Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord) and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. (Luke 2:22-24)
This short passage refers to three Old Testament passages:
- Leviticus 12:1-4 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, saying, If a woman has conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are fulfilled.
So Mary and Joseph would have gone to the temple when Jesus was 41 days old.
- Exodus 13:1-2 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.
- Leviticus 12:6-8 And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to the priest: Who shall offer it before the Lord, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for a woman who has born a male or a female child. And if she is not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.
Joseph and Mary were not able to bring a lamb for the burnt offering, so they brought “two turtledoves, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering.”
And there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon. He was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. It was revealed to him by the Holy Ghost that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
And Simeon came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Simeon took Jesus up in his arms, and blessed God.
Simeon: Lord, now let your servant die in peace, according to your word: For my eyes have seen your salvation, Which you have prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.
And Joseph and the mother of Jesus marveled at those things which were spoken by Simeon. And Simeon blessed them.
Simeon (to Mary): Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
And there was a prophetess Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
Coming in at that instant, Anna likewise gave thanks to the Lord and spoke of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
And when Joseph and Mary had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, the family returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.