January 1, 2007 - Tuesday in the week after Christmas

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 61:1-11; Luke 1:57-80

“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)

What's in a name, you ask? When it comes to Jesus, everything is in the name. “And you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). That's what's in a name –– at least, His name. His name means: “the Lord saves.” And that name means nothing at all if it does not mean that Jesus saves you from all of your sins. And He does.

To prove it, we get the first drops of His precious blood today. On the eighth day of His life, Jesus was circumcised. Can you hear the Little One cry out, under today's knife? If so, what a faint cry that is, compared to the one He will cry out for you one day under thorns and nails (Matthew 27:46). There, on the cross, He will cry out again as He sheds His blood for all your sins.

Just one drop, that's all you need. One drop to tell you that God was born for you, born under the law, to redeem and save you from the law. Just one drop to tell you that God is here for you, in the flesh, to bear all your sins and be your Savior. Just one drop to tell you that you are now His. God has purchased you with His own blood (Acts 20:28).

That blood began to spill on just the eighth day of our Lord's life. Why? Because of His name. Without the shedding of His blood, there can be no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). And, since His name means forgiveness for you and me, there is blood on the day and He is given the name Jesus.

Today's blood, however, points backward to the blood Jesus shed for you on the Cross. It points forward to the blood by which Jesus now washes you and cleanses you in Holy Baptism (Colossians 2:11-15; Ephesians 5:25-27). It points forward to the blood by which Jesus now feeds you and promises you eternal life (John 6:54; Matthew 26:26-28).

I remember as kids, my friends and I used to make pacts with each other, sealed by blood. We'd promise that we would always be there for each other. Then, we'd seal that promise with blood. We'd take a knife, cut our hands, and then hold hands — blood to blood. Yes, boys will be boys. At least, that's the way it was before it was feared that diseases could be passed through blood.

But blood has always been important to God — at least, the blood of His Son. With that blood, God makes a pact with you. He promises you forgiveness, life and salvation. He pledges to you His daily cleansing, washing and pardon, and He seals that promise blood to blood. He seals that promise with the flesh and blood of His Son in the Holy Supper.