Summary: In this lesson, an analysis of the account of Joseph and Mary and Jesus will demonstrate to us the obedience of Joseph and Mary.
We are studying the life of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke in a sermon series I am calling, “To Seek and To Save the Lost.”
We have looked at Luke’s description of the birth of Jesus. Last time we examined the shepherd’s visit to Jesus in Bethlehem on the night of his birth. Today I want to look at how Joseph and Mary took care of their infant son, Jesus.
Let’s read about Joseph and Mary and Jesus in Luke 2:21-24:
21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:21-24)
Most parents are very excited about the arrival of their newborn babies. Months before the birth, the parents prepare for the arrival of the baby. They buy clothes and furniture and car seats and strollers and toys. They pick out a name, and dream about life with this precious gift.
But the most important things that parents do for their children are spiritual. Good parents pray daily for their children, asking for God’s blessing on every aspect of their children’s lives, especially their spiritual lives. When the children arrive, they regularly read the Scriptures to them. They teach them to sing the Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs of our faith. They take them to worship with God’s people every Lord’s Day. And they present their children to God, giving them the sacrament of the covenant, which is a sign of God’s promise and a seal of his grace.
Joseph and Mary did all of this for their firstborn son, Jesus. They were godly parents who wanted to do what God required. Luke tells us that on five occasions in chapter 2 (in verses 22, 23, 24, 27, and 39) Joseph and Mary did something for Jesus in accordance with God’s law.
Their obedience to God is remarkable. So many of us in the church today are prone to be casual in the way in which we approach obedience to God and his law. For many of us, God’s word is merely a suggestion. We can take it or leave it.
That is why it is so important for us to examine the account of Joseph and Mary and Jesus in Luke 2:21-24.
An analysis of the account of Joseph and Mary and Jesus will demonstrate the obedience of Joseph and Mary. In Luke 2:21-24 we learn that Joseph and Mary were obedient regarding:
1. Jesus’ Circumcision (2:21a)
2. Jesus’ Naming (2:21b)
3. Mary’s Purification (2:22a, 24)
4. Jesus’ Consecration (2:22b-23)
I. Jesus’ Circumcision (2:21a)
First, Joseph and Mary were obedient regarding Jesus’ circumcision.
Luke tells us in verse 21 that at the end of eight days, Jesus was circumcised.
Joseph and Mary knew God’s word. They knew that God’s law required their newborn son to be circumcised on the eighth day.
When God introduced the sign of the covenant to Abraham, he said to him in Genesis 17:9-14:
“As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” (See also Leviticus 12:3.)
God gave circumcision to Abraham as a sign and a seal. First, circumcision was a sign of God’s promise of salvation. God promised in Genesis 17:5b, “For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations,” and in Genesis 12:3, “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Of course, the true descendants of Abraham are spiritual, not physical.