Immanuel Lutheran Church

Sermon

New Year's Day

"The Promise and Hope of Things New"

Luke 2:21

The Circumcism and Naming of Jesus

What's in a name? Your name is very important to you. Your name identifies you. Your name sets you apart. Your name is you. Yet, when you think about it, you didn't have much choice or input. Your name was chosen and given to you by someone else. You may like your name. If you don't, you can bear with it, modify it or change it. Today, by the church calendar, we are commemorating the circumcism and naming of our Lord.

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.

Our Lord didn't choose His name. The Father chose it. Before He was conceived, the angel Gabriel told Mary that His name would be called Jesus. Later, Joseph had a dream in which the angel appeared to him to explain about the Child. Once again, the angel told Joseph that the Child was to be named Jesus, "The Lord Saves."

Jesus came into the world to live up to His name. He came to save us. How? First, He would fulfill the Law perfectly for us. Secondly, He would go to the cross as God's perfect sacrifice for sins. Since Jesus came to fulfill the Law for us, His work began when He was but eight days old. According to the commands of the Mosaic Law, all Jewish males were to be circumcised on the eighth day. Circumcision was an outward manifestation of the covenant between God and His people. It was a physical sign. This set Jews apart from their neighbors who did not circumcise.

This sign of circumcision showed both and allegiance and obedience to God. It reminded Jews that they were different. They were special. They had been chosen by God to be His people. This marking on their bodies showed they belonged to the Lord. The circumcision of infants is a clear marker that God includes even the littlest in His covenant of salvation. These little ones make it clear that we receive this promise not by our work, reason, or understanding, but by His gracious gift. The Lord's promise of a savior was for them as much as it was for their parents.

It all took place on the eighth day. Why the eighth day? The eighth day begins a new week. The Lord created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh. The eighth day begins a new week, and represents new life for us. In the same way Jesus finished His work of salvation for us in His death on the cross on the sixth day of the week, rested in the tomb on the seventh, and rose to new life on the eighth. So, on the eighth day of his life, a baby boy would receive the sign of the covenant of new life in God.

Eight is the symbol of all that is new. The eighth day began a new week. Eight reminds us of renewal. For Jews, the eighth day began their new spiritual life. Today not only do we commemorate the 8th day as the fulfilling of the Law, but we remember the first shedding of the Savior's blood in the ritual of circumcision.

Early Christians began the practice of baptizing their children on the eighth day. From early on baptismal fonts have had eight sides. Have you ever noticed that? Eight was the number associated with new life in Christ.

Today is not only the 8th day of Christmas, it's also the first day of the new year. Here again we see how Christianity impacts the world. On this eighth day after we celebrated the Gift of Jesus to us, we begin our new year.

As we begin this new year, next week we will recall the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child as we celebrate Epiphany. The Sunday after Epiphany, we will follow Jesus as He is baptized by John in the Jordan River. This will officially open His public ministry. We will see Him call His disciples and begin His work. Ten weeks from now, we will follow Jesus through the season of Lent. We will watch as He prepares to suffer and die for us on the cross.

All of this is possible because, "unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given. And the government will be upon His shoulders and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." Yes, we know His name as Jesus. Circumcision required that blood be shed.

This shedding of the blood of men was a foreshadowing of the blood of the Son of Man that would be shed upon the cross to finally fulfill the covenant and bring about the promised salvation. Although many refuse to recognize Him now, He will come again in all His glory. He will come not as a defenseless infant born under the Law but as Savior and Judge.

Since this is the 8th day of Christmas and the beginning of a new year, we have the opportunity to begin anew. Maybe, this is the source of the idea of new year's resolutions. This isn't necessarily a bad idea. It's simply an exercise in futility for most of us. It need not be. With a little discipline and perseverance we can make time for intentional prayer.

If you want to make a spiritual resolution, take time to pray more regularly, be in the Word more diligently and live your life as a Christian more conscientiously. By God's grace we will continue to grow both personally and also as a congregation. With the Lord's help, we will grow as a congregation both spiritually and numerically.

