In this passage we are given more teaching with respect to Jesus when he was an infant. We are not as familiar with this passage as we are the birth narrative of the Lord, but it is very helpful for us to consider the truths held out for us here.

In verse 21, we read that the child was circumcised on the 8th day, and he was called Jesus. This teaches us that Jesus was born under the law. When we combine this reality with his name, we are to understand he was born under the law in order to save us from our sins.

There are two important sides to this truth. One is that we are born under the law. We are all required by God and obligated to God to keep his law unto his glory. His law is good and righteous, and it is good that God requires it of men. 

The trouble is that we are also born in sin. We are not capable of keeping God’s law according to his glory and righteousness. We can perform a certain conformity to it that other men may admire, but it is a corrupted performance in all of us, varying from person to person as to degree. We, as sinners, do not only have inability to keep God’s law, we don’t have the desire to glorify God.

The sum of this truth is that we are all justly condemned by the law (Romans 3). It exposes us as enemies to God’s righteousness and glory. It also reveals to us that we are subject not only to the requirement of the law, but the penalties for non-conformity to the law, both for transgressions and failure to live for God’s glory in heart and actions. This side of the truth is bad news.

The other side of this truth is that Jesus was not born in sin. He was born with perfect righteousness within. His life was complete, perfect desire and actions to glorify God. He was, as a man, completely obligated to keep God’s law, but every fiber of his being desired to keep God’s law to glorify his Father in heaven. He was full of light and life.

Circumcision was a sign of God’s promise to his people, that though they were born in sin, God would provide for them redemption. They would be his people and he would be their God. When Jesus is circumcised, he is identifying himself with sinful people. He is the fulfilment of God’s promise. He will take away the curse of the law upon sinners, but meeting their obligations and debt incurred for violations of the law. He is the Savior. This side of the truth is good news.

When you look to yourself for righteousness before God, you can find none according to the law. When you look to Christ, you find all you need. And God gives Christ to you to meet your need. It is a great salvation. This simple act of the Lord Jesus being circumcised holds for you a great promise; unto you a child is born, a son is given. So never look to yourself, but always to Christ for a right standing with God.

Jesus took our condition, our nature, notwithstanding our sin. If you look to him for salvation, God owns you as his child. When you are prone by a work of the Holy Spirit to condemn yourself, God Is near to justify you. When the prodigal son said, “I am unworthy to be a son, make me a household servant,” you see how the Father embraced him and took him to a feast. 

When we by the Spirit think ourselves unworthy to be accepted, then God looks on us worthy in his Son, and never more worthy that when we acknowledge our own unworthiness. It is the truth that sets us free. God loves the work of his own Spirit, his own nature, and that which is his own. And we are his in Christ. So again, we learn as sinners to look to Christ alone.

When God shows mercy to sinners, he is gathering for himself worshippers. He sees his work in us, his love, his Son. Though we are sinners, he is well pleased with us in Christ. He is content to be a Father to us even in our sinful condition. Who can measure this love of God?

So if God is a Father to us, even as he is disposed to his only Son, then let our hearts not be discouraged in afflictions, persecutions, or temptations. Look to Christ, and be encouraged. Day by day, look to him, and remember who he is and what he came to do for you.