Jesus Circumcised & Presented to the Lord (Part 1)

Luke 2:21-24 reads:

"And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, 'Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD'), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, 'A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.'"

The circumcision of Hebrew boys was to be on the eighth day of life (cf. Gen. 17:12; Lev. 12:3; Phil. 3:5). Mary and Joseph give the Child the name they were commanded to (cf. Luke 1:31). The days of Mary's purification would have been forty in all (cf. Lev. 12:1-5). Joseph and Mary brought the Child to Jerusalem "to present Him to the Lord." When God killed the firstborn of Egypt, He spared the firstborn of Israel. From then on, the firstborn males of Israel were considered to be set apart (i.e., "holy to the Lord") and had to be redeemed with money. Many Old Testament passages detail this (cf. Exo. 12:29,30; 13:2,11-15; Num. 3:11-13; 8:14-19; 18:15,16).

In addition to redeeming the firstborn males, the law also required a lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or turtledove as a sin offering. However, if the family was poor and unable to make such offerings, they could offer two pigeons or two turtledoves instead (cf. Lev. 12:6,8). Undoubtedly, Joseph and Mary would never have used the lesser sacrifice if they could have afforded the regular and more costly one, especially since they knew the greatness of the Child. One should note that poverty is not dishonorable in God's sight, for Mary was honored by God above all women.

The narrative continues:

"And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: 'Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel'" (Luke 2:25-32).

Simeon is described as a "just and devout" man. He was waiting for the Hope (or Consolation) of Israel (cf. Acts 28:20). This has reference to the promise made to Abraham for Israel and all the world (cf. Gen. 12:3; 22:18; Isa. 40). Truly, Jesus was (and is) the "Hope of Israel"! The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would see the Lord's Messiah before he died. This was a great blessing (cf. Luke 10:23,24). Simeon was influenced by the Spirit to come into the temple. The Spirit also informed Simeon that this was the Christ Child, and out of joy, he thanked God! God had fulfilled His promise to Simeon. He was now ready to die peacefully (cf. Phil. 1:21). Literally, he had not seen the salvation of the Lord since Jesus was still only a baby, but he knows that through Jesus, God's salvation would come.

Simeon mentions that God's salvation had been "prepared" and was now starting to be implemented through Christ (cf. Gal. 4:4). Light is promised to the Gentiles and glory is promised to Israel. The Gentiles were regarded as being in darkness and ignorance (and therefore in need of light), and the Messiah would bring the highest glory to Israel by being the Savior of the world.