CIRCUMCIZED FOR US (NEW YEAR’S DAY – 1999)
“For Thou hast made Him a little lower than the angels”
What a seemingly contradictory expression! The Lord God Almighty made His holy Son, the second person in the Trinity, a little lower than angels. This was intentionally part of the Lord God’s wonderful plan to redeem sinful mankind. Instead of effecting the dreadful sentence our first parents brought on themselves, “Thou shalt surely die,” the Lord promised, “Believe on my Son, Jesus Christ, and you shall surely live! “ That was His plan.
To make this plan possible, it was necessary for Jesus Christ to be made lower than angels. He had to take on our humanity so that He could live and die in our place. For us to live He had to die. God’s holy Son took on human form by being born the Son of Man, a helpless infant of a sinful human mother.
St. Paul says it this way: “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law…” Part of our Savior’s humanity was living under the jurisdiction of law, not only the 10 Commandments, but every law that His people were required to keep. That is why, only 8 days after He was born, our Savior was circumcised. Made lower than angels? Indeed! Circumcision was a bloody rite.
It was a rite that God wanted performed on every male offspring of Abraham and that eventually became a sign of the Jewish nation. What was its purpose? The Lord wanted the males of Israel to have a physical mark that would remind them of His promise to send a Savior. So great was our Lord’s concern for the salvation of His people that He gave them a physical sign in addition to a verbal promise.
Did the Jews understand what circumcision was all about? Like so many Old Testament forms, it became a means to win God’s favor instead of a sign of His goodness. The real significance of this rite, however, was made clear at our Savior’s circumcision where He was circumcised to keep the law in our place. By assuming our humanity, our Savior not only saved us from our sins, but assured us that circumcision is no longer necessary. He that was made a little lower than the angels has translated us from the jurisdiction of any and every law to the perfect freedom of children of God.
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their children.