We pray the Lord will help us to be a light shining in the spiritual darkness of our age. Pray that we will have the opportunity to baptize not only infants but children and adults. Pray for our education programs, our confirmation students and our elderly and home bound. Ask that the Lord would help us share the joy of His love to our friends and neighbors. Ah, this year will be a mixed bag but by the grace of God we will continue to be His instruments of grace, mercy and goodness to the world.

Eight is the symbolic number of renewal. In Christ, all things are new and renewed. By God's grace we live as new and renewed people in Jesus Christ. Jesus lived up to His name, "The Lord Saves." He has saved His people. On the last day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord. In the mean time, we rejoice that He came to be our Advocate and Savior. As we anticipate a new beginning, we rejoice in the Lord's abiding love for us in His saving name. Blessed New Year! Amen


September
09/24/2017
09/17/2017
09/10/2017
09/03/2017
August
08/27/2017
08/20/2017
08/13/2017
08/06/2017
July
07/30/2017
07/23/2017
07/16/2017
07/09/2017
June
06/25/2017
06/18/2017
06/11/2017
06/04/2017
May
05/21/2017
05/14/2017
05/07/2017
April
04/23/2017
04/16/2017
04/09/2017
04/02/2017
March
03/26/2017
03/19/2017
03/12/2017
03/05/2017
February
02/26/2017
02/05/2017
January
01/29/2017
01/22/2017
01/15/2017
01/08/2017
01/01/2017

December
12/25/2016
12/18/2016
12/11/2016
12/04/2016
November
11/27/2016
11/20/2016
11/13/2016
11/06/2016
October
10/30/2016
10/23/2016
10/16/2016
10/09/2016
10/02/2016
September
09/25/2016
09/18/2016
09/11/2016
09/04/2016
August
08/28/2016
08/21/2016
July
07/31/2016
07/24/2016
07/17/2016
07/03/2016
June
06/26/2016
06/19/2016
06/05/2016
May
05/29/2016
05/22/2016
05/15/2016
05/08/2016
05/01/2016
April
04/17/2016
04/10/2016
04/03/2016
March
03/27/2016
03/20/2016
03/13/2016
03/06/2016
February
02/28/2016
02/21/2016
02/17/2016
02/14/2016
02/07/2016
January
01/31/2016
01/24/2016
01/03/2016
01/01/2016

December
12/27/2015
12/20/2015
12/13/2015
12/06/2015
November
11/22/2015
11/15/2015
11/08/2015
11/01/2015
October
10/25/2015
10/18/2015
10/11/2015
10/04/2015
September
09/27/2015
09/20/2015
09/13/2015
09/06/2015
August
08/30/2015
08/23/2015
08/16/2015
08/09/2015
08/02/2015
July
07/26/2015
07/19/2015
07/12/2015
07/05/2015
June
06/28/2015
06/21/2015
06/14/2015
06/07/2015
May
05/31/2015
05/24/2015
05/17/2015
05/10/2015
April
04/19/2015
04/12/2015
04/12/2015
04/05/2015
March
03/29/2015
03/22/2015
03/15/2015
03/08/2015
February
02/15/2015
02/15/2015
02/08/2015
02/01/2015
January
01/25/2015
01/25/2015
01/18/2015
01/11/2015
01/04/2015

December
12/28/2014
12/21/2014
12/14/2014
12/07/2014
November
11/23/2014
11/16/2014
11/09/2014
11/02/2014
October
10/12/2014
10/05/2014
September
09/28/2014
09/21/2014
09/14/2014
09/07/2014
August
08/31/2014
08/24/2014
08/17/2014
08/10/2014
08/03/2014
July
07/27/2014
07/20/2014
07/13/2014
07/06/2014
June
06/29/2014
06/22/2014
06/15/2014
06/08/2014
06/01/2014
May
05/11/2014
April
04/27/2014
04/20/2014
04/13/2014
04/06/2014
March
03/30/2014
03/23/2014
03/16/2014
03/02/2014
February
02/02/2014
January
01/26/2014
01/19/2014
01/12/2014
01/05/2014