Archive for January 1st, 2018


Let us pray…

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 maybe 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

Readings:  Numbers 6:22–27  Psalm 8  Galatians 3:23–29  St. Luke 2:21

The Lord Jesus Comes in the Flesh to Fulfill the Law for Us and Save Us from Our Sins:   Circumcision is the covenant God made with Abraham and his seed. It sealed God’s promises and blessings in the flesh, but also signified the burden of the Law. When the Lord Jesus came in the flesh to redeem His people, He subjected Himself to the Law, in order to fulfill the Law and release all men from its captivity. He was called Jesus (Luke 2:21) because He came to save His people from their sins. He would shed His blood on their behalf, as He did already when he was circumcised (Luke 2:21). As He also sacrificed Himself upon the cross, you are justified by faith in His blood (Gal. 3:24). Therefore, you are Abrahams offspring, heirs according to promise (Gal. 3:29), not by the circumcision of your flesh, but in the flesh and blood of Christ Jesus, the true seed of Abraham. Baptized into Christ, you belong to Him and are clothed and covered by His righteousness (Gal. 3:27). Holy Baptism is the true circumcision made without hands, by which the Lord Jesus puts His name on you and blesses you (Num. 6:22, 27).

 JESU by Fr. George Herbert, 1633

Jesu is in my heart, his sacred name
Is deeply carved there: but th’other week
A great affliction broke the little frame,
Ev’n all to pieces: which I went to seek:
And first I found the corner, where was J,
After, where ES, and next where U was graven,
When I had got these parcels, instantly
I sat me down to spell them, and perceived
That to my broken heart he was I ease you,
                                And to the whole is J E S U

       Eight days ago was Christ Mass, December 25th.  This is the covenant the Lord established with Abraham and his descendants according to the flesh: “He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations…” Genesis 17:12  Jesus was born thoroughly “…under the Law”:  “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law…”  Galatians 4:3-5  This is when the Lord’s Blood was first spilled. 

His infant body now
Begins the cross to feel:
Those precious drops of blood that flow
For death the Victim seal.

His Blood is the seal of His Name.  The Name of Jesus literally means:  “God saves”.  His name carved in our hearts, circumcised, by the Holy Spirit, deep within our flesh. On this day of His circumcision Joseph and Mary publicly announced the Name the angel Gabriel gave to Mary. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” Luke 1:30-32

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
(William Shakespeare)

Now that is good romantic stuff but I would rather name a daughter “Rose” than “Skunk” even though she would smell as sweet!  Names matter. They identify who one is.  I would dare say you would probably not buy designer clothes with the name, Ralph Lifschitz on it!  But when Mr. Lischitz changed his surname to “Lauren”, as in, Ralph Lauren, it sounded a whole lot better!   Wikipedia: Ralph Lauren 

Names also matter to the Lord in His Scriptures.  His Name we can count on.  “He restores my soul.He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3   Many times the Lord tells us why He does what He does, not for my name’s sake or yours, but His.  His Name is faithfulness.  He stands behind it.  A name you can trust.  According to the Second Commandment, then we know it is abhorrent to take His Name in vain:

The Second Commandment

You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.

(The Small Catechism, by Dr. Martin Luther)

The Lord our God desires us to call upon His Name, “…in every trouble, pray, praise and give thanks”. This is a most fitting way to begin the calendar New Year when all other names, of government, business, stardom etc. fail.  In the “Harry Potter” movies,  it becomes clear that evil is lying in wait, the dark lord who is called in the movies, “He Who Must Not Be Named”.  Evil must be named and be exposed (Ephesians 5:11),  and the dark lord, the devil won’t like it;  but   even more, Satan and his minions will flee at the praying, preaching and teaching of  the Name that Must Be Named, Jesus Christ.  In His Name we pray and hope and wait and work.  Behind His Name is His Body and Blood. As Luther encouraged and exhorted that every morning and evening the day should begin and end in the Name of the Holy Trinity, so also the new year, as the Lord has made you His own by naming you in your baptism, In the Name of the Father, and of the +Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

 A Blessed New Year to you in His Name!

Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto us His Son hath given!
While angels sing with pious mirth
A glad new year to all the earth.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #85 

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