Sunday School Material 12-20-15: Dedication of the Firstborn

(Exodus 13:13b-15; Luke 2:22-32; 12/20/15)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s lesson is that the dedication of firstborn males was a part of God’s plan for the Jews. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to live as if God is worthy of our very best.

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Read Exodus 13:13b-15

I. Principle Presented. The first born sons are to be redeemed. Children/sons are expected to ask about the meaning of the ritual. The question is to trigger an explanation of how God killed the first born during the deliverance from Egypt. The sacrifice of the Jews is and observance of God’s deliverance.

Applications –

- Parents – the first Pastors. Notice in vs. 14 that the parents were expected to be the teachers of their children. In like manner, parents are called to be teachers of their children today. Parents are the first teachers and Pastors of their children.

As parents, we should take this responsibility very seriously. In addition to the parents, family, church, and community should reinforce godly parental teaching. Let’s work on teaching our young people the things of God.

When we get to vs. 27, notice that Joseph and Mary brought their child to the Temple. This further underscores the need for the church to work on helping parents raise their children in the Lord.

It is noteworthy that believers do not dedicate their children in the same way that the Jews did in our text. We should pray for all of our children (i.e., first, second, etc. as well as male and female). We should pray for them to grow in the Lord. We should pray for God’s protection and blessings on their lives.

And we should pray for the parents, God parents, and families and loved ones, including the church, to be the village that helps to raise the child in the fear and admonition of the Lord. As we do this, we should be thankful that we live under grace and not the Law. Jesus has satisfied the sacrificial offerings that we see in the text.

- Remembering and living by historic lessons. Notice in vss. 14-15 that the redemption of the first born males had to do with remembering and living by lessons learned from history. First, we should study and remember lessons from our history. There are too many who are ignorant of their family history, church’s history, people’s history, national history, and even biblical history. Our ignorance often leads to a repeating of the same mistakes.

Second, we should live by the lessons. It is not enough to remember. As the people were to honor God with a heartfelt offering that expressed their appreciation for being delivered, we are called to give some expression of appreciating God and trusting Him to take care of us. Let’s work on remembering and living by lessons learned from history.

Read Luke 2:22-32

II. Principle Practiced. Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the Jerusalem Temple. They went in obedience to the Law of Moses regarding the consecration the first born male. Simeon praised God for allowing him to see the promised Messiah.

Applications –

- God’s use of the poor. Notice in vs. 24 that Joseph and Mary presented the offering that is allowed for poor people. First, we should be thankful that God does not only use middleclass and rich people. The Earthly parents of Jesus were poor or at best working class. Thus, we should not exclude ourselves or others, based on being poor.

Second, God expects even the poor to do their part. God is not as concerned with equal giving as He is concerned with equal sacrifice. Let’s make sure we are open to God’s use of the poor and everyone giving at their level of ability.

 - How are you living? Notice in vs. 25 that Simeon was known as a righteous and devout person. In vss. 28-32 we see that He trusted the promises of God. If people had to use adjectives to describe you, what would they be? We should live so the world sees that we are living for Jesus. Jesus wants us to love God with all that we have and to love others, as we love our saved selves.

As God kept His promise to Simeon, we can count on God to keep His promises to us. Two promises that should always be on our minds are the promise that God will bless those who obey Him and the promise that God will punish those who do not. Let’s live so the world will see that we are sold out for Jesus and trust the promises of God.


- Obedience over knowledge. Notice in vss. 26, 30 that Jesus is the Messiah and our salvation. It is not good for us to spend more energy explaining the academic details of “messiah and salvation” than on living by the general principle that since Jesus is so special, we should obey Him.

There are too many who place more focus on acquiring knowledge that is similar to Bible trivia than on God’s calling for us to obey His will. Let’s live obedient lives like Jesus is the Messiah and salvation.

Conclusion: Let’s work on living as if God is worthy of our very best. God has much for those who obey His will.

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