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Sunday, January 1, 2012

January 1: Circumcision of Jesus

Circumcision of Christ (by Luca Signorelli)
According to the Halakha (defined by Wikipedia as “the collective body of Jewish law”), males of the Jewish faith should be named and circumcised eight days from birth.  Jesus, who was born into a Jewish family, would have therefore been named
and circumcised on January 1st  had his birthday been on December 25th.

Luke 2:21 (NIV) tells of this event:  On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.  This passage harkens back to Luke 1:31 (NIV) where the angel Gabriel tells Mary:  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  Joseph receives this explanation
from “an angel of the Lord” in Matthew 1:21:  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save people from their sins.

Wikipedia reports that the name “Jesus” (aka Iesus in Latin, Iesous in Greek, Joshua in Hebrew, and Yesua  in Hebrew-Aramaic) means “Yahweh delivers” or “Yahweh rescues.”  “Jesus” also came to mean “Yahweh saves,” “Yahweh is salvation,” and sometimes “Jehovah is salvation.”  (“Christ” is derived from the Greek word Khristos, meaning “the anointed one” – and is a title rather than a name.  This Greek word Khristos was also used as a translation for the Hebrew word Mashiach, meaning “Messiah.”)

The Syriac Infancy Gospel, part of the New Testament apochrypha, “contains the first reference to the survival of Christ’s severed foreskin.”  An elderly Hebrew woman is said to have taken the foreskin and “preserved it in an alabaster box of old oil of spikenard.”  The second chapter of this apochryphal story goes
on to assert that “this is that alabaster-box which Mary the sinner procured, and poured forth the ointment out of it upon the head and feet of our Lord Jesus Christ, and wiped it off with the hairs of her head.”

According to Wikipedia, some philosophers have instead contended that during the Ascension of Jesus,
his body parts (including those that were no longer attached) ascended also.  Leo Allatius, a one-time
keeper of the Vatican library, theorized that the foreskin then became the rings of Saturn.         


Copyright January 1, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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