Festival of the Circumcision of our Lord Jesus Christ
Scripture: St. Luke 3:10-14 (NKJV)
3:10 So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”
11 He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”
12 Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”
14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”
According to St. Matthew, chapter 3, the impenitent Pharisees and Sadducees came out to be baptized by John along with those who actually mourned over their sin and wanted to be forgiven. Against such John leveled his “Brood of Vipers!” charge, but all heard it. As is very often the case, when the Law is proclaimed to penitent and impenitent alike, their reaction is markedly different. That of the impenitent may be divided between those who ignore it, those who think it doesn’t apply to them, and those who bristle at John’s impertinence. For those already penitent, though, it cuts to the heart like Jesus’ saying at the Last Supper that one of the Twelve would betray Him. The penitent hears that someone is committing a sin and asks, “Is it I?” The impenitent hears his sin called out and demands, “Who do you think you are?”
John calls us to have our hearts set on the right thing. Abraham’s fatherhood is not according to the flesh, or some generic confession of monotheism. Abraham had faith that rejoiced to see the pre-incarnate Son appear, faith in Christ’s coming to make righteousness that could be attributed to Abraham so that he could stand in the judgment. Such faith was reckoned to him by God as righteousness—just as it is for you.
Those who, like the last few popes, want to claim works-righteous and anti-Trinitarian Judaism and Islam as “Abrahamic religions” are grasping after the flesh as equal to the Spirit. Abraham confessed only One as “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” our Lord Jesus Christ.
Grant in this Epiphanytide, O Holy Spirit, that we who have been called out of darkness may be true sons of Abraham, united in confessing Christ, the one true Light. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.