Sorry this is late today. I have been really trying to write my blog posts ahead of time so that (1) I have new content for you most days of the week, and (2) I am not slapping something on the page at the last minute. I did good for a couple of weeks, but this week I've fallen by the wayside. Life has just been too busy.
We had our Ladies' Fellowship Christmas party Monday night. This is the highlight of the year for the ladies, as we all bring snack foods and gifts and play games. We laughed a LOT Monday night! For the devotion, I taught a much-abbreviated lesson about the three wise women who surrounded Jesus' birth. We're always hearing about the three wise men, but not so much about the women!
These three wise women, of course, were Elisabeth, Mary, and Anna.
Each of these ladies was very different from the others. Elisabeth was a wife of many years, in "the ministry" as the wife of a priest and of the priestly line herself, and right at middle age or so. We know that she was past her child-bearing years, at least. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was still a single young woman, most likely a teenager, and of the special tribe of Judah through which the Messiah would come. Anna, on the other hand, was very old. We figured up Monday night that she was probably at least 105 years old, but she'd been a widow for 84 years, having only been married for seven years. She was of the tribe of Asher, one of the "forgotten tribes," and so maybe was not considered as being from a very important family.
Each of these ladies had a prominent characteristic.
Elisabeth was a supporter. We see that she supported her husband when everyone was questioning him (Luke 1:59-63). She also supported Mary, when Mary came to her as an unwed, pregnant teenager. I would imagine that most everyone else in Mary's life was anything but supportive, but Elisabeth, being a Spirit-filled woman, realized that the baby Mary was carrying was the long-awaited Messiah, and became the first woman to praise the Lord Jesus! (Luke 1:41, 42)
Mary is known as a surrendered woman. One of my favorite verses in the Bible was spoken by Mary: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word." Luke 1:38 Just to read a bit between the lines, I think Mary may have wondered how she was going to explain this pregnancy to her parents and friends, and especially to Joseph. She probably realized life was not going to be easy for her during the pregnancy; she would lose friends, lose their respect, and maybe lose her fiance and his love. But even as she knew these things would happen, she surrendered herself to God's plan. And even though she didn't understand how things would happen, she surrendered herself in faith, believing God's Word.
Lastly, Anna was a separated woman. She wasn't just outwardly separate, although she was definitely outwardly separated to the Lord, as she was always at the temple (perhaps lived there) and fasted and prayed night and day (Luke 2:37). She had to have also been separated to the Lord - dedicated to Him from the heart - because she was familiar enough with the scriptural prophecies to realize that the baby Jesus was the Messiah she had been waiting for. She had a good relationship with God and knew His Word.
These three women, so different from each other, also had some things in common.
- Each woman recognized Jesus for who He was: the Messiah and Savior.
- Each woman readily submitted to God as their Lord.
- Each woman realized the power of the Holy Spirit in a real way in their own lives.
- Each woman received their personal promises from God.