Reflections: Circumcision and Name of Jesus

Today’s Reading: Luke 2:21

Daily Lectionary:Isaiah 61:1-11; Luke 1:57-80

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It takes eight days before the baby Jesus is finally given His official name of Jesus.  Up until that point in time everyone knew what His name was to be, but it wasn’t official until the eighth day when the priest circumcised Him.  The priest would perform the duties of the law as the foreskin was removed.  It is the event in which Jesus’ entire family had been waiting for, in eager expectation.  No longer was He referred to as Joseph and Mary’s baby boy but rather Jesus.  The name that was given to them by the angel nine months ago.

In the Christmas hymn Away in the Manger, it states that Jesus did not cry as He lay in the manger.  On this day as He is brought before the priest, there is a different set of circumstances compared to when Jesus was lying in a manger.  The earthly parents of Jesus give Him to the priest and the priest goes through the rite of circumcision.  Now blood is shed from the baby Jesus.  A foretaste of what is to come.  As a baby in the arms of the priest, He is no longer silent as the knife is laid to the child and skin is removed.  The mark is placed upon Him as the law is fulfilled.  The mark of circumcision is only the beginning for Jesus as He will fulfill all aspects of the law for the redemption of His people.  

The fulfillment will culminate in the shedding of blood.  It won’t be just a mere removal of the foreskin but rather a vicious and brutal beating delivered by the hands of the Roman guards.  It will be nails in the hands and feet and spear thrust into His side.  Blood, lots of blood, will be poured out as the Messiah is sacrificed upon the cross.

Today circumcision is no longer the mark that is placed upon us to identify us as God’s people.  Instead, Christ has given to us the sacrament of Holy Baptism.  In our Baptism we are baptized into His circumcision.  No more blood is to be shed as Christ has all the blood necessary for our salvation. 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.

-Pastor Timothy Paul Davis is Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church  in Athens Georgia.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.