Day 26

Jesus Presented in the Temple

from the Advent 2019: A Thrill of Hope reading plan

Luke 2:21-40, Leviticus 12:6-8, John 19:25-27

BY Kaitlin Wernet

December 26th is one of my favorite days of the year. Usually, the days leading up to Christmas include all the fanfare of baking cookies, opening presents, attending church, singing carols and hymns, and lighting Advent candles. And then the next day comes with an opportunity to enjoy it all again—this time just a little bit slower. It calls for flannel pajamas all day, making turkey sandwiches from Christmas dinner leftovers, playing with gifts, and eating up the rest of those cookies.

The events are over, but the lights are still twinkling. The traditions have been completed, but our hearts are filled with significance and satisfaction of our hope in Christ. Over the next few days, we will start to put away the decorations and throw away the gift wrap, but there are a few things we take with us into the new year—a refreshed sense of truth and celebration, and acknowledgement of the incomparable gift we have in Jesus.

Today’s reading is a perfect reminder of this, as it brings us to one of the most important traditions Jesus completed. On the eighth day of His life, as was customary, He was circumcised and presented in the temple. There, two aging prophets, Simeon and Anna, saw the child in the temple and prophesied that He is the Messiah, and then went on to praise God for allowing them to see the Lord’s salvation in the flesh (Luke 2:25–38).

In the book of Genesis, God promises to make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation, formed from the womb of a barren woman (Gn 17:1–8,17–19). As a reminder of this miraculous origin story and a sign of the covenant God made with Abraham, every Jewish male was to bear the mark of circumcision. Jesus didn’t need to be circumcised as a reminder of the promise—He was the very fulfillment of the promise.

Even from the very beginning, Jesus is identified with His parents, who were sinners, waiting on the fullness of that promise to come to fruition, and so they obeyed the requirements of the law: “When the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord” (Luke 2:22).

While it would be easy for this story to be overshadowed by the pomp and circumstance of His birth and the days that followed, Jesus’s circumcision is one of the most profound reminders of who He has always been: both perfectly divine and human. We see so many displays of Christ’s innate humanity in this passage. He wasn’t born into a family that was holier than most. Mary and Joseph continue to surrender themselves and their Son in humble obedience, following the law and trusting God when they could not see their next right step.

The offering of turtledoves is also one of my favorite details of this passage. Traditionally, new parents made an offering after childbirth in order to purify the mother after having given birth; the substitution of two birds was allowed if the were not able to afford a lamb. Jesus wasn’t born into perfect circumstances or an extremely wealthy family, but that only put His innate perfection on display. He fulfilled the law and took our punishment, not because we have done enough to deserve it, but because He is enough.

So now that we’ve lit all the Advent candles and given all of our presents, we are reminded that the love of Jesus is a gift we get to keep all year long, for all time. He is perfect, He is human, and He is exactly what we need—yesterday, today, and always. Amen.

Post Comments (38)

38 thoughts on "Jesus Presented in the Temple"

  1. Allison Joy says:

    Someone already touched on this, but the passage in Leviticus combined with the passage in Luke really struck me. Mary and Joseph couldn’t afford a lamb, so they presented two turtledoves instead. But the whole time, they were holding THE Lamb. Wow.

  2. Jennifer Anapol says:

    My heart is so full this day. I’m so thankful for the friends and family God has placed in my life. I’m so thankful that the gift of Jesus doesn’t get all used up, we can’t loose it and it never goes out of style. I remember growing up the day after Christmas was a little depressing. All of this anticipation and then it’s all gone. All the presents you thought would change your life, really aren’t quite as cool as you thought. I love that the gift of Jesus just keeps on giving. We can see that from today’s teaming. After he was born, the excitement and the hope wasn’t gone, it had just begun.

  3. Jennifer Anapol says:

    My heart is so full today. I’m so thankful for the friends and family the Lord has placed in my life. I’m thankful that the best gift of all, jesus,

  4. Peyton Grace Potts says:

    Simeon and Anna are pretty amazing people in the Bible who are often overlooked. Both of them devoted their time serving the Lord, and both were blessed to meet their Messiah.
    I love how the Scripture points out how Jesus grew physically, mentally, and spiritually. Too often, I focus too much on the physical. All three parts of our being are equally important. We need all three to truly live.

  5. Mari V says:

    I was sitting here trying to do my devotions (slept in) when my college age son walks into the room and we start talking. I am blessed! As most of you here know my life took a drastic change over two years ago. Changed the course of both my kids lives. It was hard. But God… My Jesus is faithful. This mornings devo reminded me when we dedicated our children to the Lord. And to “hear“ my son speak of his dreams, goals, I know without a doubt that he loves Jesus. He wants to be there for others. He wants to help others. I am blessed that he is at school that whenever needed you can stop and pray. Which he has done with fellow students. I am blessed.

  6. Dawn Daws says:

    I have loved this so much! During this busy and difficult month, starting my day by focusing on God’s love has been such a blessing.

  7. Diana Fleenor says:

    It’s a beautiful thing to read the story of Mary and Joseph following the law of Moses and bringing the baby Jesus to the temple for purification and dedication. It’s also good to read the testimony of Church Mouse who dedicated her children to the Lord when they were young. It the midst of that gladness, my heart also feels the sting of knowing that I did not do this for my child when she was young. In part I was unaware of such traditions as I don’t recall the church I grew up in doing such things. The church my husband and I began to attend when our daughter was young did begin to do child dedication services. But because of my husband’s unbelief (an unbeliever even though he came to church with us…long story) I didn’t think he would want to do this. I regret not at least asking him. But, here is the beauty in my story…the Lord has heard my confession of fear and hesitation. He has been faithful and just to forgive my sin and cleanse me of my unrighteousness. I trust him with today as my adult daughter and son-in-law who seem to have a liberal view of Christianity come in to celebrate a late Christmas with us. I am praying for opportunities to share the light of Christ with them which has been given to me more so in my years after parenting. His grace has captured my heart and soul in ways that I did not grasp when my child was under our nurturing care. It is my hope that as I daily dedicate myself to pray for my husband, my daughter and my son-in-law that the Lord will have mercy upon them and there will be true heart change in them as well. I praise the Lord for this hope!

    1. Mari V says:

      Praying for you Diana for those opportunities to come.

    2. Kelsey Tichenor says:

      Yes, praying Diana and believing the prayers of a faithful mother are heard and treasured by the Lord! Just like those of the mother of, Augustine, one of the greatest early church Fathers who wandered far from the Lord in his early years. The Lord heard his mother’s prayers and in the end drew him back to the loving arms of his Heavenly Father and used him in mighty ways for his kingdom. Praying for that kind of transformation in your family!

    3. Charlotte Meadows says:

      Praying for you!!!! So grateful God isn’t bound by time!

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