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The Scriptorium


Mary and Joseph were faithful. Luke 2.21-24

Pray Psalm 119.1-4.
Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
Who walk in the law of the LORD!
Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart!
They also do no iniquity;
They walk in His ways.
You have commanded us
To keep Your precepts diligently.

Sing Psalm 119.1-4.
Ode to Joy: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee)
Blessed are they whose way is blameless, all who walk within God’s Law,
who, His testimonies keeping, seek Him, filled with joy and awe.
These are they who, no wrong doing, ever walk within God’s ways.
Lord, Your precepts You command us; we would keep them all our days.

Read Luke 2.1-24; meditate on verses 21-24.

1. What two acts of obedience did Joseph and Mary perform?

2. What was the basis for their doing these?

Poor Mary and Joseph. Still trying to earn their salvation by keeping the Law.

Wrong. Mary and Joseph were the recipients of God’s grace. He entrusted His Son to them, and they named Him Jesus, because they knew He would save His people from their sins (v. 21; cf. Matt. 1.21). Joseph and Mary submitted themselves and their Child to the Law of God in grateful obedience, not in some slavish attempt to earn the favor of God.

The Law required that male children be circumcised on the eighth day after their birth (Lev. 12.3), a sanctifying rite that was older than the Law and embedded in God’s covenant (Gen. 17.12), and thus, connected to His promises. Further, after Mary’s purification was complete – according to the Law, 40 days after the child’s birth (Lev. 12.1-4) – Joseph and Mary came to present Jesus to the Lord, bringing with them the sacrifice required of those who were impoverished (Ex. 13.2, 12; Lev. 12.6-8). Those 40 days recall the 40 years of wandering unclean in the wilderness before being delivered – by Joshua, our Old Testament Jesus – into the land of promise. The two people most favored in the eyes of God – perhaps for all time – submitted themselves and their Child to the Law of God, not to earn salvation, but to demonstrate faith and gratitude for the gift of grace. This is the way to greatness in the Kingdom of God (Matt. 5.17-19).

These days it is fashionable among certain pastors and theologians to insist that Christians no longer need to obey the Law of God. All we need to do is love. Like Jesus did. But Jesus loved according to the Law of God, as He Himself explained in Matthew 22.34-40. And He said that love grows cold when people do not keep the Law, because how can they know love apart from it (Matt. 24.12)?

Do not listen to those who tell you that the Law no longer matters, that you’re under grace and not under Law. Imagine them trying to make that argument to Mary and Joseph.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Mary and Joseph followed the Law of God. They brought the required burnt offering and sin offering allowed for those who were impoverished. “And if she is not able…then she may bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons” (Lev. 12.8).

But really, didn’t she bring more than was required? For the quintessential offering was a lamb (Lev. 12.6) within its first year of life, and one turtledove or pigeon. And Mary brought Jesus, her Son, Who was The Lamb of God. Truly she brought an offering sufficient for all mankind!

Thirty years later John the Baptist would say when he saw Jesus, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1.29). And many years after that the disciple John wrote about the vision he saw in heaven, with these same angels, who appeared to the shepherds with ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands and thousands of them saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev. 5.11, 12)

God used Mary and Joseph to deliver the best Gift ever to all the world. The Gift of forgiveness through His beloved Son. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3.16).

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6.23).

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 Jn. 4.9-11).

Mary and Joseph followed the Law of God and goodness flowed through them to all the earth.

Jesus. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9.15)

For reflection

1. Why does it make sense that keeping the Law is a way of showing gratitude to God?

2. Can we know how to love God and our neighbors apart from the Law? Explain.

3. What can you do to become more familiar with the Law of God?

Nor is it without a good reason, that Luke so frequently repeats the statement, that Joseph and Mary did what was written in the law of the Lord. For these words teach us, that we must not, at our own suggestion, attempt anything in the worship of God, but must obediently follow what he requires in his Word. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Luke 2.21-25

Pray Psalm 119.5-8.
Pray that, like Joseph and Mary, you may live blamelessly before the Lord today, keeping all His commandments and rejoicing in His Presence and power.

Sing Psalm 119.5-8.
Ode to Joy: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee)
Let my ways steadfastly keep to all the statutes of Your Word.
Then shall I, no shame enduring, fix my eyes on You, O Lord!
With an upright heart I praise You, in Your rules will I abide.
I will keep Your statutes wholly; keep me ever by Your side!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday.

Two books can help you understand what the Law is and why it matters so much. The Law of God is a compilation of all the laws, statutes, and precepts that fit with the Ten Commandments. It’s an excellent tool for daily reading and review. The Ground for Christian Ethics explains in dialog form why the Law matters so much. Order a free copy of each of these by clicking here and here.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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