38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
1901 ASV Translation:
38 And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks unto God, and spake of him to all them that were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
I. Moving From Anna's Characteristics, Luke Records Her Present Actions.
A. The record of her characteristics was designed to impress the reader with the authenticity of her present action.
B. Her actions...
1. She came into the Temple setting "at that very time" (when Simeon was holding Jesus and speaking to Joseph and Mary).
a. Luke obviously felt like her arrival was significant as to its timing.
b. He, just as obviously, was attempting to share his sense of confidence that God was heavily involved in what was happening by not only saying that Simeon was on hand by the Spirit's impetus, but that Anna was also.
2. She responded to the Lord's action.
a. The translation "gave thanks" is a translation of a word that is not the normal term for "giving thanks". It is in the imperfect tense indicating that "she was giving thanks...".
b. The typical word involves a focus upon "grace"; the word Luke chose to describe Anna's action focuses upon a "confession that arises out of reaction".
1) The "Lord" had, from Luke's perspective, "taken significant action".
2) Anna, recognizing that action as His, responded with agreement.
a) This kind of response is impossible in a setting where people are not willing/able to see the activity as either significant or the Lord's.
i. The typical person in the temple that day had no inkling that Jesus was the Lord's Redeemer.
ii. Thus, the typical person could not respond to the presence of Jesus with anything near what was called for by the reality.
b) This kind of response only occurs when a person shares the Lord's perspective of what is valuable.
i. Luke went to some lengths to show that Anna was a person who did share the gracious perspective of the Sovereign (Lord).
ii. That effort is wasted if the reader doesn't make the connection between what she did and what she was.
3. She spoke of Him to all who were looking for redemption.
a. The word Luke chose ("redemption") is only used three times in the New Testament, and twice by him in this context (1:68; 2:38).
1) He has already shown that the "redemption" was a focus of the Spirit for these events (1:67-68).
2) He has already shown what happens when a person who is looking for this redemption, discovers it (Zacharias "blessed" God, just as Simeon did).
a) This, of course, signals how important it is for people to be properly motivated and focused.
b) Hovering in the background, however, is the fact that the vast majority of the people who could be touched by the sense of blessedness are totally unaware by reason of a complete self-absorption that does not allow the development of a larger perspective.
b. The irony is that at the very time in history that man's self-absorption was at a peak, the Lord's involvment in the production of Redemption was peaking. It was for the very people who hated Him so much that they would prove their rage by putting Him to death that Jesus came to provide Redemption. A greater irony is hard to imagine.
c. The text says that Anna only really addressed her words regarding the Lord to those who were interested in the redemption of Jerusalem.
1) That redemption is connected with Jerusalem is interesting in that the city was known by a "dual" name (Hebrews ending of "im") that refers to both a force of "casting forth" (as an archer with his arrows, or a teacher with his words) and a consequence of "peace" (Shalom). Paul picks this up in Galatians and writes of two Jerusalems -- one which is in bondage and one which is free (Galatians 4:25-26).
2) That redemption-news is only significant to those who are interested is emphasized by Luke's use of the word translated "looking for". The word means something akin to "to embrace to one's heart". Luke used the very same term in 2:25 to describe the Spirit-directed Simeon who was both "just" and "devout" as was evidenced by his "embrace" of the consolation of Israel -- i.e., the redemption of Jerusalem.
3) That Jerusalem "needed" redemption was not obvious except to those whose understanding included the reality of the depravity of the humanity that lived in that city and practiced religion in that temple.
II. Luke's Point.
A. The issue, as always in the words of God, is that Life is at stake.
B. The point is that Life is the experience of those who are willing to develop in the directions of love and faith.