Monday after the First Sunday after Christmas
Scripture: St. Luke 2:22-24 (NKJV)
22 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 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 what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
This section of Luke is replete with Old Testament imagery. Prior to this in verse 21 we had the circumcision and naming of Jesus, and now His purification and presentation. All these events are consistent with the proper treatment of a firstborn son of a Jewish family. We see first of all, then, the devotion of Mary and Joseph in adhering to the law of Moses. In doing so Jesus gets a proper start in being obedient to the old covenant.
In today’s reading we first read of the law of purification outlined in Leviticus 12, which commanded an offering of two turtledoves or two young pigeons; one for a sin offering and one for a burnt offering. Notable is the fact that Mary and Joseph were poor and couldn’t afford the preferred lamb for the burnt offering. What is hidden in this, of course, is that Jesus is the preferred lamb.
In Exodus 13, we hear these words: “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine.'” In Numbers 3 we read that the parents could redeem the child from lifetime service for a payment of five shekels. Note that Mary and Joseph make no such payment. As their child Jesus is presented, He’s given over to the Lord’s service in unprecedented fashion. As God, He’ll serve on behalf of all people by virtue of His perfect life and sacrificial death. Behold, God’’s pure and perfect Lamb presented to take away the sins of the world.