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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


6. Jesus Circumcised and Presented to God in the Temple (Luke 2:21-38)

LUKE 2:21-24
21 When eight days were fulfilled for the circumcision of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22 When the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”

The Son of God is delivered from the law, for in his unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit from eternity, he set all laws and their penalties to lead sinners to repentance and faith through His sacrifice. Christ is the Lawmaker and the Lord of the Sabbath. He has the right to change and fulfill the judgments. But as the Son of Man and the Advocate of mankind, he was subject to the ordinances of the law, bore our sins, and suffered the wrath of God, as Paul wrote in (Galatians 4:4-5) about his birth.

In the Old Testament, circumcision has three implications:

- Man’s confession of his corruption as inherent in him from birth, for every man is a sinner from childhood and deserves death and destruction.

- He who becomes circumcised is admitted into covenant with God, and is also admitted into the people of grace, for the pure sacrifice atoned for his sin (Romans 3:25).

- Decision to resist self-interest, and living apart from God, and so committing himself to the Lord’s service as a member of the holy nation.

If we apply these three points to Jesus, we will see that in performing this rite he accepted to die in the wrath of God for our sins. As our representative he established a covenant with God, for he who was chosen from the beginning remained in covenant relationship with his Father. Furthermore in his circumcision, by giving up his self-will voluntarily to his Father’s praise, he served his chosen ones who are the new family of God (John 1:12; 1 Peter 1:8-22).

Study these secrets of the Law, and you will find their summary in the name of Jesus, which he was given during this rite. His name means that God helps the world only through reconciliation in Christ, which began on the day of circumcision. People only called him “Jesus” after the lamb of redemption was put on him, as was customary in the rite of circumcision. Then the name of the Holy One appeared.

Joseph had Mary's Son Jesus circumcised and given his name eight days after his birth in Bethlehem.

However, Mary, his mother had to perform the rite of purification according to the Old Testament. Forty days after their isolation, the holy family traveled to Jerusalem, where Mary brought two pigeons for herself: one as a burnt offering, and the other as a sin offering (Leviticus 12:8). The sin offering symbolizes that all people are born in sins and need God’s forgiveness. Mary by making this offering showed her poverty, for the rich were required to offer a lamb for a burnt offering, whereas the poor were permitted to offer two pigeons. Mary offered this sacrifice voluntarily, in proportion to the family's means. Though the Savior was pure from any moral defilement in his conception and birth, Mary knew her situation as a human being, and brought the sin offering for herself.

In these words, we also read about fulfillment of a third ordinance of the law, that is redeeming Jesus from the office of priesthood, for every first-born male child was regarded as “holy” to the Lord, and was dedicated to minister to him in the temple as long as he lived. However, all the firstborn were delivered from this service through the appointment of the tribe of Levi in the place of the eldest sons, to serve in the sanctuary (Numbers 3:13,40). In remembrance of this truth, that every firstborn is automatically made holy to God, a firstborn male child was to be presented in before God, and his parents had to pay the redemption-money for him, five shekels, equivalent to a carpenter’s wages for forty days (Numbers 3:47).

In spite of Jesus’ redemption from priesthood ministry, he remained the High Priest for all people, and had always consecrated himself to God, for all the provisions of the law were not only fulfilled in him, but he himself fulfilled them through his love, truth, and sacrifice over and above all the law's demands.

PRAYER: Our Lord Jesus, we thank you because you fulfilled the law by your circumcision and redemption in the temple, and delivered us from the judgments of the Old Testament so that by the sprinkling of your holy blood we may serve God.

QUESTION 27: How did Jesus’ parents fulfill the law of the Old Testament?


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