Archive for December 15th, 2020

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Luke 2:22-24

Two Turtledoves

Delilah Smith: Two Turtledoves


Many see Jesus as an outsider or an iconoclast who wanted to break rules and molds; yet when we look closely, we see that Luke presents us with a picture that is quite different.

“Luke offers readers several major themes important to his theology. First, Jesus is reared according to the laws of Judaism. Neither his parents nor Jesus rebelled against or rejected the law of Moses. The best of Jewish piety and obedience to Moses were observed. Five times in this section Luke speaks of actions according to the Law of Moses. As for Mary’s purification and the child’s presentation to God, Luke interweaves the two rituals in a confusing way. According to Lev. 12:2-8, forty days after the birth  of a male child the mother went through a ritual purification, offering a lamb as a sacrifice in the Temple or, if poor, a pair of pigeons or turtledoves.  According to Exod. 13:2, 12-13, the firstborn male child belongs to God and could be redeemed (taken home) by means of an offering by the father”.  (Mays 932)

We know from Matthew, Mark and John that Jesus overturned the tables of the corrupt Temple money changers and we see in all four Gospels that he was not shy in declaiming the hypocrisy of the Temple leadership; yet here we see Jesus and his family following the Mosaic Law. We watch as they adhere to these simple rituals in order to identify their fidelity to God and their hope in the future. The rebellion that Jesus later leads is far more encompassing than a mere political statement. Jesus comes to each of us to rescue us not only from social, religious and civic oppression . . . but from the darkness of the mind, heart and soul. Jesus comes to guarantee our life eternal. Jesus comes to rescue our overwhelmed spirit. Jesus comes to guarantee peace and serenity in the Spirit.

In this Jesus, then, we see not the overturning of the harsh, old way and outdated rituals, but a loving fulfillment of the promise of God’s original covenant with the faithful.

Tomorrow . . . another theme from Luke.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 932. Print.

To see more of Delilah Smith’s paintings, click on the image above or go to: http://www.dailypainters.com/paintings/53376/Two-Turtle-Doves-12-days-of-Christmas/

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