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. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 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.(Luke 2: 21-24)
Eight days have passed, since the birth of the Savior, therefore the time had come for Joseph and Mary to present Jesus for circumcision. The Son of God would come under the Law and covenant of God with all of its obligations and privileges. He as a Son of Israel, would bear the mark of the covenant.
Circumcision bears a deeper ,spiritual meaning. There is something wrong with everything that pertains to natural birth, since the fall of man. Scriptures such as “In sin did my mother conceive me…”, and, “the wicked are estranged from the womb, speaking lies…” teach the doctrine of original sin. Circumcision presupposes participation in Adam’s guilt and shame.
This child , of course, was not born in sin, for he was conceived of the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin Mary. But he came to identify with sinners, and to be “numbered with the transgressors”.
Therefore his first blood-shedding points to His last.”HE who knew no sin was made to be sin for us, that we might be the Righteousness of God in Christ”(2 Cor 5:21).
Joseph and Mary were yet bound by the law to submit to two other God ordained rituals involving the birth of the Son of God, the redemption of the first born, and the purification of Mary. These involved a trip to the Temple in Jerusalem.
Jesus, as firstborn male, must be redeemed at the age of 30 days;
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. 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.(Numbers 18:16)
Joseph would find a Cohen(Priest) to perform the rite, which went something like this;
Jesus would be handed over to the Cohen, then Joseph would give the five shekels Redemption price to the Cohen who would then hand Jesus back to Joseph.
Joseph would say something like,
“Blessed art thou O Lord Our God,King of the Universe, who hast sanctified us by thy commandments, and given us command concerning the redemption of the son.”
“Blessed art Thou O lord our God, King of the universe, who hast Kept us in Life, and hast preserved us, and enabled us to reach this season”
The Cohen would then take the redemption money, and holding it over the head of the child, says-
“This instead of that, this in commutation for that, this in remission for that. May this child enter into life,into the law,and the fear of Heaven.May it be God’s will that even as he has been admitted to redemption, so may he enter into the law, the nuptial canopy, and into good deeds. Amen.”
The Cohen then places his hand over the child’s head and pronounces the following benediction;
God make thee as Ephraim and Mannaseh. The Lord Bless thee and Keep thee, the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; the Lord turn his face unto thee and give thee peace.
The LORD is thy guardian; the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. For Length of days and years of life and peace shall they add to thee.The LORD shall guard thee from all evil; He shall guard thy soul. Amen.
Now Mary and Joseph, had given their son up to the LORD and had received him back, by way of Redemption. One ritual remained.
Mary must make her way to the court of women, which which was a raised gallery section overlooking the main court of the temple reserved for Jewish men. She would have bought her two turtle doves at trumpet number three, for the daily offering and service was beginning.
Eidersheim notes that but those women who had come for purification after birth were moved to the place nearest the very gate which opened into the Holy Place, where the offering and incense was arising,
The chief of the ministrant lay-representatives of Israel on duty (the so-called ‘station-men’) ranged those, who presented themselves before the Lord as offerers of special sacrifices, within the wickets on either side the great Nicanor Gate, at the top of the fifteen steps which led up from the Court of the Women to that of Israel.
It was, as if they were to be brought nearest to the Sanctuary; as if theirs were to be specially the ‘prayers’ that rose in the cloud of incense from the Golden Altar; as if for them specially the sacrifices were laid on the Altar of Burnt-offering; as if theirs was a larger share of the benediction which, spoken by the lips of the priests, seemed like Jehovah’s answer to the prayers of the people; theirs especially the expression of joy symbolised in the drink-offering, and the hymn of praise whose Tris-Hagion filled the Temple.
From where they stood they could see it all, share in it, rejoice in it. And now the general service was over, and only those remained who brought special sacrifices, or who lingered near them that had such, or whose loved abode was ever in the Temple. The purification-service, with such unspoken prayer and praise as would be the outcome of a grateful heart, was soon ended, and they who had shared in it were Levitically clean. Now all stain was removed, and, as the Law put it, they might again partake of sacred offerings.(Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah)
But on that day, The LORD had one more confirmation for Joseph and Mary before they could return home after the service and participation in the sacrifice, as the other worshippers were doing. A prophetic Word would be uttered over the child by one of God’s choice but obscure servants.