The morning we attended Restoration Church where Don Munn (son-in-law Nathan’s) is the pastor. It is always good to connect with people we have met during our previous trips to Atlanta. A highlight of our day was connecting with Tom and Judy Price. They are our long-time friends from Arkon, Ohio. Tom is originally from Atlanta and was in the area visiting his brother. We have not seen them since they visited Colorado two years ago as I was being released from the hospital. They ended up spending many hours in a hospital emergency room with us, when I was hospitalized with an infection after being home for three days.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “God sent his Son, who was born from a woman and lived under the law. God did this so that he could buy the freedom of those who were under the law. God’s purpose was to make us his children.” Galatians 4:4-5 ERV
One of the early events after the birth of Jesus involved a trip from Bethlehem to Jerusalem to offer the sacrifices required for the firstborn son. “They brought Jesus to Jerusalem so that they could present him to the Lord. It is written in the law of the Lord: “When a mother’s first baby is a boy, he shall be called ‘special for the Lord.’” (Luke 2:22,23 ERV)
Jesus was born in the House of David and lived under the Law of Moses as one of God’s chosen people. When God brought His people out of Egypt the death of the firstborn was the final plague. At that time God gave to His people these instructions, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “You must give me every male in Israel who is his mother’s first child…” (Exodus 13:1,2 ERV)
The law later instructed that a sacrifice of a lamb needed to be made as a substitute and in place of the firstborn and as a sign of that child’s dedication to the Lord. If the family could not afford a lamb, a dove was accepted as an alternate sacrifice. “If the woman cannot afford a lamb, she may bring two doves or two young pigeons.” (Lev. 12:8 ERV) That is the sacrifice Luke says that Mary and Joseph brought as Jesus was dedicated to the Lord, circumcised and received His official name, the name “Jesus.”[Perhaps this one incident is the overlooked evidence that the visit of the wise men came in the first two years of Jesus’ birth. We see that Herod killed the boys two years and younger based on the information given by the wise men. We also see that if Joseph and Mary would have been in possession of large quantities of gold, they would have been able to afford a lamb for the sacrifice.]
The devotion of Mary and Joseph to the law, was critical for Jesus to be known as the one who “fulfilled the law.” As they were obedient to obey the law, we see the encounter in the Temple with Anna and Simeon. These two aged saints, received the reward of their faith by seeing the promised Messiah. Also, the words they spoke would have confirmed and encouraged and yes dismayed Joseph and Mary. It was all part of God’s divine plan and timing.
Paul would later write and speak of the significance of the sacrifice made following Jesus birth. For Jesus, the sacrifice was an action that resulted in the “redemption” of his life as the firstborn son. But it was through Jesus, who was offered as the sacrifice for our sin on the cross that we would be redeemed from the penalty of death due to sin.
Paul to the Romans wrote, “But God has a way to make people right, and it has nothing to do with the law. He has now shown us that new way, which the law and the prophets told us about. God makes people right through their faith in Jesus Christ. He does this for all who believe in Christ. Everyone is the same.” (Romans 3:21,22 ERV)
Jesus fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law, so that we would be free from the law and its curse. The result is forgiveness and reconciliation to God through faith in Jesus Christ. “…you have been saved by grace because you believed. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. You are not saved by the things you have done, so there is nothing to boast about.” (Eph. 2:8,9 ERV)
When we place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ we “do” the work the Law [God] requires.