The Circumcision of Jesus

Luke 2:21–39, Ephesians 2:11–14, Philippians 2:5–11 (read online ⧉)

The “rush” of a newborn child and all the angst that went along this particular child’s birth should have settled down a little. The day of ’ circumcision was a day of law and ritual. Instead, two prophetic messages happen. In many s, this is the last gasp of the documented miraculous and supernatural until steps into his adult ministry. Just in case Mary and Joseph could possibly forget ’s call on their lives over the last few days, the events surrounding ’ circumcision would have certainly recalled it.

The significance surrounding circumcision cannot be ignored. The circumcision was established prior to Israel. For any Jew (desced from Israel) this was a physical tie to their entire history and the manifestation of ’s al relationship. To have a prophetic statement—let alone two—tied to that would be engraved on their ts and minds.

Circumcision was a major barrier for both Jew and Gentile. Gentiles thought it was wrong, and Jews thought it was essential. This is why Paul focused on breaking the tie between circumcision and a relationship with . Through , Gentiles are brought into relationship with (this is an oversimplification, so don’t read too much into that), and the circumcision is no longer required. For Jews, circumcision transforms from an essential salvation component to cultural . Thus a barrier (appropriate for a time) was removed.

There are lots of things Jews had to “surrer” to be in fellowship with Gentiles, just as Gentiles had to “surrer” things to be in fellowship with Jews. In both cases, they had to submit one to the authority of another. For both, that meant surrering part of their core to another. When Paul speaks of emptying himself, surrered his to become human. That takes real humility and obedience. That is our example.

When we talk about personal , we too have much we need to surrer to Christ. It can be hard. We are very much tied to our , and much of our is what American and/or Christian culture holds up as that which is valuable.

Over this New Year, we will each be called to surrer pieces of our to Christ. It is not a one-time thing. As we continue to become more Christ-like (for that should be our goal), we will constantly be finding new things to surrer. Sometimes the things we need to surrer might not seem so obvious, especially within the context of Christian culture. For example, surrering leadership or pride often seems obvious. On the other hand, taking on a leadership role and taking (Christian) pride in doing it (i.e., fulfilling the mission) is often not taken as surrering one’s . If one has been in the background (and likes it that way), it actually is a form of surrer to become a leader.

For almost 33 years (less the time we know of a 12-year-old at the ), the big event for Mary and Joseph was the birth and circumcision of . Joseph was likely dead by the start of ’ ministry. Mary, on the other hand, had to surrer part of her to the world. was no longer only hers. He was something far more. After his and resurrection, also was no longer just the Jews’. He was for the whole world. For Mary, ’ siblings, and ’ followers, this was also a needed surrer.

1)Think about the last year. What has made you the most upset? What does that tell you about what you need to surrer to this year?

2) When you think of your self-identification, what do you call yourself (i.e., political part, national , cultural , blood , etc.)? How do each of those contradict or work in harmony with the Christian walk?

3) It can seem contradictory that surrer may involve picking up something. What might be something that you need to pick up this year? Why? How does it fit into walking with and following ?

Pastor Ian

By Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.