Reflections: January 1, 2021
Circumcision and Name of Jesus
By Bradley Drew
And at the end of eight days, when He was circumcised, He was called Jesus. (Luke 2:21)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus turns eight days old today. According to the Law of Moses, and in fulfillment of that Law, Jesus will be circumcised today, shedding His blood for the first time. He will receive His Name today, "The Lord saves." How fitting, for this is the sinner's rescue from sin and death. It's a simple rule that you get to name what is yours. It's why parents get to pick names for their own children. It's why God let Adam choose names for every creature under heaven. God had given them to Adam. They were his. So, whatever he called them, that was their name.
We know what happened next. Creation died the day Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. It wasn't meant to be, but "and he died" is the refrain now in every genealogy, even of those recorded in Scripture. All creation is under the curse of the fall. Sin kills. It's a simple rule (Romans 6:23). That all changes, however, with the birth of Jesus. No child of Adam gets to name Him, for this Child does not belong to Adam. He does not belong to this creation as some part of it. This is the Creator Himself. He belongs to God as God's own Child. God, therefore, gets to name Him. And, oh, what a Name God gives Him: Jesus, "The Lord saves."
Jesus will fulfill the Law of Moses perfectly. Without sin, He should never die, then. But He will. For Jesus will take His own life to the Cross for you. It will be your death that Jesus dies, for you. It will be this creation's judgment that Jesus takes into Himself as He dies upon the Cross for the sins of the whole world.
But death will not win. Life will. Jesus will. And that makes Jesus the genesis of a whole new creation. A creation God includes you in now by giving you His Name in Baptism. A creation God preserves you in now, holy and righteous, without sin, by His Word that absolves you and His Supper that feeds you Jesus' Body and Blood, "for you, for the forgiveness of sins."
The Eighth Day of Christmas doesn't just point to the beginning of a new week or year. It points to a new creation--in Jesus. For all. For you. Happy New Year! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Lord God, You made Your beloved Son, our Savior, subject to the Law and caused Him to shed His blood on our behalf. Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit that our hearts may be made pure from all sins; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Circumcision and Name of Jesus).
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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