But the portion of this chapter that really captured my attention is verse 6: “When her days of purification are complete, whether for a son or daughter, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old male lamb for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering.”
Why is that so fascinating?
Well, let’s view this requirement in light of a specific birth story that is familiar to most believers, found in Luke 2.
Following Jesus’s birth, we read, “And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every firstborn male will be dedicated to the Lord) and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons).” (Verses 22-24)
So where was Mary’s lamb, which was to be given as a burnt offering? Leviticus 12:8 explains, “But if she doesn’t have sufficient means for a sheep, she may take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering.”
We learn that Mary and Joseph lacked the resources to even provide a lamb for a burnt offering. Instead they provided a pair of turtledoves or pigeons. Note that these offerings were not something they would have had on hand, but rather something they would have to hunt or trap in order to bring as an offering.
Like us, they had no capability to meet the law’s requirements apart from the provision of God.