A FAITHFUL JEWISH FAMILY
Mary and Joseph bundled up Jesus and traveled to the temple to present Jesus. These new parents obeyed the Lord and followed his command to call him Jesus. It is clear that from the very beginning of his life, Jesus was taught to follow the commandments of God and that even as a baby, Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the Old Testament law. Eight days after giving birth, Jesus was circumcised and named. In addition to circumcision, the law required that thirty-three days later the mother would offer a burnt offering and a sin offering. If the mother was too poor to provide a lamb, then she could offer two turtledoves or pigeons. The priest would make atonement for the mother who was in need of purification. Jesus, as the firstborn male child, was consecrated and dedicated to God.
The journey to the temple led to two unexpected encounters which confirm the identity and mission of Jesus. A righteous man named Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before seeing God's salvation directed him to the temple at the time of Jesus' dedication. God ordered his steps that day bringing him to the temple at the precise moment to see the Consolation of Israel. Simeon has been waiting his whole life for this moment. He blesses God and speaks words over the baby that caused his parents to marvel at all that had been said. Simeon then turned and blessed Mary and Joseph as well. However, Simeon's concluding words foreshadow the trials ahead. Many would not accept Jesus as the Messiah and Mary would have a sword pierce her soul. An elderly prophetess named Anna, who made a regular habit of true worship came and she too blesses Jesus and speaks words of grace over the child. Redemption had arrived, and his name is Jesus. When Mary and Joseph had fulfilled the righteous demands of the law concerning their newborn, they returned home. Jesus grew in strength and wisdom while enjoying the favor of the Lord.
Things To Consider:
- Why is it important for Mary and Joseph to fulfill the law?
- What is to be learned from Mary and Joseph about their faith by their actions?
- Does it matter that Jesus was born into a poor family? Why?
- How does the Holy Spirit reveal God's truth today?
- Why is the testimony of Simeon and Anna significant?
- Why does it matter that the Gentiles are mentioned by Simeon?
- Do you think Mary ever understood Simeon's prophecy about the sword? When?
- Have you thanked God for your salvation today?