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God's Sermon For The 8th Day

December 31, 2016 Pastor: Rev. George Fyler

Verse: Luke 2:21

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Luke 2:21 ~ God’s Sermon for the 8th Day
The Circumcision and Name of JESUS
Christ Lutheran Church, Cleveland, OH
Cleveland, Ohio

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)

Dear beloved of the LORD:

The Name of this Holy Child is God’s sermon to the world of an Eternal 8th Day — a sermon in two words — “Yahweh Saves.” That’s what JESUS means: “Yahweh Saves.” The Lutheran Catechism on the 1st Article of the Apostles’ Creedposes the question: Who is God? The answer lists the dry multisyllabic attributes of God: God is a spirit, eternal, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, impartial and so on, but we hear little about God’s disposition or intention toward us.

Even the sacred name of God revealed to Moses at the burning bush tells us nothing about God’s temperament.Yahweh— “I AM,” or, “He who is,” “the existing One” — still leaves us with cloudy abstractions.

In this Holy Child born of Mary, the sacred name revealed of old, Yahweh, is joined to another Hebrew word, shua. Shua means “saves.” Beloved, take heart and rejoice, this is how God is disposed — how He is minded toward us — He desires to save us. Save us from death, the grave, from misery and affliction, from our own sins and the damage they do to ourselves and others. St. Matthew (1:21) wrote: “He is called Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

The Old Testament Prophets provided many names and titles for our Savior: Immanuel (God is with us); Christ, Messiah, anointed one; King; Wonderful Counselor; Mighty God; Everlasting Father; Prince of Peace. But of all the names and titles given to the Savior by prophecy, the LORD reserved until His conception the NAME that is above every name, the Name at which every knee shall bow and every tongue confess: JESUS, Yahweh Saves, Jesus is LORD, Jesus is God in the flesh, the incarnate glory of the Heavenly Father.(cf. Philippians 2:9-11) He was given the name JESUS that you might also be named after Him. For apart from this NAME, your name is inscribed in the BOOK OF THE DEAD. … Your name is PILATE, for you vainly imagine you can wash your hands of your misdeeds and others will bear the blame. … Your name is BARABBAS, for you continually take part in rebellion. … Your name is JUDAS, for you have betrayed your Lord and sought money above all. … Your name is SAUL, for you have not waited or trusted in God. … Your name is GOLIATH, for your pride is enormous. … Your name is JACOB, for you have deceived your family. … Your name is ABEL, which means wind, vapor, fleeting vanity, for you have been struck down by the power of sin, and you go back to the dust.Meaningless, meaningless, all has now become meaningless for you. … Your name is EVE, for you have grasped following your lust to know. … Your name is ADAM, for you did not heed the voice of God. … But for all of us sons of Adam, this Son is given. To us who bear unholy names of unclean parents, a new NAME is given. The Holy Name of JESUS, which the little infant boy born of Mary has … is given to us!

A husband gives his name to his bride.Likewise,, this Heavenly Bridegroom, who came to cleanse and sanctify His Church with the washing of water through the Word, … this Heavenly Bridegroom pours out upon His Church His Name, giving us the rights and privileges of being in His holy family. In addition, the text sets another significant sign before us, namely, it’s the "eighth day," on which the Lord God commanded circumcision for the newborn sons of Israel.

The early fathers of the Christian Church, as well as Dr. Luther, took note of this and explained as follows: the LORD GOD created the heavens and the earth in six days, and then established the Sabbath for man by His rest on the seventh day. The "eighth day" the new, eternal day, beyond the days of the week, beyond the time of creation; is the never-ending day of God Himself, of eternity with Him in heaven. It is this "eighth day" of eternal life that has been accomplished by our dear Lord Jesus in His fulfillment of the Old Covenant (the covenant given to Abraham and to his children.Furthermore, it is this "eighth day" of eternal life with Him, in His Resurrection from death and the grave, which has been given to you in the waters of Holy Baptism (noted by the 8-sided baptismal font). The early church also consideredthe first Easter Sunday to be the 8th Day above all others here on earth, on which day — in the Resurrection of our Lord — the eternity of His Divine Life spilled over into, and poured out upon, our time and space. By the water and Word of Holy Baptism you now live in that "eighth day" of the Resurrection awaiting eternity with your LORDJesus.

Likewise, it is the "eighth day" of the Resurrection that we live in, and celebrate, each Sunday — on the Lord's Day — (not only the first day of the week, but the eighth day beyond all days and weeks) — as we receive the body given and the blood poured out of our crucified and risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Eucharist.

This 8th day, we gather as the body of Christ on the threshold of another "New Year" on earth. We gather to enter again into that glorious "eighth day" of eternal life with Christ in heaven, byreceiving the Sacrament of His true body and true blood. In Him, and in His Supper, your life here on earth is redeemed and sanctified for His divine purpose, to the glory of His Holy Name and for the benefit of your neighbor.Thus, your time here and now is no longer a meaningless burden, but a cross that you receive (with thanksgiving) and bear (in faith) for the sake of Christ Jesus and His Gospel.But more importantly, in Him and in His Supper, you are granted already a foot in the door of His eternity, His heaven, His Paradise and New Creation.There with Him forever is truly where your life is, and where you are, safe and secure in your dear Savior's care.No matter where your days on earth may lead you, and no matter when those days on earth may end, your life remains hidden with God in Christ.Come, therefore, and partake of His eternal life, in this Feast of His "Eighth Day" circumcision and naming when “His infant body now begins the cross to feel: Those precious drops of blood that flow for death the Victim seal.”(TLH, # 117:3)

St. Bernard of Clairvaux said, “The name of Jesus is … a sovereign medicine. If there be anyone overwhelmed with sorrow, let Jesus come into his heart, and thence to his lips, and behold, at the rising light of this sacred name all darkness and clouds will be dispersed, peace and joy will return, and the serenity of his mind will be restored. If there be anyone stained with crime, and driven headlong by despair to the pit of destruction, let him call upon this life-giving name, and he will speedily be restored to hope and salvation. Invoking this name brings help in every time of trouble."

Remember always, dear brothers and sisters, this Name. For it is God’s sermon to you in pride and despair, prosperity and adversity, or when you despair of any help. This name is God’s sermon to the world of the eternal 8th day and of He who does what His name says: “Yahweh saves.”

In the name of the Father and of the ( ) Son and of the Holy Spirit.Amen.

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.    S. D. G