Purification of Mary

Purification of Mary and Joseph

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Purification of Mary
LUKE 2 COMMENTARY
Luke 2:21 Circumcision of Jesus

Luke 2:22-24 Purification of Mary

Luke 2:25-35 Simeon
Luke 2:36-40 Anna the Prophetess
LUKE 2:22  22 And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord

What is meant by “their purification” (Luke 2:22)?
The purification of Mary and Joseph. Mary was ceremonially unclean after having given birth and Joseph was also ceremonially unclean for having touched Mary while she was bleeding, so the Jewish law required the purification of Mary, as well as Joseph.

How long did their purification require?
The purification of Mary required forty days: “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a woman has conceived and borne a son, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of her customary impurity she shall be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Then she shall continue in the blood of her purification thirty-three days. She shall not touch any holy thing nor come into the sanctuary until the days of her purification are completed’ ” (Leviticus 12:1-4). The purification of Joseph required less than one day: “If a woman has a discharge, and the discharge from her body is blood, she shall be set apart seven days, and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening” (Leviticus 15:19). So as a couple, “the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were completed” (Luke 2:22) forty days - the longer of the two - after Mary gave birth to Jesus.

Why did Joseph and Mary bring Jesus to Jerusalem after their purification?
To “present Him” (Luke 2:22) to God the Father.

LUKE 2:23-24  23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord: “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

What is meant by “Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord” (Luke 2:23)?
Every firstborn son - “male opening the womb” - was to be set apart - i.e., “consecrated” - to God as He commanded in the Old Testament: Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Consecrate to Me every firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine” (Exodus 13:1-2).

What was offered as “a sacrifice” (Luke 22:24)?
“A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons” (Luke 22:24).

Why?
God ordained new mothers to offer them as sacrifice after giving birth: 6 When the days of her purification are completed, whether for a son or a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tabernacle of meeting a lamb in its first year as a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove as a sin offering. 7 Then he shall offer it before the LORD and make atonement for her. And she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who has given birth to a son or a daughter. 8 ‘And if she cannot afford a lamb, then she may bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons - one as a burnt offering and the other as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean’ ” (Leviticus 12:6-8).

What does Mary offering an extra bird instead of a lamb indicate?
She could not “afford a lamb” (Leviticus 12:8), which means Joseph and Mary were poor.

What does their poverty indicate about the wise men’s visit?
The wise men and their expensive gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh reached Jesus after He was presented at the temple, which means the wise men were not present when Jesus was lying in a manger just after His birth.

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