Circumcision and Name of Jesus 2023

The Circumcision and Name of Jesus
January 1, 2023 A+D
St. Luke 2:21

Today we take up the topic of Jesus and what it means for us.

First off, the circumcision of Jesus is necessary to institute the circumcision of Genesis 17 and also to end it. Circumcision was a covenant in the flesh of Abraham and in his son Isaac from barren Sarah. By him Abraham becomes the father of many nations and Sarah the mother of Kings. This bloody sacrifice seals the covenant. It is a sliver of God’s wrath on the instrument by which the sin of the fathers is passed on to their children. Nothing is cleansed without blood. All the circumcisions of the Old Testament looked forward to Jesus’ circumcision. Their authority to make families and forgive sins is found only in the Blood of Jesus.

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is born without sin, but He is the flesh of Abraham. He is the restoration of laughter to mankind. He needs no cleansing and did not deserved His Father’s wrath, but He takes it on Himself. He is marked as a sinner by blood, set under the Law, and thereby gives His holiness to all who were circumcised before Him, fulfilling the Law’s requirements for all of them and also ending circumcision. He is the Flesh of Abraham that was promised. He makes Abraham the father of the nations and Sarah the mother of kings. He is the promised One who sits on the throne forever and of whom there is no end.

There is a correspondence in this with the New Testament Sacraments. Jesus’ Baptism institutes and empowers Baptism – giving the blessing “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased” and the Spirit to those who are baptized and believe in His Name. Baptism cleans us by making Him dirty. We are healed by His infection. Jesus’ Baptism begins Baptism much the way that His circumcision ended circumcision. Both are initiatory Sacraments that make a person a part of the family and forgives sins.

Thus does St. Paul write:

11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. (Col 2:11–17.)

You may be thinking that something seems off. Moses is told that circumcision is eternal. How can Jesus end and replace it? Because He is the Lawgiver. It sounds like nonsense, but He is more eternal. He works at a deeper level. It is similar to how His giving of His Blood for us to drink supplants another Law that had been declared to be eternal. His Life is in the Blood. The very reason it was once forbidden, is the reason now why we should drink it. Jesus is Himself the sacrifice, the Temple, and the priesthood. His fulfillment was foretold but could not be imagined. It is fuller than we expected, more generous and kind than we dared to hope. He ends things that couldn’t be ended.

How does this apply to you? First off you should see that Baptism is no small thing. It is works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal life to all who believe Jesus’ Word. Baptism saves and in Baptism Jesus has saved you, sealed you in His grace and marked you as His own. Secondly you should see that Jesus does not institute a new religion divorced from the Old Testament with all its blood and rituals. The New Testament knows nothing fo the modern notion of being spiritual without being religious. It knows nothing of an individualized, personal relationship with Jesus that takes place only in one’s mind or secretly in one’s heart. The New Testament is also bloody and full of rituals. It is not about individuals finding their own unique way, but about becoming a real family, sacrificing oneself for others.

In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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