Mary—Humility—Trust: there was the awe-stricken, pondering mother. This is a beautiful picture of a humble, trusting heart. Mary had been told that her child was of God, truly of God. Above all others she knew that the Messiah, the very Son of God, had now come. She had been through so much: pregnant, yet unmarried; the possibility of being found out and of rumors heaped upon rumors; the discussions with Joseph and with her parents; the long trip from Nazareth; the exhaustion of giving birth without help in a smelly stable; the visit of some rough-hewn shepherds with an amazing story of the heavenly host’s proclaiming the praises of God. Mary was tired, as weary and exhausted as a person could be. So much had happened, and she was at the very center of it all. No one could even begin to know the thoughts that had filled her mind for nine months, nor could anyone know the feelings and emotions of the experience. The wonder, the amazement, the astounding reality was too much to talk about. All she could do was continue in the humble sweetness that had so characterized her over the past months. She merely bowed once again in humble adoration to God and quietly entrusted all these things into God’s keeping. She said nothing, only pondered in her heart what was happening.
7 (2:20) Shepherds: there were the common, non-religious shepherds worshipping God.
a. The shepherds had spread the message, but note a shocking fact. The shepherds alone are seen praising God. No one else is seen seeking or praising the Savior.
b. The shepherds were praising God for what they had heard and seen. God had spoken to them and they had received the message. They obeyed God’s instructions to seek out the Messiah; therefore, they had been privileged to see the Messiah. They had reason to praise God. (How many hear and see, yet never respond and never praise God?)
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” ().
8 (2:21) Jesus Christ, Name: there was the unusual naming of the child. The child was named by God Himself.
a. The child Jesus was named by God before He was conceived in the womb ().
b. The name Jesus (iesous) means Savior or He will save. The Hebrew form of the name is Joshua which means Jehovah is salvation.
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” ().
“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” ().
9 (2:22–23) Jesus Christ, Fulfills Law: there was the unexpected observance of the legal ceremonies. There were three legal ceremonies which Jesus underwent.
a. There was the ceremony of circumcision (see DEEPER STUDY # 1—Ph. 3:3).
b. There was the ceremony of purification. This was a ceremony Mary had to go through. After the birth of a boy child, a woman was considered unclean for forty days (eighty for a girl child). She could work around the home and engage in normal activities, but she could not take part in religious ceremonies. She was religiously, that is, ceremonially, unclean. After a woman’s forty or eighty days were up, she was to make an offering in the temple ().
c. There was the ceremony of dedication to the Lord (v. 23; see , , ; ; ). A male child was presented (dedicated) in the temple when the family was close to Jerusalem.
Why would Jesus, the Son of God, be subjected to the legal observances of the law? He was not a stranger to the covenants of God (circumcision). He had created the covenants Himself. He was not lacking in commitment (the Dedication Ceremony). He was God Himself, the One to whom all babies were dedicated, yet He was subjected to all the legal requirements. Why? Very simply …
“[He was] made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” ().
“[He was] made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” ().
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (; see note—).
10 (2:24) Offering of Poor: there was the deliberate choice of God to have a poor family bear His Son. Note that Mary offered two pigeons. This was the offering of the poor. Rich people were required to offer a lamb and a pigeon. Therefore, God chose a poor family to rear His only Son in an ordinary home without any luxuries.
Thought 1. No matter what we have to bear in life, Christ has already borne it—even poverty (see note 3— for discussion). He knows the suffering we undergo; therefore, He is able to strengthen and carry us through the suffering.