Circumcision and Name of Jesus Friday
“And after eight days, when the child was circumcised, his name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”
Finally, there was also the custom of naming the child tied to circumcision, as we see here and in John the Baptist who also was named during his circumcision. But just as Christ was not obligated to be circumcised and the sign was empty in him, so also his name had been given to him previously by the angel, so that he also did not get it from circumcision. This happened and was described because he, above all other men, was completely free from the law and from sin and only becomes our servant by giving himself under the law and becoming like us, as Paul says in Galatians 4:4-5: “He was put under the law in order to redeem those who were under the law.” It is with circumcision as it is with death: It assaulted Christ and killed him, although it had no right or cause against him. And since he willingly and innocently submitted to death and allowed it to kill him, death now owes him; it acted unjustly against Christ and sinned against him. Thus, Christ has a just claim against death. Now the injustice is so great that death committed against Christ that death cannot pay for it. This is why death must forever be under Christ and in his power. And this is how death was overcome and killed in Christ. But since Christ did not do this for himself but for us, having given us such overcoming of death in baptism, now all who believe in Christ must be lords over death, and death must be their subject–in fact, death must be the one who offended against them, one whom they should judge and cast aside, as they do when they die and on the last day. For by means of Christ’s donation death has lost its claim over all who receive such donation. Look, this is what it means to be redeemed from death by Christ in a lovely and pleasant manner. These are the spiritual battles of Joshua against the Canaanite pagans, especially the five kings, on whose necks the princes of Israel stepped, as Joshua had told them to do, Joshua 10:24. It is the same way with circumcision: Circumcision inflicted an injustice on Christ; he was not required to be circumcised. This is why it is justly subjected to Christ and he gained power over it, overcame it, and
dedicated this exploit to us, so that it must cease and has no power over those who believe in Christ. In this way he set us free from circumcision only by innocently submitting himself to it and by donating his rightful claim against it to us. See, this is what it means to put Christ under the law to redeem those who were under the law, Galatians 4:5. Furthermore, he also submitted himself also to all the other law, even though he was not required to do so, being a Lord and God above all laws. This is why they have all become his slaves, have done injustice against him, and must now by right also be his subjects. And this is what he gave to us. Therefore, if we believe in Christ and the law wants to punish us as a sinner and
drive us into hell by death and a bad conscience–and if you then stand up to these foes by reminding them of the sin and injustice they committed against Christ, your Lord: do you not think that they will then be ashamed and be more terrified of you than you are of them? Death will feel its guilt and flee in shame; the law will let go of its terror and laugh amiably with Christ. This is how we must drive away sin by sin. The sins they committed against Christ–and also against you on account of your faith–are greater than those you committed against them…See, is this not a lovely redemption from the law by him who put himself innocently under the law?
St. Louis ed., 11:291-293.