Mary and Joseph take Jesus to God's Great House
21 When the baby was eight days old, it was time for the priest to circumcise him. His parents gave him the name Jesus. The angel had told Mary that they must give him that name. He told her that before she had the baby inside her.
22 Long ago, God gave Moses rules for his people to obey. One rule told people how to become clean after a baby was born. The time came for Mary and Joseph to do this. So, they took the baby Jesus to God's Great House in Jerusalem to show him to the Lord .
23 This is the rule which Lord gave to his people: ‘The first male baby born to a woman belongs to me. So you must bring him to me.
24 When you do this, also bring two special birds for the priest to kill.’ So that is what Mary and Joseph did. [u]
25 At this time, a man called Simeon was living in Jerusalem. He was a good man and he obeyed God. He had waited a long time to see the special person who would save Israel's people. The Holy Spirit was with him. 26The Holy Spirit had told him, ‘You will not die yet. You know that the Lord God has promised to send his Messiah . You will see him before you die.’
27 Now the day had come. The Holy Spirit told Simeon that he should go to God's Great House . Mary and Joseph were bringing the baby Jesus to do what God's rule said.
28 Simeon went to them. He took Jesus and he held him in his arms. Then he thanked God. He said:
29 ‘Master, I am your servant.
You have done what you promised to me.
Now I can die with no trouble in my mind.
30 I really have seen the person that you have sent to save your people.
31 You have sent him to the world and people everywhere will know about him.
32 He will bring light to people so that they can know you.
He will show you to those people who are not Jews .
He will also show that your people of Israel are very special.’
33 That is what Simeon said about Jesus. His message surprised Mary and Joseph very much.
34 Then Simeon asked God to be good and kind to Mary and to Joseph. After that, he spoke to Mary, the mother of Jesus. He said to her, ‘God has chosen this baby. Many people in Israel will become worse because of him. And many of them will become better again because of him. He will be like a sign that points to God. But many people will speak against him. 35This will show their secret thoughts about God. This will make you very sad, too. It will seem like a sharp knife is cutting into you. That is how sad you will be’.
36 A very old lady called Anna was also there in God's Great House . She spoke messages that the Holy Spirit gave to her. She was the daughter of Phanuel, who belonged to the family of Asher. She had lived with her husband for seven years and then he had died. [v]
37 After that, she had lived alone until she was 84 years old. Now she never left God's Great House . She stayed there day and night to pray to God. Often she went without food so that she could pray better.
38 At that moment, Anna came to where Mary and Joseph were standing in God's Great House . When she saw the baby, she thanked God for him. Then she began to speak about him to other people there. Many people were waiting for God to make Jerusalem free. These were the people that she spoke to about the child, Jesus.
39 When Mary and Joseph had finished everything that God's rules said, they returned home. That was in the town called Nazareth in Galilee.
40 There the child grew up. God was good and kind to him and he became strong. He learned many things and he could understand them well.
- [u]2:24 The Jews had to obey this rule 40 days after a boy was born. The mother had to go to God's Great House . If she was poor, she gave two special birds to God. The priests killed them and then they burned them on a special table. This stood outside the special room in God's Great House . God said that a priest must do this. He said that it would make the mother clean again. We can read about this in Leviticus 12:2-8.
- [v]2:36 Asher was one of the sons of Jacob. We can read about the 12 sons of Jacob in Genesis 26—50.