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The Wonder of Redemption

The Wonder of Redemption

Words of Faith 3-1-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 2

[22] When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord [23] (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), [24] and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."


     Luke tells us of another special moment among Jewish families called pidyon ha-ben or the redemption of the firstborn. It is a rather dramatic ceremony when we consider its history and power.

     Jewish law required that if the firstborn in a family was a son, this child should be literally given to the priests in the Temple for duty and service. This was the case with Samuel who was given by Hannah to Eli the priest. This giving over of the firstborn son was to be done 31 days after the birth.

     This consecration still goes on today and represents the gratitude for the sparing of the firstborn in the tenth plague as the Jews escaped from Egypt. But the ritual allows the father to purchase back-- or redeem-- the child from the Temple for a price of five silver shekels. To this day, Jewish families will consecrate the firstborn, if male, and then purchase the boy back for five silver dollars.

       Normally, the mother would not be present for this ritual because she was ritually unclean for 40 days after giving birth. But Luke tells us that Mary was present at this redemption because it was delayed another 10 days. This allowed Mary to be purified and take part.

       On the 41st day after the birth of Jesus, Mary most surely went to a special ritual bath called a mikveh. There would have been only Jewish women there. She would have completely disrobed, immersed herself, and then said prayers for cleansing and purification. She would then offer a one year old lamb and a turtle dove. If she could not afford a lamb, there was an allowance to make a "poor offering" of two turtle doves. Luke lets us know that Mary and Joseph had very little and she was only able to make the poor offering for purification.

     These two events probably happened on the same day. Mary would have been cleansed, the offering made and then Jesus was presented, consecrated to the Temple, and then purchased back or redeemed by Joseph for five silver coins.

     Wow. Can you imagine that moment? God has given His one and only Son to the world. He is in the loving arms of human parents, presented to God, and then purchased back. This is one who would one day be sold for silver again, and would then give Himself to redeem the whole world! The images are so very powerful.

     And why is this important to Luke? Surely Luke would call us to be purified in the mikveh of the Holy Spirit as we rejoice in the redemption of the Lord.


     Thank You Lord, for Jesus, my redeemer. Thank You for offering Your firstborn, only Son, to redeem me from ravage of sin and death. Thank You that He is my Passover Lamb and has paid the complete price for my salvation. In Jesus' name.