What was the importance of Jesus being presented to the temple?

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According to Luke's Gospel, Jesus was presented to the Temple in accordance with Jewish custom of the day. It was customary for parents to present a male child to the altar and a sacrifice either of a lamb or turtle dove to be offered. They were in essence offering the child to God, and the sacrificial animal served as witness to that fact. The presentation of Jesus was important because of the presence of Simeon and Anna, who both prophesied at the time.Simeon had been told he would see the Messiah before he died. He then states in a prayer that he is ready to die because "my eyes have seen thy salvation." Simeon also prophecies to the suffering and death of Jesus. Anna, a prophetess, also testified that Jesus was the Messiah. It is also important to indicate that Mary and Joseph complied with all requirements of the Jewish law concerning a male child, including having him circumcised at an early age.

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The significance of Jesus's presentation at the Temple is that, for the first time, he is recognized as the Messiah. The man who recognizes him, Simeon, is a devout Jew who has for many years been waiting for the savior of his people. As soon as he sets eyes on Jesus, Simeon knows that he is that savior, the Messiah. Taking the baby Jesus in his arms, Simeon gives thanks to God and utters the prayer now known as the Nunc Dimittis.

The prayer has been an important part of Christian liturgy and worship ever since, set to music and performed as a hymn of praise. The Latin expression Nunc Dimittis literally means "Now you dismiss," and is a request by Simeon that God allows his loyal servant to depart in peace now that he has seen the Messiah, his salvation. With these solemn words, he expresses the hope that he now be released from earthly life to enjoy eternal life in Christ.

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