The Feast of Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ “His Name was Called Jesus”

“And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, His name was called Jesus, which was so named of the Angel before He was conceived in the womb.” (Luke 2:21)

Eight days after the Holy Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we celebrate His Circumcision, one of the Minor Feasts of the Lord.

God had ordained the law of circumcision as a sign that His people would become a particular people over all others, that is, through circumcision, they entered among the chosen People of God. This was that every male of the seed of Abraham be circumcised on the eighth day of his birth. God put every soul that did not obey this law under judgement.

 As our Lord Jesus was born from the posterity of Abraham, according to the flesh, He was circumcised on the eighth day, to fulfill the Law of Moses. All male infants underwent circumcision as a sign of God’s Covenant with the holy Forefather Abraham and his descendants. “Every male of you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. A child who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised … and my covenant shall be in your flesh as an everlasting covenant” (Genesis, 17:10-13). The Lord accepted the circumcisions as a sign of God’s Covenant with mankind and so that later no one would doubt that He had truly assumed human flesh, and that His Incarnation was not merely an illusion, as certain heretics had taught. St. Paul says, “Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers.” (Romans 15:8). The Savior’s circumcision was the occasion of the first shedding of His precious blood.

After this ritual, the Divine Infant was given the name Jesus, as the Archangel Gabriel declared on the day of the Annunciation to the Holy Theotokos [Luke 1:31-33, 2:21]. The name Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua which means God is salvation. His name is an indication of His service, the work of the salvation of the world [Matthew 1:21; Mark 9:38-39, 16:17; Luke 10:17; Acts 3:6, 16; Philippians 2:9-10].

The Lord’s Circumcision and Naming — remind Christians that they have entered into a New Covenant with God and “are circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” [Colossians 2:11]. The very name “Christian” is a sign of mankind’s entrance into a New Covenant with God.

In the New Testament, the ritual of circumcision gave way to the Mystery of Baptism, which it prefigured. “ In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; and you were buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God who raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:11-12)