Jesus, Our Substitute

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 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”). Luke 2:22-23

Joseph and Mary consecrated the baby Jesus to the Lord in order to keep a law that had been given by Moses thousands of years earlier. God knew long before Moses that Christ would be the firstborn son of a virgin mother, so He declared that all firstborn male children belonged to Him. However, instead of requiring lifelong service from each of these firstborn sons, He accepted the service of Levite men in place of the firstborn of Israel. 

All of us belong to God because He created us and provides us with all we have. However, our sinfulness results in a debt that we cannot even begin to repay. When God’s only begotten firstborn Son came to the world, God did not exempt Him from service. Jesus served God the Father His whole life, in place of our incomplete service, and was sacrificed on the cross to pay for our sins. God did not ask for, nor did He accept, a substitute for the life of His Son; but He gave up Jesus for us and for our salvation. For this we thank and praise God forever.

Prayer: Gracious God, we bless Your holy name for bringing joy to the world by sending Your Son, Jesus, to take away the punishment for our sins and reconcile us to You. Amen.