Circumcision and Name of Jesus (observed) - January 2, 2022
[Numbers 6:22-27] The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
24 The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
[Luke 2:21] And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
His Name, ‘The Lord Is Salvation’, on You
A name is important. When you are born, you receive your family name. It will stay with you on your ID for life. When a woman is married, she receives a new name. And, when a child is adopted by a dad and mom, that child receives the family name and is a member of that family.
To the rest of the world, you are a citizen, a subject, a resident, a stranger, a neighbor – maybe good, maybe no good. To that mom and dad who have shared their name with you, you are son, daughter. The husband and wife who share a name are one flesh – united, only death parts them.
To share a name is a greater bond than sharing a nation or a community. A king may have a nation of subjects, but his household, those who share his name, they are Queen, Prince, Princess – not ‘subject’, ‘serf’, ‘citizen’.
When you share a name, you share in all the benefits and privileges of family. And if you share in a royal or noble name – or a name of great wealth and notoriety – you share in much more. You share even in authority. You share even in, perhaps, a great inheritance.
You can also do harm to that name – you can profane your family name, give it a bad reputation, bring shame to those who bestowed it upon you, by your bad conduct.
Either way, a name is for life. It’s a significant thing you have received.
And, brothers and sisters, there is a name greater than the name shared with you from your parents or from your husband. Today is a Church festival day called “Circumcision and Name of Jesus” (actually it was yesterday), a day when we remember that Name bestowed upon our Savior after His birth - and that the name of the Lord is also put on us - that we have been adopted and have received a name.
The name bestowed upon our Newborn Savior is what? Jesus. His name, Jesus, was given to Him when? When He was circumcised. The name, Jesus, was announced by the angel before His birth, but, as was custom, He was given His name at His circumcision – when He was circumcised according to the Law. “And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” [Luke 2:21]
Jesus is the Son of God – He is God who has come – ‘God-with-us’ (His other name, ‘Immanuel’) – and His name, ‘Jesus’, is a name which has God’s name right in it. God’s name with one important addition.
In the Old Testament, the name of God, in Hebrew, is ‘Yahweh’. ‘Yahweh’ – it is usually just translated as ‘the Lord’, but it is a name. ‘Yahweh’, ‘the Lord’, is the name of God. ‘Jesus’, in its Hebrew form, something like ‘Yeshuah’, is God’s name, ‘Yahweh’, combined with one word – ‘Salvation’.
‘Jesus’ – ‘Yahweh + Salvation’ – ‘Yahweh is Salvation’ – Or, ‘Yahweh, the Lord, saves’. ‘The Lord Saves’, ‘The Lord is Salvation’ – that’s God’s name in Jesus – God’s name bestowed upon His Son-made-flesh. ‘Jesus’, ‘the Lord Saves’, ‘the Lord is Salvation’.
A name matters. God is named Yahweh. On Christmas morning God was born among men and is, for you, now named ‘Yahweh saves’ – ‘Jesus’. In Jesus, the Lord is now your salvation. It’s right in His name.
In fact, this is what the angel had announced to Joseph – “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” [Matthew 1:21]. Who the Lord is for you is right in His name.
Again, when was Jesus given this name, ‘Jesus’, ‘the Lord Saves’? When He first shed His blood to begin to fulfill God’s Law for you – at His circumcision, eight days old. He fulfilled that Law, that Law which shed blood, and received that saving name.
Years later, that same child, now a man, would fill up the measure of His name by fulfilling the Law of God for you in full, perfectly, by shedding His blood fully on the cross. He fulfilled God’s Law even unto death [Philippians 2:8], doing for you what you could not do. He suffered all that the Law required for sin, your sin, by suffering what you could not endure. He fulfilled it. It is finished. You are free.
You have been made free from that Law of circumcision, yet, at the same time, by the forgiveness of your trespasses, you have received the true spiritual circumcision of the heart – a new heart of flesh to replace your heart of stone [Colossians 2:11-15; Ezekiel 36:26].
By His shed blood on the cross, the Lord has saved you from all the curse and requirement of the Law – yet, in such a way that, at the same time, the Law is now written upon your heart so that you begin to keep it without curse and coercion but freely and without fear. He has given you a great inheritance – all flowing from His name, ‘the Lord is Salvation’.
A family inheritance. The name bestowed upon Him, which is His by nature, has now been shared with you, brothers and sisters, by adoption into God’s family through Baptism. Adopted in Baptism, His name is put upon you as your new family name in the Lord.
What is your truest family name which remains even beyond death? It’s not the one from your birth parents, but from your heavenly Father in your new birth in Baptism. You are baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. You are adopted under God’s family name – with all the benefits and privileges, and the inheritance. Righteousness and peace. Blessedness, forgiveness, and purity forever. An inherited gift by the name given.
We begin each service reminding you that God’s Triune Name – the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – has been bestowed upon you as your new-and-forever-ID. And we end each service with that blessing from Numbers 6:22-27 – what we call “The Benediction” – by which God has put His name upon His people. His name upon you.
God’s name in His Son-made-flesh, ‘Jesus’, ‘the Lord is Salvation’, is put upon you. Salvation is in His name and no other [Acts 4:12]. Be pleased to have such a family name, and live according to it. Amen.