouraged by God’s faithfulness to keep His promises. Anna and Simeon had waited all their lives to see Christ, and countless generations of believers had lived and died without seeing the promise fulfilled in their lifetimes. We have the privilege of knowing who the Messiah is and what He’s done to save us. We look forward to His return, and while we wait, like Anna, we serve Him and tell others the good news about Him.