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Jesus: Circumcised FOR YOU!

January 1, 2017

circumcision

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Name and Circumcision of Jesus                   Trinity Lutheran Church

1 January 2017                                                    Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

St. Luke 2:21

 

Circumcision? Really? Sure sounds odd, doesn’t it? Nonetheless Baby Jesus gets circumcised.

 

In the Old Testament circumcision was a mark of God’s favor. It was a visible Word. The activity of God on a particular person. Circumcision in the OT was a mark of ownership declaring that you were a servant of the LORD – that you and your family were under God’s gracious reign and covenant. The circumcised could say for certain with all of Israel, “The LORD is our God and we are His people.” The circumcised could eat the Passover and pray in the temple. You belonged. In circumcision God NAMED YOU and CLAIMED YOU AS HIS OWN.

 

The mark of circumcision was like a tattoo or scar in the flesh – something that identified you. Circumcision declared that you belonged to the LORD. You were a priest in the Lord’s hood. That is why the Israelites were forbidden from receiving other tattoos or scars in their bodies. They were already marked. They were already part of a “hood,” the holy and royal priesthood. They belonged exclusively to the LORD and He was very jealous. He tolerates no other gods in His presence or their marks on His people.

 

Circumcision taught many things about God’s salvation. Circumcision was done on the EIGHTH DAY after the baby’s birthday. So, seven days after birth came circumcision. Seven days – old creation. On the EIGHTH DAY a new creation! A new birth if you will! A heavenly birth into a new creation. The same is true of Baptism in the New Testament: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (2 Cor. 5) To be “in Christ” as a baptized believer is to live in the EIGHTH DAY, the first day of a new creation. That’s one of the reasons why Christians worship on Sunday, not Saturday.

 

Circumcision also taught original sin. It taught that sin was handed down in an inherited way through the procreation of children. Sin is like a genetic disease, passed on infallibly from one generation to the next, from the father to the child. God never fails to make His point. He puts the sign of His covenant precisely at the procreation point of the baby boy. This reminds us in a very graphic and telling way that every child born of a mother and father is sinful and needs the cleansing of forgiveness.

 

Most importantly, circumcision taught that covenant with God involved the putting away of our sinful flesh and its desires. It meant a decisive break with sin, a killing of sin in the flesh. Circumcision taught that covenant with God involved suffering, pain, and the shedding of blood. On this EIGHTH DAY of Jesus’ human life there is no doubt that He cried due to the pain and the shedding of His blood.

 

Did you hear that? That is the heart of Jesus’ work. He fulfills God’s law perfectly as your substitute. He comes to SUFFER, SHED HIS BLOOD, and die as the one and only perfect sacrifice for sinners. FOR YOU! He humbles Himself to the very depths of your existence by becoming obedient under His own law, even to the point of suffering and dying under the law.

 

So, already here in His circumcision Jesus is treated as a sinner and a servant. He is born of a woman. Born under law. To redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive the adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4). And here at His circumcision He first sheds His blood – blood that purifies from all sin.

 

Little Baby Jesus endures all this for you. Eight-day old Jesus permits Himself to be circumcised so that you are saved from death and hell.   He did this FOR YOU!

 

With circumcision comes His name according to Jewish custom. JESUS. Or the Hebrew is YESHUA. It means: God is salvation! Jesus is God. He gives salvation. He saves His people from their sin. So the name of Jesus is to be preached and extolled. For there is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which you are saved. Jesus – the name that is above every name – the name at which every name will bow and every tongue confess on the Last Day. Jesus – the Jewish carpenter from Nazareth is God in the flesh come to save. Jesus – the name in which you are baptized – the name by which you are forgiven – the name in which you will rise from the grave.

 

Now, you bear a greater sign than circumcision. It’s baptism. There you were given new birth with the Triune Name as God’s mark on your body. It says you belong — to Him! You belong to Jesus who fulfilled the law in your place. All of it. His perfect obedience, suffering and death are yours.

 

I want to finish this sermon with two more things that will tie everything together and clinch it. First a quote from Paul’s letter to the Colossians, second a prayer.

 

Colossians 2: “For in Jesus the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily and you have come to fullness of life in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In Jesus also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; and you were buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God who raised Him from the dead. And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this He set aside, nailing it to the cross.”      

 

Let us pray:

 

O holy Child, Son of Mary and Son of God

 

On this, the eighth day of your life in our flesh

You were circumcised of your own will

Fulfilling the sign in your own body

Granting the nations remission of sins and life

And saving them by grace

 

You are above the law and yet you came under the law

Obedient for the disobedient

Cursed for the cursed

A slave for the enslaved.

 

You became a servant

A sacrifice, a substitute, a spotless Lamb

Your blood is the world’s redemption price

Your obedience is our holiness.

 

You bore the price of our sin in your own sinless Flesh

So that we in our flesh might see your kingdom which has no end

 For your Name and circumcision we thank and praise you, holy Jesus.

 

Amen.

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