I thought I might do a little something, this year, that would help me focus on what this season is really about, and maybe it could help you, too. I’m going to take the story of Jesus’s birth, found in Luke 2, and go verse by verse, 1 through 24, to see what happens. Here we go…
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
Every Jewish baby boy had to be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. Borne of the covenant between God and Abraham, it was a sign that they were members of the covenant people. The act of circumcision, was cutting away that which was unclean, a symbol of the removal of sin, and the eight days was a period of purification for the mother, unclean after the process of childbirth.
Even though Jesus was fully man, He was also fully God, pure and without sin, so I’ve always found it a little odd that He was still required to undergo circumcision. It seems that a virgin mother would’ve have been given a pass on the whole purification thing, too. However, they were, after all, still members of the covenant people, and Mary and Joseph would’ve followed the law, just like everyone else.
Interestingly, though, I was reading a commentary about this verse that put a different spin on it. Even with the innocence of being a baby – even one without sin – Jesus had to bear the Cross from birth.
He came to take the place of fallen man, and He must show that it is not in external differences that God manifests His glory; it is in “the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible.” (1Pe 3:4.) When Jesus taught His disciples, He did not say, “Take My yoke upon you, for I am the King of kings and the Lord of lords,” but, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart. ” (Mary Elizabeth Baxter)
Jesus came to bear our sin on the cross when He was a grown man, but He began enduring the cross the moment He drew breath.
Let that sink in.
As you gaze upon the sweet little Christ child in the nativity on your mantle, let the swaddling clothes represent the mantle of sin. Your sin. Mine. He was all wrapped up in it from the start.
Take a moment to tell Him thank you for facilitating the circumcision of your heart.
The next day John [the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! ~ John 1:29 NIV