21. When the eighth day of His earth-life arrived...the traditional day when Jewish boys were circumcised...the baby was officially named Jesus, the name given by the angel before His conception.
22. And when the number of days stipulated by Moses for the mother's purification and the baby's dedication were complete, His parents brought Him up to Jerusalem to ceremonially offer His life to God.
23. This was in accordance with the Law of the Lord, which states, "Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be set apart, dedicated, and called holy to the Lord."
24. And they also came to offer a sacrifice of "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons" as prescribed in the same Law.
25. Now there was a man in Jerusalem at this time whose name was Simeon, a good and devout man who lived in prayerful expectancy for the help and consolation of Israel...and the anointing of the Holy Spirit was on him.
26. And the Holy Spirit had personally assured him that he would not die before he had the opportunity to see with his own eyes the physical manifestation of God's Christ in the earth.
27. So, led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple just as the parents of the baby Jesus brought Him in to carry out the rituals of the Law.
28. And when Simeon saw them, He immediately recognized the Christ and approached them, took the baby into his arms, and began to bless God, saying,
29. "Now, God, You may release your servant from this present earthly dimension...and I will be released in peace, just as You promised.
30. With my own two eyes I have seen the manifestation of Your Salvation...
31. I first saw it prophetically...by the Spirit...but now that Your Salvation has come in the physical form of this man-child, all of humanity will be able to see it for themselves...
32. They will see the Light...a Light for the revelation of God to the non-Jewish nations...a Light to disclose what was before unknown to the people of Israel, so that they may see Your glory."
33. Even though Mary and Joseph had heard and seen so many amazing things since the day Gabriel first appeared to her, they were still speechless with surprise at these prophetic words.
34. But Simeon went on to bless them and said to Mary, His mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but He will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him, as He will be a figure often misunderstood and contradicted...
35. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be exposed...but God will reveal who they really are, as they are forced into honesty by their very rejection of Him. And this rejection will affect you as His mother, causing the pain of a sword-thrust through your very soul."
36. And there was also a prophetess there, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, having lived with her husband for only seven years before being widowed.
37. And she had been a widow for eighty-four years. Her entire life was in the Temple...she didn't go out from the Temple enclosure, and worshipped night and day with fasting and prayer.
38. And she also came up at the same time, and gave thanks to God, and talked of the promise and potential of Jesus to all who were looking for the redemption and deliverance of Jerusalem.
39. And when His parents had done everything according to the Law of the Lord given through Moses, they went back into Galilee to their own town, Nazareth.
40. And there Jesus experienced a relatively normal childhood, growing into boyhood and on into early adolescence. He became strong in spirit, and was filled with wisdom, as He gradually walked into His destiny as the earthly embodiment of the Christ. Through it all the grace and favor of God was upon Him.
41. Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year to celebrate the Passover Feast.
42. And when Jesus was twelve years old, they went there, as usual...as was their custom.
43. But when the Feast was over, and they were returning to Nazareth, young Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem. His parents were completely unaware that He had initiated this significant act of independence, as He had given them no indication of it, whatsoever.
44. In fact, they just assumed that He was somewhere in the caravan in which they were travelling, and went on a full day's journey before they actually realized that He was not with them. Then they looked everywhere for Him among their relatives and acquaintances, but none of them had any idea of Jesus' whereabouts.
45. So when He didn't turn up anywhere in the caravan, they went back to Jerusalem, frantically looking for Him all the way.
46. After three whole days of non-stop searching, they finally found Him in the court of the Temple, calmly sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them thought-provoking questions.
47. And all of these learned, seasoned, full-grown men were absolutely astonished and overwhelmed at His intelligence, understanding and insightful, articulate replies to them.
48. When Joseph and Mary saw Him, they exploded emotionally with a mixture of feelings...anger...relief...joy...bewilderment. And His mother blurted out to Him, "Jesus! Why have You treated us like this? Do you know what you've put us through? Your father and I have been in sheer torment, looking for You everywhere for three whole days!"
49. The twelve-year-old very matter-of-factly turned to look at her and said, "What do you mean you've been looking for Me? And why were you in torment? You should have known that I would be in My Father's house, doing My Father's business. How could you have assumed otherwise?
50. But they did not grasp or comprehend at all what He was saying to them.
51. So He returned with them to Nazareth, and was obedient to them as His natural parents, but the dynamics of their relationship were never the same after this. He had clearly defined Himself by stating that God, not Joseph, was His Father...and had made it clear that He would ultimately be actualized in the business of His Father, and not in that of His step-father. His mother never brought it up again or really ever dealt with it at all...she just guarded all these things in her heart.
52. And Jesus increased in wisdom and self-awareness as He grew in physical stature and in years. At the same time He also grew in favor with God and man.