The parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required.
Living Perfectly in Our Place
The Bible tells us that if we are to spend eternity with God in heaven, we must be perfect just as he is perfect. To do that, we must keep all of God’s commandments all the time without even one failure. Because all of us are born sinful, none of us can come even close to accomplishing such a feat.
Jesus, however, could. He is the sinless Son of God. As both true God and a true human being, Jesus was in the unique position of being both subject to all of God’s commandments and able to keep them all. And that is exactly what he did. Throughout his life, he perfectly kept all of God’s commandments for us.
We see that in our Bible passage for today. God’s Old Testament law required that his people dedicate their firstborn sons to him. Because Jesus was Mary’s firstborn son, this law applied to him. And so, in order to accomplish his work as our Savior, he had to fulfill this law also, just as he had to fulfill every other law that God had laid down for his people.
That’s why it is so comforting to see Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple to do for him what the law required. Even as Jesus lay in his parents’ arms, he was keeping God’s law perfectly for us. He left no law unfulfilled but kept every last one of them for us. Because he kept all of God’s laws perfectly in our place, we now, through faith in him, have the perfection we need to live with God forever in heaven.
Lord Jesus, I thank you for perfectly keeping all of God’s laws in my place. Amen.