|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:21-24 Our Lord Jesus was not born in sin, and did not need that mortification of a corrupt nature, or that renewal unto holiness, which were signified by circumcision. This ordinance was, in his case, a pledge of his future perfect obedience to the whole law, in the midst of sufferings and temptations, even unto death for us. At the end of forty days, Mary went up to the temple to offer the appointed sacrifices for her purification. Joseph also presented the holy child Jesus, because, as a first-born son, he was to be presented to the Lord, and redeemed according to the law. Let us present our children to the Lord who gave them to us, beseeching him to redeem them from sin and death, and make them holy to himself.
Verses 21-40. - Circumcision and presentation of the Child Jesus. Verse 21. - For the circumcising of the Child. These ancient rites - circumcision and purification - enjoined in the Mosaic Law were intended as perpetual witnesses to the deadly taint of imperfection and sin inherited by every child of man. In the cases of Mary and her Child these rites were not necessary; but the mother devoutly submitted herself and her Babe to the ancient customs, willingly obedient to that Divine Law under which she was born and hitherto had lived.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child,.... According to the original institution of circumcision, Genesis 17:12 and which was strictly observed by religious persons, as by the parents of our Lord here, and by those of John the Baptist, Luke 1:59 Hence the Apostle Paul reckons this among his privileges, that he could have boasted of as well as other Jews; see Gill on Philippians 3:5. But it may be asked, why was Christ circumcised, since he had no impurity of nature, which circumcision supposed; nor needed any circumcision of the heart, which that was a symbol of? To which it may be replied, though he needed it not himself, it was the duty of his parents to do it, since all the male seed of Abraham were obliged it, and that law, or ordinance, was now in force; and besides, it was necessary that he might appear in the likeness of sinful flesh, who was to bear, and atone for the sins of his people; as also, that it might be manifest that he assumed true and real flesh, and was a partaker of the same flesh and blood with us; and that he was a son of Abraham, and of his seed, as it promised he should; and that he was made under the law, and came to fulfil it, and was obliged to it, as every one that is circumcised is; as well as to show a regard to all divine, positive institutions that are in being, and to set an example, that we should tread in his steps; and likewise to cut off all excuse from the Jews, that they might not have this to say, that he was an uncircumcised person, and so not a son of Abraham, nor the Messiah,
His name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb, Luke 1:31 It appears from hence, and from the instance of John the Baptist, that at circumcision it was usual to give names to children; See Gill on Luke 1:57. The Jews observe (u) that "six persons were called by their names before they were born: and these are Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, Solomon, Josiah, and the King Messiah:
the latter they prove from Psalm 72:17 which they render, "before the sun his name was Yinnon", or the son: that is, the Son of God,
(u) Pirke Eliezer, c. 32.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Lu 2:21. Circumcision of Christ.
Here only recorded, and even here merely alluded to, for the sake of the name then given to the holy Babe, "Jesus," or Saviour (Mt 1:21; Ac 13:23). Yet in this naming of Him "Saviour," in the act of circumcising Him, which was a symbolical and bloody removal of the body of sin, we have a tacit intimation that they "had need"—as John said of His Baptism—rather to be circumcised by Him "with the circumcision made without hands, in the putting off of the body [of the sins] of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" (Col 2:11), and that He only "suffered it to be so, because thus it became Him to fulfil all righteousness" (Mt 3:15). Still the circumcision of Christ had a profound bearing on His own work—by few rightly apprehended. For since "he that is circumcised is a debtor to do the whole law" (Ga 5:3), Jesus thus bore about with Him in His very flesh the seal of a voluntary obligation to do the whole law—by Him only possible in the flesh since the fall. And as He was "made under the law" for no ends of His own, but only "to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Ga 4:4, 5), the obedience to which His circumcision pledged Him was a redeeming obedience—that of a "Saviour." And, finally, as "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law" by "being made a curse for us" (Ga 3:13), we must regard Him, in His circumcision, as brought under a palpable pledge to be "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Php 2:8).
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