16 Dec. Luke 2:21-24

16 Dec.  Jewish rituals following Jesus's birth

"When the baby was eight days old, he was circumcised and was named Jesus ['God saves'], the name given by the angel before the baby began to grow in Mary's womb."

"When the time came for Mary and Joseph to do what the Law of Moses taught about being made pure [after giving birth], they took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord."

"(It is written in the Law of the Lord: 'Every first-born male shall be given to the Lord.')"

"Mary and Joseph also went to offer a sacrifice, as the Law of the Lord says: 'You must sacrifice two doves or two young pigeons'."

          (Luke 2:21-24)


When Jesus was eight days old, he was circumcised (by cutting off the foreskin of the penis) following the Jewish tradition, as a sign of God’s covenant agreement with the Jews. Genesis 17:12-13 says, "From now on when a baby boy is eight days old, you will circumcise him... Your bodies will be marked to show that you are part of my agreement that lasts for ever."

Thirty-three days later (once Mary was considered to be ‘purified’ or ‘ritually clean’ after giving birth), Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem, just 5 miles / 8 km from Bethlehem.

Here they consecrated their first-born son to God in accordance with the Jewish custom: "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Give every firstborn male to me. Every firstborn male among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal." (Exodus 13:1-2) (See also Numbers 18:14-16).

As they were not a wealthy family, they offered the purification sacrifice of two doves or two young pigeons in place of a lamb: "If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons... In this way the priest will make her clean so she will belong to the LORD again, and she will be clean." (see Leviticus 12:1-8).

This verse gives us some insight into Mary and Joseph's financial situation, and tells us that Jesus was brought up in a simple home with few material possessions. He was used to poverty, and never possessed the luxuries that are usually associated with one born to be king.

The photo shows Mary with the infant Jesus, on a mosaic at the Church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

You can read more about the Jewish rituals surrounding Jesus's birth @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/the-bible-journey/3-jesuss-childhood-journeys-b/jewish-religious-rituals/

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