Today we will be talking about Matthew 2 and Luke 2. We are going to study Mary and Anna. I’m so excited to talk about the Mother of Jesus and Anna the prophetess.
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- There are a few things I’ve learned lately that I’m so excited to share with you.
- Luke 2:7
- First of all, what a manager is. I’ve heard this repeated probably 3 times in the past month and I thought it was amazing.
- A manger in this area of the world would have (probably) been made of stone – a limestone most likely. We often portray the manger as wooden – it is more likely that it was stone as wood was harder to come by there.
- Also – swaddling clothes! This is so neat. Swaddling clothes were usually a cloth that was given to the couple at marriage and had their lineage on the cloth. In one podcast I was listening to they compared it to the hospital bracelets our babies receive now – as to not mix the child up. Looking at the swaddling clothes you’d like whose baby it was.
- I’d also like to touch on INNS. I hope you’re remembering your JST’s! We have it here in verse 7. There was no room for them in the INNS! With an S.
- The inns that Bethlehem would have had would actually refer to a spare room that extended family would have had.
- Luke doesn’t say there was no room in the inn(s) he says there was not room for THEM in the inns.
- So, for Mary and Joseph – both of them would have come from this area, and would have had family. Their coming and in the situation they were coming (Mary pregnant before marriage) would have been shameful. So whether there was no room, or no one was letting them in, is unknown. Maybe their family wasn’t prepared to have Mary who was so close to delivery in their home, or they weren’t sure they could accommodate a birth with all the other guests they may have had.
- Usually the homes would have a common area where the animals could stay, and may have been separated by a walk or stairs of some sort – but possibly even attached to the home. There are options and we aren’t sure which one is exactly correct.
The Carpenter + the Virgin
- The angel Gabrial told Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus – she knew through reading scriptures who Jesus was. She knew His importance. I don’t think she knew the fine details of His life and how it would all go or what it would be like to raise the Son of God. I think she didn’t necessarily know all the miracles He’d perform or maybe even how heartbreaking it would be at times.
- In Elder Holland’s newest book Our Day Star Rising: Exploring the New Testament on page 81, he says, “But I am certain Joseph did not mutter and Mary did not wail. They knew a great deal and did the best they could. Perhaps these parents knew even then that in the beginning of His mortal life, as well as in the end, this baby son born to them would have to descend beneath every human pain and disappointment. He would do so to help those who also felt they had been born without advantage.”
Was Mary Alone?
- I have wondered if it was possible that there was another woman with Mary. If they were put up in a stable someone would have known and would have been able to come and help Mary. Someone to help with cleaning up and to help her as she labored. The stable owner knew she was with child. Someday it will be clear and it will be so fun to know for sure how it all played out. However, Elder Holland points out in his new book that Luke is careful in his writing. “And while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger …”
- Elder Holland goes on to say that Luke is very careful in making sure we know that she was very much alone in this process. Joseph, Mary and the baby. A carpenter, a young virgin and then a king
- The shepherd’s come with haste – I love this thought of them not waiting at all. They left this sheep. They left their livelihood! They walked away to go and see! Without hesitation!
- Do we do that? Do we make sure we are taking time out of our daily tasks – that are probably important – to go and see Him and go and know Him? Do we take time when the Spirit whispers to us to go and do with haste? Do we just move on and forget? Or do we do as we’re told in a manner that shows we are excited for what is to come! They were so thrilled and went to haste to find Jesus.
- I can’t imagine what it was like when the shepherds came. Were they surprised that anyone knew? Were they shocked at first that people were coming so soon after His birth to worship Him? Maybe. Maybe not. But I love Luke 2 vs 19.
- The footnote said meditate is another word for ponder. I love that she kept them in her heart and remembered them. She meditated on them or pondered them.
- I think we can learn an important lesson from Mary at this moment. When we have those times where the Spirit has spoken truth to us, or we’ve had a spiritual experience or when we’ve been praying – do we take time to ponder them? To just keep them in our hearts? Do we take time to sit in stillness and let the Savior of us all fill us and or help or answer us? I believe that stillness is a spiritual gift we can all obtain. If it is something you need or want to add into your life – pray for it. Pray for the ability to have even a moment of stillness with Him each day.
- After a woman gave birth in those times they had to wait 40 days after the birth to be “clean”. This is explained beautifully in Hannah Farrell’s book, Walking with the Women of the New Testament – I won’t go into all the detail. Basically it had nothing to do with being physically clean – just the process of bringing a new life into the world. This would also happen at menstruation and had to do with the egg and fertilization, etc. Once a woman was clean after birth, she was to offer a sacrifice at the temple, and present her baby unto the Lord at the temple.
- This is where we meet Simeon. Simeon was in the city and the Spirit told him that he would see the Lord before he died and also told him that he needed to go to the temple. He arrived and met Mary, Joseph and Jesus and knew that it was the Lord.
- Vs 34 Simeon prophecies of Jesus’ mission.
- Vs 36 ANNA
- Prophetess – a believer. Someone who believed and shared that.
- Let’s talk about her age. She was great with age.
- 7 years from her virginity *married before husband died)
- Widow of 4 scores and 4 years – which equals 84 years.
- So that is 91 – however, that doesn’t include her age previously to marriage which would have been 12-15 most likely. If we say 15 – that would make her 105 years old!
- Vs 37-38
- Anna served God with fasting and prayer night and day.
- She came in the INSTANT they gave thanks
- Then she spoke of him to all that wanted to know more about redemption.
- It’s interesting to note that at the temple they bring a turtle dove as their sacrifice. This was reserved for those who were truly poor.
Jesus Gets Lost
- LUKE 2:42 – 52
- Then they return to Nazareth after they’ve finished at the temple.
- Verse 40
- The next story we hear of Mary is her living every mothers worst nightmare.
- They all go to Jerusalem for a feast. They’re there for a few days and then it’s time to go home. There are a lot of people with them, and they assume that Jesus is in the crowd somewhere. Maybe he had siblings he would have been with or cousins.
- So walk for an entire day, and look for him, and they cannot find him!
- Can you imagine?!?! I can only imagine that Mary was praying hard. I would think her relationship with her Heavenly Father was very real to her and very close.
- It took THREE days to find Jesus! That is a really long time.
- He was finally found in the temple. He was listening to them, and they were listening to Him and asking Him questions.
- They asked where he’d been and why He hadn’t come along with them. In His truthfulness He tells his mother that He was about His Father’s business. Of course, Mary probably thought He was talking of Joseph.
- However, we know that He was about the business of his Heavenly Father.
Al Caraway’s Book that was mentioned: Finding Yourself in the New Testament