The Name of Jesus; December 24, 2019

Matthew 1:21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Virtually every detail of the Christmas story is miraculous, but we are so familiar with it that we forget that fact. Of all the parts of the story, the detail that the world most tries to dismiss as fable is the virgin birth. Sex is so pervasive today it is almost rare for anyone, male or female, to make it to their wedding day a virgin. In recent decades sex has been elevated to the point that some people celebrate the “right” to destroy infants in the womb so that nothing will inconvenience the free practice of sex. That God would bring His Son into the world without making use of sex is an affront to such people. However, of the two people who recorded the Christmas story for the Bible, it was Luke, the physician, the scientist, who went into the most detail about the virgin birth. He probably had a lot of trouble with the idea initially, too, but he had seen enough of the power of God to convince him it was real. Matthew, on the other hand, simply states it as fact, and then fleshes it out with the human details as well as connecting it to Old Testament prophecy. Here he tells us how the angel specified Jesus’ name, and that is powerful indeed. We don’t often think about the fact that “Jesus” is the Greek form of “Joshua,” (Yeshua) or realize that it means, “The LORD saves.” That tidbit has been grasped by Messianic Jews, and to me it is beautifully powerful. There is a very simple chorus that I like very much that just says, “Yeshua is Lord,” over and over. It is when Jews recognize that and acknowledge it that they are truly united with the Body of Christ, and that is glory indeed, as Paul wrote in Romans 9-11. Gentiles too need to realize that even the name, Jesus, speaks God’s plan of salvation.

This is something I have known for many years now, but it is a reality that keeps growing in me. Tonight I will have the opportunity once again to tell the Christmas story to a mixed group, some of whom will think they are familiar with it and some of whom will be quite unfamiliar with it. I need the anointing of the Holy Spirit to express it clearly with words and body language that will be understood and received, so that the complacent may be encouraged to action and the unbelieving brought to faith, for the salvation of many, building up the Body of Christ for His glory.

Father, thank You for all You have done already in this year’s Advent season. Every year we get overwhelmed with the busyness of it all, and tend to lose focus on the joy of what it represents. However, You brought us through a very long day Sunday, and You will bring us through today as well. Help us indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, so that You may use us to build Your Church, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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