Two baby boys have recently been born into my wider family. Each child’s name was debated and thoughtfully chosen by his parents. One was named after his grandfather who died a short time before his birth and the other because his parents liked the name.
In the Bible great importance was given to the naming of a child. It was believed that the name of a person describes the character of the person. The parent was also making a statement about their hope for who or what their child would become. In this way, the name carried with it some identity for the child.
When God sent His Son into the world there was no debate over His name. The angel who visited his mother before He was conceived (Luke 2:21), and His father before He was born (Matthew 1:21), clearly told them that the child to be born was to be named Jesus. When the child was eight days old Mary and Joseph together presented Him at the temple and they named Him Jesus, the name the visiting angel had given to them. As our text for today tells us, God chose the name for His Son. He gave Him the name Jesus, the name that is above every name.
The name Jesus means ‘The Lord saves’. The very purpose He came was to save people from their sins, to rescue them from the mess they have got themselves into and to deliver them from the power of sin. Centuries before He came God promised He would provide a rescue for sin (Psalm 130:8) and Jesus came to do just that. He shared in our humanity, and through His death broke the power of the devil and the power of death, freeing those held in bondage to live with Him for evermore.
The One who is Jesus is also called Immanuel. He is a child of prophecy, a sign for which people waited 600 years (Isaiah 7:14). The baby in Bethlehem is indeed God Himself, ‘God with us, Immanuel’. Very God, He came in person, became one of us, sharing our humanity and every human experience, yet without sin. Christmas is a time for good news of great joy. The Saviour who was born as a baby, died as a man and rose again. He ascended into heaven and He’s coming again. And we shall be with Him forever.
On this Christmas Day, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Immanuel, let’s join with the shepherds and wise men of long ago, and with the ceaseless song of the heavenly angels, and worship Him.
O Come let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our King.
Let us whisper His name, wonderful name,
Jesus our Lord and King. (Iain Anderson)
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your inexpressible gift and the expression of Your love in sending Jesus to be my Saviour and Lord. Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You came and humbled Yourself to die on a cross that I might live. Holy Spirit, please draw near to me today, and teach me more about the wonder of such love. Amen.
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