Summary: A more detailed look at the dedication of Christ at the temple.
Luke Chapter 2 The Birth of Christ (con’t)
As we said last week the two gospels from which we compile the story of the birth of Christ are Matthew and Luke.
Matthew is especially careful to point out when a prophecy is fulfilled. Note as you read his gospel how often he tells us that “this was done to fulfill…..” Matthew was writing to Jewish believers and clearly pointed to prophesy fulfilled each time it happened.
But is it Luke’s gospel that we are studying today and we want to begin our study with verse 21 which tells us of the circumcision of Jesus eight days after his birth.
The requirement for circumcision under the Law is very clear so let us go to Leviticus Chapter 12 where it is spelled out for us.
Let’s look at the first three verses.
“And the Lord said to Moses, Say to the Israelites, If a woman conceives, and bears a male child, she shall be unclean seven days, unclean as during her monthly discomfort. And on the eighth day the child shall be circumcised.” (Amplified Bible)
Now, let’s go back to Luke and the 22nd verse which goes on to say, “And when the time for their purification (the mother’s purification and the baby’s dedication) came according to the Law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.”
This is done to satisfy the requirement of the Law set forth in Exodus Chapter 13, verse 1.
“The Lord said to Moses, Sanctify (consecrate, set apart) to Me all the first born (males); whatever is first to open the womb among the Israelites, both of man and beast, is Mine.” (Amp Bible)
Going back to Leviticus 12 we see that the purification of the mother has other requirements.
Verse 6 tells us that when the days of her purification are complete (33 days for a male child, see verse 4) she is to bring a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering, to the door of the tent of meeting, to the priest.” And the priest will offer it before the Lord to make atonement for her.
While we are in Leviticus Chapter 12 let’s look at one other thing which is interesting and that is verse 8.
“If she is unable to bring a lamb (for lack of means) then she shall bring two turtledoves, or young pigeons, one for the burn offering, the other for a sin offering; the priest shall make atonement for her and she shall be clean.”(Amplified Bible)
This verse is a provision in the Law made for those who do not possess the financial means to buy a lamb for the sacrifice.
Now looking at Luke Chapter 2 verse 24 we see that the offering which Mary brought was two turtle doves or two young pigeons.
This seemingly insignificant verse tells us of the financial status of Mary and Joseph. Some have said, “Well, Joseph was a carpenter and as such was a pretty well off man so Jesus probably had an easy life.” But this offering shows the opposite—these were poor people and the proof is in the offering they made at this time.
Luke’s Gospel starting at the 25th verse and ending at the 39th verse.
What we are going to see in these verses is the scene that takes place at the dedication of the child.
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout—cautiously and carefully observing the divine Law—and looking for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” (Amp Bible)
Note: there are many definitions of ‘Consolation’ but the most appropriate here seems to be either “relief” or “encouragement”.
We note carefully that Luke records that the Holy Spirit was upon him. As we know in Old Testament times the Holy Spirit came upon people when God had a specific job for them to do---Such as Samson. But the Holy Spirit did not come to stay in those days but was given just to perform certain tasks. As we know Samson was a womanizer, heavy drinker and all around rabble-rouser until the Spirit came upon him. He is but one example of how the Holy Spirit was given in Old Testament times.
In this instance the Holy Spirit was upon Simeon (as in Old Testament times) and had given him a revelation.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. (Vs. 26)
Note: Christ is not Jesus last name as many people think, instead it is His title---freely interpreted that would be Jesus Messiah or Jesus the Anointed One.