Jesus Presented in the Temple
and Mary were Jews, and followed the customs of their nation. When Jesus
was six weeks old, they brought Him to the Lord in the temple at
This was according to
the law which God had given to Israel, and Jesus was to be obedient in
all things. So God's own Son, the Prince of Heaven, by His example
teaches that we should obey.
Only the first-born son
of each family was thus presented at the temple. This ceremony was to
keep in memory an event that had taken place long before.
When the children of
Israel were slaves in Egypt, the Lord sent Moses to set them free. He
bade Moses go to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and say:
"Thus saith the Lord,
Israel is My son, even My firstborn: and I say unto thee, Let My son go,
that he may serve Me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will
slay thy son, even thy firstborn." Exodus 4:22, 23.
Moses carried this
message to the king. But Pharaoh's
answer was, "Who is the
Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the
Lord, neither will I let Israel go." Exodus 5:2.
Then the Lord sent
fearful plagues upon the Egyptians. The last of these plagues was the
slaying of the first-born son of every family, from that of the king to
the lowliest in the land.
The Lord told
Moses that every family of the Israelites must kill a lamb, and put some
of the blood upon the door-posts of their dwellings.
This was a sign,
that the angel of death might pass over all the houses of the
Israelites, and destroy none but the proud and cruel Egyptians.
This blood of the
"Passover" represented to the Jews the blood of Christ. For in due time,
God would give His dear Son to be slain as the lamb had been slain; so
that all who should believe in Him might be saved from everlasting
death. Christ is called our Passover. (1 Corinthians 5:7.) By His blood,
through faith, we are redeemed. (Ephesians 1:7.)
So as each family
in Israel brought the eldest son to the temple, they were to remember
how the children had been saved from the plague, and how all might be
saved from sin and eternal death. The child presented at the temple was
taken in the arms of the priest, and held up before the altar.
Thus it was
solemnly dedicated to God. Then after it was given back to the mother,
its name was written in the roll, or book, that contained the names of
the first-born of Israel. So all who are saved by Christ's blood will
have their names written in the book of life.
Joseph and Mary
brought Jesus to the priest as the law required. Every day fathers and
mothers were coming with their children, and in Joseph and Mary the
priest saw nothing different from many others. They were simply working
In the child Jesus
he saw only a helpless infant. Little did the priest think that he was
then holding in his arms the Saviour of the world, the High Priest of
the heavenly temple. But he might have known; for if he had been
obedient to God's Word, the Lord would have taught him these things.
At this very time
there were in the temple two of God's true servants, Simeon and Anna.
Both had grown old in His service, and He showed them things that could
not be made known to the proud and selfish priests.
To Simeon had been
given the promise that he should not die until he had seen the Saviour.
As soon as he saw Jesus in the temple, he knew that this was the
Upon the face of
Jesus there was a soft, heavenly light; and Simeon, taking the child in
his arms, praised God, and said:
"Lord, now lettest
Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes
have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all
people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people
Israel." Luke 2:29-32.
prophetess, "coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord,
and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem."
So it is that God
chooses humble people to be His
witnesses. Often those
whom the world calls great are passed by. Many are like the Jewish
priests and rulers.
Many are eager to
serve and honor themselves, but think little about serving and honoring
God. Therefore He cannot choose them to tell others of His love and
Mary, the mother
of Jesus, pondered the far-reaching prophecy of Simeon. As she looked
upon the child in her arms, and recalled what the shepherds of Bethlehem
had said, she was full of grateful joy and bright hope.
called to her mind the prophecy of Isaiah. She knew that of Jesus were
spoken these wonderful words:
"The people that
walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land
of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon
His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the
Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:2,6.
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