Text: Luke 2.21; Galatians 3.23-29Date: 2010.12.31
And when He was circumcised,
His name was called Jesus.
In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Tomorrow is a big day; A principle feast in the life of Christ's Church: The Circumcision and Name of Jesus. So this evening we cotinue in the Christmas season as we meditate upon what Christ does: He is circumcised and He is named. And it is all for you, you offspring of Abraham, you are Christ's own.
Being of the house and lineage of David, this One is brought into the covenant of Abraham, His covenant that He made with Abraham. He submits to His own law!
And God said to Abraham...This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations...
The “Offspring”, the “Male after Abraham” has come. It is this One born of that lowly descendant Mary, that blessed virgin. Her Child, the Seed of Abraham by Grace, He was to be circumcised. When He gave that law / He knew that He would have to submit also one day. And that day has come: the eighth day of God's earthly life. It didn't take long, did it. His first bloodshed for the sins of the world, of you, already in His infancy. This is His purpose, after all. This is what He has come to do, and He gets right to it.
Being born wasn't enough. He wasn't fully part of His people, yet; now He is. He was cut into His own covenant; relating to His people in a new way now. And He will bear those scars as proof, into all eternity, for you, that your scars will perish with the rest of this scared-up creation.
For He is the beginning of a new creation, a new generation. Bearing the death marks of the old that the new might live in Him. A new generation of Gentiles, of outcasts, of those who were not God's people, not flesh and blood offspring of Abraham. But God, the Christ-Child, breaks forth from heaven into a specific time and place in His creation, in actual history, and makes you His people, spiritual offspring of Abraham, heirs with Abraham, sons of God through faith in this Christ-Child, Jesus.
Yes, He is born an Israelite, of Jewish descent, a son of Abraham. / But that is not all. He is, more importantly, the Son of God, of eternal descent, conceived of the Holy Spirit and faith. He is the God of every man, first to the Jew, (but they reject Him, they spit on Him and shoved a crown of thorns on His head and crucified Him), so He is now also, the God of the Gentiles, the outcasts, He is your God. He makes His covenant with you. Do not doubt it, you are a people of the covenant, of God's covenant, His promise to you in Himself.
You are circumcised, but not of the flesh, rather of the heart and mind, no longer to be made temporarily unclean by the shedding of your blood, but made eternally / clean by the washing of water and the Word.
And what a great a mighty Word He is. He is Jesus, which means, the Lord saves. He is the Lord, YHWH come to save His people from their sins, all of His people, of all of their sins. His name isn't just a label so He can be distinguished from the other boys of the day. His name tells us of His Office, who He is and why He has come. So special is His name, His mother and adopted father didn't even get their usual privilege of giving it to Him. For while Adam is given the distinct mandate to name all of earth's creatures, including his sons after him, this Child is no creature. He is the Creator. He is the Alpha and the Omega, without beginning or end. / He names Himself.
And He gives you His name in Holy Baptism, He puts His name on you. The name He chose for Himself is the name He chooses to give to you. Do not doubt it, you are a named people. There is shame in being a no-name, shame for those who have no heritage. That's who you were. You were a non-people with no name, but now you are the blessed ones of God. Not on account of your name: your heritage or your good successes, but rather, on account of this, your adopted name; as sons of God and heirs of heaven with Christ Jesus.
God bless you, The Lord save you, you are His, each of you. There is not one here or anyone anywhere that has not been given this new status by God. Some may reject that, sure, but the Good News, the cold, hard, historical fact, is that God has made you His in Christ; Jesus has fulfilled His Office, His purpose. All are equal in Him, one individual is no better than any other, for you are all one, holy, saintly in Christ Jesus.
There is neither Jew nor Greek nor American nor German nor Irish. There is neither slave nor free nor bureaucrat nor farmer nor pastor nor housewife nor Hawkeyes fan nor Cyclones fan nor Buckeyes fan. In Christ Jesus, that is, being baptized into His name, all are one, together, the same status; there isn't even male or female. You are Church, His Body, His Bride. As a bride receives the name of her bridegroom, so we who are yoked to God through Baptism into Christ, we have received His name, made to be part of His family in the most intimate way, given a heritage and success and prestige. We share in His eternal home and inheritance. Whatever is His is ours. We are truly heirs of heaven.
See what He has done. He is circumcised and He is named. All for you. Do not continue doubting. Repent. Believe.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
[Artwork by Ed Riojas]