- Renée Coventry
Dedication of the Word
God assured the prophet, Jeremiah, that He watched over His word to perform it (Jer. 1:12). The birth of a word in season is just the beginning. God is watching, speaking, and breathing life into that word, causing growth. As the firstborn son of Mary, only a month old, the baby Jesus was taken to the temple for His dedication so redemption could take place (Luke 2:21-38).
According to the Law, every firstborn male child was holy, set apart to the Lord, and so had to be redeemed by the parents from the temple priests (Ex. 13:2, 13-15). This redemption included a ritual of "giving" the child to the temple and purchasing him back for five shekels (Num. 18:15-16). So, in redeeming Christ, the Living Word, Mary and Joseph followed the law.
One reason is that before the establishment of the Aaronic priesthood, the eldest male children of Israel performed the work of the temple in remembrance of how God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt. Jesus was not a Levite but of the tribe of Judah. Interestingly, Paul stipulates that Jesus is a priest according to the order of Melchizedek, not Aaron (Hebrews 7:1-10). This is a fulfillment of prophecy from Psalm 110:4, "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." Jesus is both king and priest not because of His tribe, but His Davidic bloodline made Him king and priest.
[Interesting Tidbit: There is, according to some traditions, evidence that the Father and priest consumed a meal before the act of redemption, which is followed by the drinking of wine. Of note should be that Jesus earnestly desired to eat the Last Supper with the disciples, but also stipulated that He would not drink again until He did so with them in His kingdom (Luke 22).]
During this act of dedication of the Word made flesh, more words were released. Luke two records that the Holy Spirit led Simon to the temple specifically to see the "consolation of Israel." During this time, the purpose of the Word began to unfold. "For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel." (Luke 2:30-32). A personal exhortation to Mary, the caretaker of Word made flesh, followed this. In addition, Anna, the prophetess, upon seeing Him, burst into thanksgiving.
It is of great importance that we understand that when the prophetic is birthed in our lives, it is a holy word, set apart for service to the Father, and God always continues to speak into it. What the word is at its birth is not what it will become. There is always more to it – for the word, as it takes on a God-ordained life of its own, and for us, as its stewards. May we, like Mary, treasure these words within our hearts and be found faithful with what the Lord has entrusted to our care, nurturing it to maturity for His purposes.