Name of Jesus Sunday Year A 2023
Happy New Year! It is great to see you here this morning. I hope your New Year celebrations last night were special and delightful.
You know, New Year’s Day is a special day because it is the day when we start looking ahead to the New Year that is before us. And it is the day when we start making plans and set goals and dream about our New Year resolutions. Today is the day when people state: “I will…” and you fill in the blank.
And this is all well and good, except for the fact that research informs us that 80 % of all News Year’s resolutions fail in just 2 to 3 weeks. Think about it… all the wonderful things that we want to accomplish are quickly abandoned or forgotten.
And so, at the end of the day, we are left to wonder what it is that we can hang our hat on as we celebrate New Year’s Day. And the answer is Jesus Christ our Lord.
In Jesus we have confidence to face the future. In Jesus we have hope for tomorrow. In Jesus we know that our future is secure and that we need not worry about what tomorrow might bring.
And so today, I would like to tell you why we can be so confident in placing our future in the Lord’s hands.
To start off, today is the eighth day of Christmas. And on the eighth day of Christmas the church celebrates two things, the circumcision of our Lord and the giving of His name.
Both events happened on the same day. Luke informs us “After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.” Luke 2:21
In one short verse Luke tells us who Jesus is and what He will do for us. For example… The name Jesus (Joshua) in Hebrew literally means “Yahweh saves.” Or in English “The Lord saves.” By giving the child the name Jesus, God is telling us His Son’s job description.
By telling us His name, God is telling us what He will do for us. An angel said to Joseph “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
The name given to Jesus is important. It tells us that Jesus is our Savior. It tells us that Jesus is Emmanuel “God with us.” It tells us that Jesus came to earth as a man to die in our place and take all our sins with Him to the grave.
The name tells us that Jesus is the anointed One of God, chosen to remove all that separates us from God and each other.
And so, if we cannot hang our hat on this, I do not know what we can hang it on. Our future is in the hands of the Lord. As the wonderful song describes it: “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living, just because He lives.”
God holds the future. And how does Jesus accomplish this? Our reading today informs us that it begins with the circumcision of our Lord.
The circumcision of Jesus foreshadows how Jesus will save us from our sin. Jesus will save us through shedding His blood. And it all started on the day He was circumcised and then is completed on the day He died on the Cross. For it is through the shedding of His blood that Jesus will live up to His name.
As you may recall, as He prayed in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, we are told He sweat drops of blood. And after He was arrested, and beaten, and crowned with a crown of thorns, scripture tells us there was much blood shed on the way to the Cross. And when He was nailed to the cross, Jesus, our Lord and Savior, shed His blood one more time for you and for me.
It is through the shedding of His blood that we are all saved. It is through the blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that our sins have been forgiven. By His blood Jesus paid the price for all our sins. And this all began on the eighth day of Christmas when He was circumcised and given the name Jesus.
Yes, today is New Year’s Day. It is the day for thinking about the future. It is the day when we realize again that the future is not in our hands, but in the hands of the Christ Child whose birth we celebrated eight days ago.
Let us pray: Almighty God, you chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of your only Son. Grant that we, who have been redeemed by His blood, may share with her in the glory of your eternal kingdom; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.