And at the end of eight days, when He was circumcised, He was called Jesus … And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord … and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:21a, 22, 24 ESV)
January 1 is the Feast of the Circumcision. It marks the day Jesus turned eight days old, when all Jewish boys had to be circumcised as a sign that they were part of God’s people. From that point on, He would be under the Law of Moses.
When He was forty days old, His family had more requirements of the Law to carry out. Mary had to make a sacrifice at the temple after childbirth. And Jesus, as a firstborn son, had to be presented to God at the temple as well. So this meant a trip to Jerusalem, about six miles away.
As human beings, we, too, come under the Law—the Ten Commandments, the basic knowledge of right and wrong, and most of all, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). We fail at these things all the time. We know that the Law is good, but we are not good, we are broken, and the Law just proves that again and again to us. We need help. We need a Savior.
Jesus knows our plight. He came to do for us what we could never do—fulfilling God’s Law perfectly, and then setting us free from all the guilt and shame and death that we had brought on ourselves. It is as if He said to us, “I am yours and you are Mine. Your death has become My death, and My resurrection will be your life. Because you trust in Me, you are forgiven and safe and free forever.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for taking my place and setting me free. Amen.
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
Published December 29, 2021
* Have you ever tried to live a single day perfectly?
* If so, what happened? If not, what do you expect would happen?
* How does Jesus help you when you feel like a failure?
(To view the entire “Advent Devotions” mini-series, please click here.)