The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

After the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph followed the Mosaic law concerning a newborn. I think they saw their obedience as worship. Both Mary and Joseph had supernatural encounters as God communicated with them before Jesus was born. They recognized the greatness of God and responded in the way they knew by following the law.

Their Obedience to Three Ceremonies

  1. Circumcision. Every Jewish boy was circumcised on the 8th day to show that he was part of the covenantal nation of Israel. This was also the time when the baby would have been formally named. Mary and Joseph named Him Jesus, just as God had instructed them. This ceremony was most likely done in Bethlehem.
  2. Redemption of the Firstborn. Exodus 13:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Dedicate to me every firstborn among the Israelites. The first offspring to be born, of both humans and animals, belongs to me.”[1] In this ceremony, Mary and Joseph would acknowledge that Jesus belonged to God and would buy back, or redeem, the child through an offering. This would have been done at the Temple in Jerusalem, probably concurrently with the next ceremony.
  3. Purification of the Mother. Leviticus 12 describes this ceremony. It was to take place at the Temple forty days after the birth of a son. Because there is blood in the baby’s delivery, the mother is ceremonially unclean. An offering of a lamb was the usual sacrifice to declare the mother clean, but if the family was poor, they could bring a dove or pigeon instead. Luke 2: 24 So they offered the sacrifice required… two young pigeons. [2]This detail tells us that Mary and Joseph were too poor to sacrifice a lamb.

In Their Worship, They did Bring a Lamb

Even though Mary and Joseph brought two pigeons to sacrifice for the mother’s purification, they also brought a lamb. Figuratively Jesus would become a lamb, as John the Baptist would later say. John 1: 29 The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! [3]

“Our Lord’s relationship to the Law is an important part of His saving ministry. He was made under the Law (Gal. 4:4), and though He rejected man’s religious traditions, He obeyed God’s Law perfectly (John 8:46). He bore the curse of the Law for us (Gal. 3:13) and set us free from bondage (Gal. 5:1).”[4]

Jesus, as a Passover Lamb, would die on the cross to pay the price for our sins. When, as in Passover, we go under the blood, we are saved from death. Jesus, the perfect, sinless lamb, became our substitute, so as we trust Him, our relationship with God is restored, and we receive eternal life. As you begin a new year, may you worship God through your obedience.

To learn more about obedience as worship, listen here:

[1-3] Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.

[4] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 177). Victor Books.

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