The Presentation of Jesus
Open Your Bible
Luke 2:21-40, Leviticus 12:1-8
Do you like to think the rules don’t apply to you? Oh man, I do. I mean, “recommended” serving sizes are just that, a recommendation, right? I make excuses for myself like, I’m old, so I can get away with it! or I’m still young, so this rule doesn’t apply to me! Or simply, I’ve earned this. I can think of a hundred reasons to skirt the rules because I want to redefine things on my own terms.
When Jesus was born, He humbled Himself, yielding to the law that had been created to teach and guide sinful humans. He didn’t need to be trained by the law because He was the very giver of it. But submit He did. His parents had Him circumcised on the eighth day after His birth, just like all the other Jewish boys, to mark the covenant God had made with Abraham (Luke 2:21). Then, after forty days, they brought the new baby to the temple, all shined up and ready to be presented as their firstborn son. Neither of these rituals should have been necessary for Jesus; He was the God of Abraham, the One who had initiated the covenant to begin with. And He didn’t need to be presented at the temple, either. It was His temple, after all.
These laws existed for people far from God, to point them to Christ. But Jesus was not born with a sinful heart pulling Him away from the Father; He is the Christ. So why did Jesus and His parents submit to all these laws? Because Jesus was ready to put His neck under the yoke of the Old Testament law to “fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15), to graciously fulfill every letter of the law for our salvation.
By this submission, Jesus set aside the glories of His divine nature for a time in order to show us His gracious designs as a Mediator (Philippians 2:5–11; 1 Timothy 2:5–6). Because He was born under the law, He obeyed it. How much more should we, who cannot boast of divinity, submit to God’s law? How can we consider ourselves above God’s authority, when even Jesus submitted to the Father?
In quiet submission, He is honored, and in yielding, He is exalted. While here on earth, very few people were able to see Jesus for who He truly is: the Messiah and the Son of God. Both Simeon and Anna saw Him that day at the temple and rejoiced at seeing God’s plan for salvation in the flesh (Luke 2:30). Waiting decades for the coming Savior, they were given eyes to truly see Him because God keeps His law and His promises.
Jesus’s life of submission reveals the Almighty God. He humbled Himself and was obedient to the point of death (Philippians 2:8). Spotless and blameless, Jesus endured the ridicule of men who rejected God’s law. Perfectly righteous, Jesus descended to save the lawless—this is the gospel.
Like Simeon and Anna, we ought to eagerly long for the day of salvation. And, like them, we are blessed to see this promise fulfilled in the person of Christ, who became one of us to redeem us. He is the Christ of Christmas and the Christ of our redemption. O Come, again, Immanuel!