The ceremony of purification | Sunday Observer

The ceremony of purification

8 January, 2017

 A week after Jesus was born, the time came for the baby to be circumcised according to Jewish tradition and name him Jesus, the name given by the angel.

Joseph and Mary decided to perform the ceremony of purification as the Law of Moses commanded. They took their child to Jerusalem and presented him to the Lord as it is written in the Law of the Lord. Every first male child is dedicated to the Lord and had to offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons as required by the Law.
At this time there lived a good man named Simeon in Jerusalem. He was God - fearing and waiting for Israel to be saved and the Holy Spirit was with him. He had been assured he will not die before he had witnessed the Lord’s promised Messiah. Led by the Holy Spirit, Simeon went into the Temple and when Mary and Joseph brought the child Jesus into the Temple to do what the Law required, he was amazed and thanked God.
Now Lord, you have kept your promise and you have let your servant go in peace.
Mary and Joseph
With my own eyes I have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all people. A light to reveal your will to the Gentiles and bring glory to your people in Israel’
These words amazed Mary and Joseph who blessed them and said to Mary, ‘This child is chosen by God for the destruction and salvation of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against and so reveal their secret thoughts, and sorrow like a sharp sword will break your heart.’ Mary in her innocence kept everything in her heart because she knew he was going to sacrifice himself to save the sinners of the world.
When Joseph and Mary finished their obligations required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to their home in Nazareth, in Galilee. Jesus grew up and became strong in wisdom and God’s blessings were upon him. He had to complete a mission set for him. Thus, began his wondrous life we all Christians cherish.
When we see the Christ child as the expression of God’s love for us, we find joy that flows from the steadfast love of God. During the time when Herod was king of Judea there was this priest, Zechariah who belonged to a priestly order of Abijah, Elizabeth was his wife and they were committed to the Laws of Lord and obeyed them fully. They had no children because Elizabeth could not have any, and she and Zechariah were both too old but the angel of the Lord appeared and said God has blessed them and will be the parents of a son who must be named John.
The Young Jesus at the Temple:
Each year, Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival and at a time when Jesus was twelve years old, they went to the festival as usual. After the Festival was over, they found young Jesus missing, who had decided to stay behind in Jerusalem. After hurrying back looking for him, they found him in the Temple sitting with the Jewish teachers, listening and questioning them. They were amazed at his intelligence and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you done this to us. Your father and I have been terribly worried trying to find you’. He answered ‘why did you have to look for me. Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house” but they did not understand what he meant. But Jesus went back with them to Nazareth where he was obedient to them.
After they had left, an angel appeared in a dream to Joseph and warned him about Herod who was looking for their son and had ordered to kill him. Joseph arose immediately and took the child along with Mary and escaped to Egypt. The angel asked them not to move until they were asked to do so. They had to be there until Herod died. This miracle was done to make what the Lord said through the prophet come true. ‘I called my son out of Egypt’
John the Baptist:
It was during the rule of Emperor Tiberrius, Pontius pilate and his brother, Pillip and many High Priests, the Word of God came to John, son of Zechariah who was in the desert. John went throughout the whole region along the Jordan river, preaching; ‘Turn away from sins and be Baptist and God will forgive your sins as it is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah.
‘Someone is shouting in the desert,
Get the road ready for the Lord, make a straight path for him to travel.
Every valley must be filled up.
Every hill and mountain levelled off.
The winding roads must be made straight and rough paths made smooth.
The whole human race will see God’s salvation’