The Temple. This amazing artifact is here to stay, at least in this devotion. I can’t seem to get away from it. The same temple that was built by Solomon is being rebuilt today. Slowly but surely. This will be the third temple. The rebuilding of the third temple began in 1987. The second temple was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. Just think, in our lifetimes the third temple could be completed, almost 2000 years later. This blows me away.
Today , I want to focus a little on Jesus’s second visit to the temple. At only 8 days old, Jesus was taken to the temple by his dad to be circumcised. Poor Mary had to stay home for this event. In the old days, women had to stay in quarantine ( sound familiar) for 40 days after birth, and they would go to their priest for purification. Well, Jesus’s mom was able to go to the actual “Temple” for her purification. Let’s take a look at the scripture from Luke.
Jesus Presented in the Temple
22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[a]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” Luke 2:22-24
Oh look, an offering was made. We have become experts by now in sacrifices and offerings. Mary and Joseph, the parents of the Messiah, had to give an offering to God when they came into the Temple, a pair of doves or two young pigeons. A pair of turtle doves.—The law of Leviticus 12:8 allowed these to be substituted for the normal sacrifice of a lamb as a burnt-offering, when the mother was “not able” to offer the former. This was most likely an indication of the poverty of of their present situation. Hard to imagine, huh? Well the best part of the story is what happens next.
Let’s take a look at the next part of the scripture.
25 A man named Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[c] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke 2:25-35
Simeon was a smart man. The holy spirit was upon him. The holy spirit did not live within until later after Jesus’s death. But he knew. There on those temple steps that he was in the presence of greatness. This was revealed to him by the holy spirit. He knew he was in the presence of our savior, the Holy One, the Messiah.