Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, marble bas-relief, 15th century, depicting The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, Tuscany area, 29×33 cm.
Mary and Joseph brought the Child to the Temple of Jerusalem 40 days after his birth, to “offer it” to God. This ceremony was prescribed for all firstborn sons in deference to the commandment of Exodus (13, 2.11-16) and still consists today for the Jews in the ransom of the child through an offer. At the same time, the mother-in-law performed the offer prescribed by Leviticus for its purification (12, 6-8). During the visit, they met Simeon, who was predicted that he would not die before he saw the Messiah. Simeon praised the Lord with the words now known as Nunc Dimittis, or Canticle of Simeon, in which he announces that the Child would be light for the nations and glory of Israel, but also a sign of contradiction. Immediately afterwards Simeon prophesied the suffering of Mary. The Gospel also reports the messianic prophecies of the prophetess Anna, an eighty-four-year-old widow who was in the Temple and also publicly identified the child as a messiah. After the ceremony, the family returned to Nazareth. With the presentation in the Temple the stories of Jesus’ childhood are closed in the Gospel according to Luke.