When you can’t afford the offering.
Luke 2: 22-27
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 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord’), 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’.
After the birth of a child the mother became unclean according to the Jewish custom and couldn’t be permitted to worship at the Temple or even be seen in public.
If the child was a boy this would last for 40 days and for a girl it would be 80 days.
After this time the parents would have to purchase the sacrificial lamb or birds in order to be clean again. The birds were for the poor people’s offering, which Joseph and Mary at that time were.
Can you imagine what was going on in the minds of these parents knowing they could not afford the lamb? That they had to bring a poor man’s sacrifice?
Mary had given birth to the Son of God, the Christ and he deserved a better offering than they could bring.
Joseph and Mary would never have bought a pair of cheap birds for the sacrifice if they could have afforded more.
However, I see a different picture. I see this couple walking to the temple carrying the Lamb of God in their arms. Their lamb was more superior to all the other lambs.
You see, if you are carrying His presence then you might not have what others have, but you certainly have all that is needed.
It is important for us to read ahead.
V25-27. “Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.”
V38 “She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she (Anna) gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
So picture this: on that day we have 2 poor parents carrying the Lamb of God into the Temple and they meet 2 old people, Simeon who is concerned with the comforting of suffering Israel and Anna who knows first-hand how the people were longing for their redemption and a Saviour to come.
So Luke is clearly showing us what is important. Can you see it yet?
Poor Joseph and Mary … carrying the lamb of God.
Suffering Simeon … who had the Holy Spirit on him, who received from Him and was moved by Him.
Longing for change Anna … a worshipper.
Today however you describe your situation and circumstance:
The question is are you carrying His presence?
You may be poor but are you carrying His presence?
You may be suffering but are you carrying His presence?
You may be longing for change but are you carrying His presence?
You may be well on in years but are you carrying His presence?
The list continues and you fill it in. Your life is not perfect by any means but are you carrying His presence?
This incredible world-changing story tells us that life may not look like what people had expected. There may be suffering and difficulties. But this story can become your story. Here are 4 people of different ages gathered around a little baby. This baby is for all ages. Immanuel. God with Us. As we end this year make that commitment to learn to host Him and to know that hosting Him is all that is needed.