For Martin Bucer (1491-1551), Christ’s circumcision demonstrates his subjection to the law as he notes in An Ecclesiastical Exposition Upon Saint Luke 2.3. By yoking himself to the law, however, Christ does not succumb to the condemnation suffered by those who transgress it. Rather, through his perfect fulfillment of all its stipulations, he releases its yoke from all those who believe in him.

Luke 2:21

 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. 

Commentary on Luke 2:21

The equity of the law is what binds all people to keep it and which curses and condemns all those that transgress it. But there is no one and never has been one so holy that he has fully satisfied and kept the whole law. For we are all of the flesh, conceived and born in sin, and enslaved to sin. That is why Christ came into the world and made himself subject to the law by circumcision, for as Paul says, “every man who lets himself be circumcised is obligated to obey the whole law.” But Christ has perfectly fulfilled the law, so that all those who believe in him might be redeemed from this heavy yoke of the law and that the law might henceforth have no power to curse or condemn them. The law requires perfect righteousness and holiness, but all those who believe in Christ do not have their sins imputed to them but are counted as just and holy through Christ. And those who are accepted as just and holy already have what the law requires, namely, righteousness and holiness. They have these, not by the merit of their works but by faith through Christ, who by sin condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, and who is the end of the law to the justifying of everyone who believes. Therefore Paul writes that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.”

Luke, ed. Beth Kreitzer, Reformation Commentary on Scripture, NT vol. 3, p. 58.

 

RCS Series: Voices of the Reformation


“Ministers Must Diligently Seek Lost People.” Martin Bucer on 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.