Preached to the saints at Trinity Lutheran Church of Layton, Utah.
Here is the MP3 audio file of the sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church of Layton, Utah for The EVE of CIRCUMCISION & the NAME of JESUS: December 31, 2008:
Here is the preaching manuscript:
The EVE of CIRCUMCISION & the NAME of JESUS: December 31, 2008
"Christmas Joy and the Shedding of Blood"
TEXT: And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:21 nkj
Merry Christmas! Yes, it is still Christmas. The one Holy Christian and Apostolic Church to which we belong celebrates Christmas until Epiphany begins a new season on January 6. Thus we have the twelve days of Christmas.
According to the carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," the Eighth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me-eight maids a milking." However, the Church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ celebrates the Twelve Days of Christmas a little differently.
According to the Church year calendar, following the joyous celebration of the nativity of our Lord on the 8th Day of Christmas, our true love sent to us - the Circumcision of our Lord that we celebrate as a feast day this very Sunday.
Why do we celebrate The CIRCUMCISION of OUR LORD on New Year's Eve, during the joyous Twelve Days of Christmas? Martin Luther, that Doctor of Theology and Pastor of souls gives a whole host of reasons in his sermons on this text. In fact, in one of those sermons, though he begins by saying, "This is a short Gospel lesson, and we'll make a short 'sermon' out of it," he then goes on for the better part of eleven pages to preach this little text. Relax, I'll not go into all that he presented. It goes far deeper than we have time in the confines of our normal Sunday worship, or attention span especially on this New Year's Eve with all the festivities that accompany it. We can save that for an in depth Bible study that can mine the great treasures of this lesson.
Let us be satisfied this Eighth day of Christmas, 2008, with beholding in the Circumcision of our Lord Jesus the first shedding of His blood.
As we bid farewell to the old year, we realize that it has been another Year of Our Lord with no little shedding of the blood of man.
• Iraq & Aghanistan
• Christians in Africa
• Abortions in America
All of this should serve to remind us that the whole reason the Son of God took on flesh to dwell among us on Christmas Day was so that He could shed the blood of His flesh on the cross for us.
As we read in Heb 9:11-22:
"But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, 'This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.' Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission." (NKJ)
So, you see, this is no uncommon, no coincidental and no unnecessary thing for our celebration of Christmas.
The shedding of blood is common among those who believe in, and witness to the One who shed His blood for us all. The shedding of blood is no coincidence, but rather the very reason for the Word becoming flesh at all. And most of all, let us remember this day and never forget, that the shedding of the blood of the Son of God is necessary for our salvation, the circumcision of our Lord tells us so, for it was not until after His circumcision -- the first shedding of His blood and a foreshadow of the cross to come -- that our Lord was given the name Savior. You see, He must pour out His blood to be a Savior, to be our Savior.
Yes, "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the [bloody sacrifice] for our sins." I Jn 4:10 nkj
For, as the prophet Isaiah foretold of this Savior born to us in the city of David, "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." Isa 53:5 nkj
But there is one more blood - a blood not uncommon, not coincidental and not unnecessary - for us to consider and rejoice in this day. It is the same blood first shed on the day of our Lord's circumcision, the same blood once poured out completely for all mankind on Calvary, that is now the blood given and shed for you for the remission of all your sins placed by God on the table of our altar for your drinking this day. By this participation in His blood we participate both in His death and His resurrection, for we are given His very own crucified and risen flesh and blood in the Supper of Holy Communion.
Why does God use this means so distasteful and repulsive to the unbelieving world? As with all of these bloody celebrations, it is that you may be certain of your salvation. No blood - no certainty. Just as the people of Israel were marked by the blood of the Passover lamb for their deliverance, so are you.
Thank God the blood of Jesus is so common and precious that He offers it to us every Lord's Day and even whenever a believer perceives the need and asks for it from his pastor on any day of the week or year. Thank God the blood of Jesus is no coincidence, not shed simply because of the whims of a bloodthirsty crowd, but willingly and lovingly shed for the forgiveness of all our sins. Thank God the blood of Christ is necessary for our salvation, because by its visible pouring out on Calvary and into our own mouths we have sure and certain hope of everlasting life.
Yes, Merry Christmas to you, dear children of God. God has shed His blood for you. And after the shedding of His blood, he now has put His saving name upon you that you may not only have a happy New Year but a blessed and never ending new day in Jesus, and the Baptism that has forgiven you all of your sins in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Insofar as this sermon is a true proclamation of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, it belongs to Him and His Church. Therefore its use is free to all who deem it worthy and beneficial.
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