Happy New Year everyone! The theme for this week’s Monday night service was the Eve of the Circumcision and Naming of Jesus. New Year’s Day is the 8th Day after Christmas. On the 8th Day, Old Testament boys were circumcised and named. Jesus receives the same but to fulfill the promise. It has much to do with the Holy Baptism we receive as New Testament Christians. Have a Happy & Blessed New Year in the Name of Jesus.
Lutheran Service Book (LSB) hymnal
The Service of the Word p. 184
The Confession of Sins
The Salutation and Collect p. 189
The Old Testament
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:21.
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 191
Hymn of the Day
LSB #389 Let All Together Praise
Eve of the Circumcision (and naming) of Our Savior
December 31, 2018
It is written, “And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived Mary’s womb.” Thus far the text.
Let us pray: Gracious Father, who gave circumcision to our ancient fathers and Holy Baptism to us, keep our hearts circumcised throughout the new year, by faith in JESUS, who saves us from our sin; in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Circumcision is a strange topic and a stranger gift that we should discuss it.
However, this Gospel tells us that we should hear and preach about circumcision. For this Word is firmly established in the Old and New Testaments and treated by both the prophets and the apostles.
So what is this and what is to be received from God by circumcision of the flesh (in Old Testament males) and now by circumcision of the heart (in New Testament males and females)?
First we must not look on this with our eyes or we will look down on what God calls important.
We must set our reason aside and hear God’s command. That’s the starting point:
Recorded in Genesis 17: And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; 11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations (Ge 17:9–14).
Notice this is only for male babies. It assaults our reason. God is ok with that.
Reason asks why not some other part of the body such as a hand or foot? Why not baby girls? Etc.
Let us regard God as being smarter and wiser than we can understand. Our ways are not His ways. This circumcision is humbling to all our senses especially to how we think of what is good or bad.
But there is a reason God chose the most modest and shameful part of the male body. Through it, new life is given. Sin begets sin. Since Adam’s fall, all are totally corrupted with original sin. That uncleanness is not like the evil act of a hand, or foot, or mouth. This uncleanness is inherited at birth. It must be cut off and die. A new birth is required.
Abraham is the father of all the faithful. God preached the Promise of Jesus to Abraham long before Abraham was circumcised. Long before Abraham became the father of another promised child, Isaac. And Abraham believed the Promise.
Abraham is the first circumcised in the flesh. The mark in his flesh, was a reminder of what Abraham believed. Abraham would not only be the father of Isaac, but the Virgin Mary, his great-great-great etc granddaughter would conceive the Child by the Holy Spirit. God would be the Father of our Savior.
That Child, born of Mary, received circumcision on the 8th day. Eight days after Christmas is what? Our New Year’s Day. This is not only the Eve of 2019, it is the Eve of the Circumcision of Jesus. Born of a woman. Born under the Law. And they named Him Jesus for He is God, our Savior.
Jesus fulfilled the Law. Now, the circumcision in the flesh of males is given to all in the circumcision of the heart to males and females in Holy Baptism.
Holy Baptism is your second birth. Born in sin, you are now born in faith (and righteousness). You were dirty, now you are proclaimed clean. Our Father does not hold your original sin against you. That is His covenant (His promise) to you.
Holy Baptism irritates our human reason, too.
How can water do such great things? Certainly not water, but the Promise in with and under the water does these things, along with the faith which trusts this Word of God.
Tell me again, what benefits does Holy Baptism give? It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare. For whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned (Small Catechism and Mark 16:16)
You are the circumcised who believe in the name of Jesus. Your are baptized, from the first day with the water but even now as the circumcision of your heart.
Thanks be to God on this New Year’s Eve. We have the gift of circumcision. Even more wonderful, we start the New Year believing in Jesus. It is still all about Jesus; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes understanding, will keep you in body and soul through JESUS our Savior. Amen.
Prayer of the Church
The Service of the Sacrament
The Lord’s Prayer p. 196
The Words of Our Lord p. 197
The Pax Domini
The Agnus Dei p. 198
The Nunc Dimittis p. 199
The Thanksgiving p. 200
The Benedicamus p. 201
The Benediction p 202