And to offer a sacrifice - Neither mother nor child was considered as in the Lord's covenant, or under the Divine protection, till these ceremonies, prescribed by the law, had been performed.
A pair of turtle doves, etc. - One was for a burnt-offering, and the other for a sin-offering: see Leviticus 12:8. The rich were required to bring a lamb, but the poor and middling classes were required to bring either two turtle doves, or two pigeons. This is a proof that the holy family were not in affluence. Jesus sanctified the state of poverty, which is the general state of man, by passing through it. Therefore the poor have the Gospel preached unto them; and the poor are they who principally receive it.
Though neither Mary nor her son needed any of these purifications, for she was immaculate, and He was the Holy One, yet, had she not gone through the days of purification according to the law, she could not have appeared in the public worship of the Most High, and would have been considered as an apostate from the faith of the Israel of God; and had not He been circumcised and publicly presented in the temple, he could not have been permitted to enter either synagogue or temple, and no Jew would have heard him preach, or had any intercourse or connection with him. These reasons are sufficient to account for the purification of the holy virgin, and for the circumcision of the most holy Jesus.
And to offer a sacrifice - Those who were able on such an occasion were required to offer a lamb for a burnt-offering, and a pigeon or a turtle-dove for a sin-offering. If not able to bring a “lamb,” then they were permitted to bring two turtle-doves or two young pigeons, Leviticus 12:6, Leviticus 12:8.
Turtle-doves - Doves distinguished for having a plaintive and tender voice. By Mary‘s making this offering she showed her poverty; and our Saviour, by coming in a state of poverty, has shown that it is not dishonorable to be poor. No station is dishonorable where “God” places us. He knows what is best for us, and he often makes a state of poverty an occasion of the highest blessings. If “with” poverty he grants us, as is often the case, peace, contentment, and religion, it is worth far more than all the jewels of Golconda or the gold of Mexico. If it be asked why, since the Saviour was pure from any moral defilement in his conception and birth, it was necessary to offer such a sacrifice: why was it necessary that he should be circumcised, since he had no sin, it may be answered:
1.That it was proper to fulfil all righteousness, and to show obedience to the law, Matthew 3:15.
2.It was necessary for the future usefulness of Christ. Unless he had been circumcised, he could not have been admitted to any synagogue or to the temple. He would have had no access to the people, and could not have been regarded as the Messiah.
Both he and Mary, therefore, yielded obedience to the laws of the land, and thus set us an example that we should walk in their steps. Compare the notes at Matthew 3:15.
In view of what Heaven is doing to save the lost, how can those who are partakers of the riches of the grace of Christ withdraw their interest and their sympathies from their fellow men? How can they indulge in pride of rank or caste, and despise the unfortunate and the poor? CS 160.1
Yet it is too true that the pride of rank, and the oppression of the poor which prevail in the world, exist also among the professed followers of Christ. With many, the sympathies that ought to be exercised in full measure toward humanity, seem frozen up. Men appropriate to themselves the gifts entrusted to them wherewith to bless others. The rich grind the face of the poor, and use the means thus gained to indulge their pride and love of display even in the house of God. The poor are made to feel that it is too costly a thing for them to attend the service of God. The feeling exists with many that only the rich can engage in the public worship of God so as to make a good impression on the world. Were it not that the Lord has revealed His love to the poor and lowly who are contrite in heart, this world would be a sad place for the poor man.... CS 160.2Read in context »
The poor widow gave her living to do the little that she did. She deprived herself of food in order to give those two mites to the cause she loved. And she did it in faith, believing that her heavenly Father would not overlook her great need. It was this unselfish spirit and childlike faith that won the Saviour's commendation. CS 176.1
Among the poor there are many who long to show their gratitude to God for His grace and truth. They greatly desire to share with their more prosperous brethren in sustaining His service. These souls should not be repulsed. Let them lay up their mites in the bank of heaven. If given from a heart filled with love for God, these seeming trifles become consecrated gifts, priceless offerings, which God smiles upon and blesses.—The Desire of Ages, 614-616. CS 176.2Read in context »
This chapter is based on Luke 2:21-38.
About forty days after the birth of Christ, Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, and to offer sacrifice. This was according to the Jewish law, and as man's substitute Christ must conform to the law in every particular. He had already been subjected to the rite of circumcision, as a pledge of His obedience to the law. DA 50.1Read in context »
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:14, 15. DA 231.1
The Messiah's coming had been first announced in Judea. In the temple at Jerusalem the birth of the forerunner had been foretold to Zacharias as he ministered before the altar. On the hills of Bethlehem the angels had proclaimed the birth of Jesus. To Jerusalem the magi had come in search of Him. In the temple Simeon and Anna had testified to His divinity. “Jerusalem, and all Judea” had listened to the preaching of John the Baptist; and the deputation from the Sanhedrin, with the multitude, had heard his testimony concerning Jesus. In Judea, Christ had received His first disciples. Here much of His early ministry had been spent. The flashing forth of His divinity in the cleansing of the temple, His miracles of healing, and the lessons of divine truth that fell from His lips, all proclaimed that which after the healing at Bethesda He had declared before the Sanhedrin,—His Sonship to the Eternal. DA 231.2Read in context »