Luke 2:21-28

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

May 31, 2000

:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

circumcising – since the time of Abraham, circumcision was done on the eighth day (Gen. 17:12).  This was also the time at which a baby boy officially received his name.

JesusIesous – meaning “Yahweh is salvation”.  The Hebrew form was “ya-shua”.  The Greek form was “yay-soos”, the English versions are “Joshua” or “Jesus”.

Gabriel had appeared to Mary and had already given her the baby’s name:

(Luke 1:31 KJV)  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

:22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished

This is something that’s going to take place 40 days after the birth:

(Lev 12:1-4 KJV)  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, {2} Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. {3} And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. {4} And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.

A mother was considered ritually “unclean” after the birth of a child.  She was to wait a specific period of time and then go to the temple for a purification ceremony.  That’s what’s happening here.

There was a specific ritual that the mother was to go through, which was:

(Lev 12:6-8 KJV)  And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: {7} Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. {8} And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.

:22 they brought him to Jerusalem

Jerusalem is about 5.5 miles north of Bethlehem.

:22 to present him to the Lord;

This is something separate from Mary’s purification.  As Mary’s firstborn son, Jesus had to be “redeemed”, or bought back from the Lord.

(Exo 13:2 KJV)  Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.

(Exo 13:12-13 KJV)  That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD'S. {13} And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.

Later, God would specify a price of the redemption, five shekels.

(Num 18:15-16 KJV)  Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem. {16} And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.

It was in obedience to this “law of Moses,” that the Virgin presented her babe unto the Lord, “in the east gate of the court called Nicanor’s Gate …” [LIGHTFOOT].

:23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

This comes from the passage in Exodus 13.

: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.

As we saw in Leviticus 12:8, the sacrifice of the birds was allowed in the purification of the mother if she could not afford the sacrifice of a lamb.

In other words, Joseph and Mary were poor.


Good things can come from a poor home.

Jesus grew up in a poor family.
I think that some of us think that if we work real hard and earn lots and lots of money, that we will be able to give the best to our kids.
It’s good to work hard and provide for our family.
But our kids don’t need lots of money and lots of things.  They need loving parents.


Jesus understands.

(Heb 2:18 NLT)  Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted.
(Heb 4:15-16 NLT)  This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. {16} So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.
He knows what it’s like to be poor.  He understands.  What’s amazing is that He was poor on purpose.
(2 Cor 8:9 KJV)  For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel

justdikaios righteous, observing divine laws; in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God

devouteulabes taking hold well; reverencing God, pious, religious

Simeon was a godly man.  He lived in a way that pleased God.

consolationparaklesis a calling near, summons, (esp. for help); exhortation, admonition, encouragement; consolation, comfort, solace; that which affords comfort or refreshment; thus of the Messianic salvation (so the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter)

Jesus said,

(John 14:16 KJV)  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
another”, meaning another of the same kind.  The Holy Spirit would be another Comforter, like the original, Jesus.

:25 and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

This is the same wording that Jesus used to describe the Baptism or the Filling of the Holy Spirit.

(Acts 1:8 KJV)  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

revealedchrematizo to transact business, esp. to manage public affairs; to advise or consult with one about public affairs; to give a response to those consulting an oracle, to give a divine command or admonition, to teach from heaven; to be divinely commanded, admonished, instructed; to be the mouthpiece of divine revelations, to promulgate the commands of God; This is a “perfect” tense, meaning that the action started in the past and continued into the present.

God had shown Him that he wouldn’t die until He had seen the Messiah with his own eyes.


True or false?

This was a real truth that God had shown him.
Things like this fascinate us.  I think there is something in a lot of us that would love to be the recipient of something like this.
And lots of folks have talked themselves into something paralleling this.
In Jerusalem, they have a part of the police force dedicated to keeping an eye on the “nuts”.  They were especially busy over the New Years’, with the calendar turning into the new Millennium.  A favorite figure that people like to pretend of themselves is to be “Elijah” or “John the Baptist”.  People know that Elijah is supposed to be appearing before the Messiah comes back again, and they would like to think that they are him.
Please be careful about these kinds of things.
God had shown this in truth to only one man.  His name was Simeon.  How did he know?  I don’t know.  He just did.

:27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

The Spirit led him to go into the temple on the very day, at the very time that Jesus was brought in by his parents.


Led by the Spirit.

I love to see how God works things into our lives as we learn to simply stay close to Him.  You will see all sorts of amazing “coincidences” taking place.
The key is to stay close to the Lord so that He can be leading you.

:28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

blessedeulogeo to praise, celebrate with praises; to invoke blessings

Keep in mind, there was no golden halo over Jesus’ head.  His parents hadn’t hired a promoter to make sure all the TV news crews had shown up.  As far as I can tell, there was no evidence that this was anything other than a young family coming to the temple to dedicate their firstborn son.


Discerning of spirits.

I kind of wonder if there isn’t a little bit of this gift being at work here.
I’ve been learning a lot about the discerning of spirits lately.  This is a supernatural ability from God to be able to know or understand the nature of something, whether it is good or bad.  It may be the knowledge concerning a person’s human spirit, it may be the knowledge that something is demonic, it may be the knowledge that something is of God, as it would be here.
There is a difference between “discernment” and the “discerning of spirits”.
“Discernment” is something that we are all supposed to have.  It is the taking of facts, observations, words, things that are observable, and making a decision or judgment concerning them.  It’s reading a book and being able to pick out the words that are in contradiction to Scripture.  It’s listening to something on the radio and knowing that it agrees with the Word of God.
“Discerning of spirits” is not necessarily based on observable facts.  It’s just an insight, a feeling that you have about something.  There was nothing observable that would tell Simeon that this was the Messiah.  Jesus looked like any other baby.
“Discerning of spirits” is not about finding fault in everything.
Sometimes that is involved, as it apparently was with Peter and Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), or Peter with Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8).  Peter just knew that something was wrong in these cases.

If a person is simply critical and finds fault in everything, this isn’t the discerning of spirits.  This is a critical spirit.

But sometimes the “discerning of spirits” is about realizing that something is right, that something is good, as it is here with Simeon.
If you have the discerning of spirits, don’t feel bad that you at times will experience the negative side of the gift.  God has given you a gift to be a protection for the church.
What do you do when you feel you have this gift, and something happens that triggers it?
Pray.  Wait for God to show you what to do.  Don’t be pushed into doing anything until God tells you what to do.  It could be that God will just have you pray.
Act.  If God shows you to do something, do it.  But do it in love.  Do it quietly.  Don’t turn it into gossip.