Preparing For Eternity The Story of Jesus


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The Story of Jesus

 

 

Chapter 2

Jesus Presented in the Temple

JOSEPH 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 Jerusalem.

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

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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.

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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 people.

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 promised One.

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.

Anna, a prophetess, "coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem." Luke 2:38.

So it is that God chooses humble people to be His

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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 mercy.

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.

Simeon's words 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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