Text: And when the days of her purification according to the Law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. Luke 2:22.
Mary, the mother of Jesus as a Jewish woman lived a life of perfect obedience to the Torah. The Torah has it that when a woman conceives and gives birth to a male child, such a woman has to purify herself from her uncleanness for thirty- three days in which she is forbidden to touch any hallowed things, nor go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled. After her purification, she is duty bound go to the Priest and offer a lamb of the first year for burnt offering and young pigeon, or a turtledove for a sin offering. If unable to offer a lamb, two turtles or two young Pigeon are acceptable. One is for sin offering and other for burnt offering. Though Mary gave birth to a holy Child yet in order to fulfill all righteousness, she went to the temple with Jesus to perform her purification rite. Not only to do this but also to redeem her son who is the redeemer of the world. The Torah has it according to Numbers 3:46, any first born son who is not of the order of Levite is to be redeemed with five shekels of the Sanctuary. Jesus whose Priesthood is not of Levitical order was redeemed by her mother in obedience to the Law of Moses. Jesus was not only redeemed but was also dedicated to God, that is, he was presented to God as God’s own.
The presentation of Christ in the temple is not simply demonstration of Mary’s faith in the God of Israel and her obedience to the Torah (God’s law). It is also a fulfillment of prophecy earlier given by God through Prophet Malachi where he spoke about the advent of the Messiah. That the Messiah, the messenger of the covenant will suddenly come to the temple and through him Israel shall be purge of its sin, (Mal. 3:1-2). Jesus is the messenger of covenant through whom our sins are cut away and through whom we receive the grace to become children of God.
In the Temple waiting for Christ was Simeon who had been revealed to by the Holy Ghost that he would not see death until he had seen the Lord Christ. When he saw Christ he was greatly delighted and was happy to say unto God: “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant departs in peace, according to thy word”-(Luke 2:29). With the Holy Spirit upon him, he declared Jesus as Salvation for both Jews and Gentiles (Luke 2:31-31). This prophecy is final Epiphany showing Jesus to the world as its salvation. It is important for us to note that only in Christ is salvation found. Have you been to him for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood?
We can learn from Christ presentation in the temple that children are God’s gift. It is to remind us that our children are not ours but God’s and if we wish them to be a blessing, the only way is to offer them to Him. This is done in bringing them to Him and making them to grow in His love and knowledge. A child that is not offered to God will not know Him. It is your duty to make sure your children know God and are children of God.
Beloved, the significance of presentation of Christ in the Temple is declaration of his messiahship by Simeon. He was declared the Saviour of the world. Therefore, we should not neglect the salvation he purchased for us through his blood. You may ask, how do one access this salvation? You are simply to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God, repent and confess your sins and declare for Jesus by accepting him as your Lord and Saviour.
Very Revd Adewale Adebiyi Ph.D