The Presentation at the Temple


It was a rule among the Jews that the first boy child born to a family was to be taken to the Temple in Jerusalem. There his parents would make an offering to the Lord, to show that the child belonged to the Lord. 

When Jesus was forty days old, Joseph and Mary brought Him to the Temple. As an offering Joseph brought a pair of young pigeons to place upon the altar of the Temple. 

Living in Jerusalem at that time was a very holy man, a man whom the Lord had spoken to directly. His name was Simeon, and he was very old, but the Lord had told him that he would not die until he had seen the Christ, or Savior, whose coming had been predicted in the Bible. 

One day the Spirit of the Lord urged Simeon to go to the Temple. He went, and was there when Joseph and Mary came with the baby Jesus, to present their offering. When Simeon saw the child, the Lord let him know that this was the Christ who had been promised. Simeon took Jesus in his arms and gave thanks to the Lord for letting him see the Christ: 

"Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." 

Then Simeon blessed Joseph and Mary. He also told Mary some of the things the future would hold, for her son and for her. He told her of the greatness her son would attain, but he added that sorrow, like a sword, would pierce her heart. 

There was also in the Temple a woman named Anna, who spoke with God. She spent all her time praying. And the Lord also revealed to her that the baby Jesus was the Savior who had been promised. She too gave thanks to the Lord, and told the other people in the Temple that the Redeemer had come. 

And so it was that a few people who kept close to God knew Jesus was the Son of God. But to the rest of the people He was merely the son of a carpenter named Joseph, who came from Nazareth. 

However, there was one other man in Israel who believed that Jesus was no ordinary child. This was the cruel King Herod. When Herod learned that the three Wise Men had returned home, without bringing him word of the child they called a king, he was furious. In his anger and fear he did a terrible thing. He gave orders to have all the children in Bethlehem, of two years old and under, killed. By doing this he felt sure he would eliminate the Christ child. 

But God had already warned Joseph of Herod's cruel plans. So Joseph took Mary and the infant, and fled into Egypt, where Herod had no power. It was there the family stayed until King Herod died. After Herod's death, Joseph set out to return to Bethlehem. But upon learning that Herod's cruel son Archelaus ruled that part of Israel, Joseph decided to go back to Nazareth, where he and Mary had grown up. There, in the land of Galilee, Jesus grew to manhood, working with His father as a carpenter.


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