Thursday after the First Sunday after Christmas
Scripture: St. Luke 2:21 (NKJV)
21 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.
Circumcision identified the root cause of mankind’s dilemma. It’s not that we have certain sins we need to “prune off the tree.” It’s the tree itself—its root—its origin that is corrupt. And so, by commanding that 8-day-old boys be circumcised, God emphasized that His concern isn’t just with sins we commit, but the inherent, sinful nature of our condition—which is present even before it manifests itself in outward acts. And so, circumcision points to the helplessness of the Old Adam: the plague of original sin.
But why Jesus? Why did He have to be circumcised? Surely He didn’t need to be reminded of His sinful nature! Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, He had no sin, nor any sinful condition that needed to be marked. So why did God allow His infant Son to be carried off to the temple and be permanently labeled like all other Israelite males? It would be this: the rite of circumcision was to begin Jesus’ work of identification and substitution.
Jesus not only identified Himself with Abraham and his descendants. He not only solidified His claim as a fully obedient man of Israel, but He became the replacement for all humanity. He put Himself in the place of all sinners everywhere to make atonement by the shedding of His blood. Only through such action can forgiveness be won. By His bleeding, Jesus declares you to be His own, giving you the right to be called a “son or daughter of God.” By such blood He has brought you from the darkness of sin into the light of His own family.