Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
According to the tradition of the church, we set the birth of Jesus Christ at midnight from December 24 to 25. According to the law of Moses, a male child from Israel was to be circumcised eight days after his birth. The entire law of Moses was fulfilled in the life of Jesus, so we celebrate the circumcision and naming of Jesus at the same time as the secular new year.
This is an opportunity to reflect on the blessings of last year, but also on the blessing of the new life in Jesus Christ because of baptism in the name of Jesus. As St. Paul says in our text: "And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
In the Old Testament, circumcision was the seal in the flesh of male children that their children belonged to Abraham's lineage. God made a covenant with Abraham that his descendants would be more numerous than the sand on the beach or the stars in the sky. And among these descendants would come a descendant who would be King of kings and the Savior of the world.
For us, the mark of our heritage is not circumcision, but baptism. And baptism is not only for boys, but for everyone, children, young people, the elderly, men, women, anyone wants to be saved by the grace of God. We are heirs of Abraham because the sacraments continue the promises God made to Abraham in a broader way.
The sacrament of the Lordís Supper was instituted by Jesus during the celebration of the Passover of the Jews. The Lord told Moses that the Israelites would be able to escape the plague of the death of the firstborn in Egypt by the sacrifice of a lamb without blemish. They ate the meat of the lamb and painted their doors with its blood and the angel of death passed over their houses. Now Christ is our Passover Lamb because through Him we avoid eternal death.
Then the Israelites crossed the Red Sea from slavery to freedom, and baptism corresponds to that for us too, because we are saved by the water and the Word of God. On our journey through the desert of this world, the body and blood of Christ in the sacrament is also the manna and water of the rock for us until our entry into the Promised Land, which is eternal life with Christ. Old Testament believers had their sacraments instituted by Moses according to the Word of God, that is, the Passover meal and circumcision, but now we have the sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ who is greater than Moses and who perfectly fulfilled the covenant of Moses.
We receive the baptism in the name of Jesus. Notice, to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is the same as baptizing in the name of Jesus. Because the identity of Jesus is the second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Word made flesh, God with us as the name Emmanuel means. God the Almighty Father sent the Son to this world, to be born of the Virgin Mary. After His death on the cross and His resurrection, Jesus rose again to the Father, and both the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit to the church to baptize in their name, the name of the triune God.
Therefore, we have new life in Christ and because of Christ. As the Israelites remembered their circumcision, we remember our baptism. Because God's promises never change and will last forever. Among all the problems, trials and challenges of this life, the Word of God will never pass. For us, like the Israelites, God's promises are a refuge for generation to generation. The psalmist says a thousand years is like a day and a day like a thousand years in the eyes of God. He will not delay, but He will fulfill all his promises in the fullness of his time.
For us every day and every year we move closer to our Promised Land, eternal life. We trust in the Word and the good will of God. In that we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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