Today’s readings are Isaiah 7 : 14 and Luke 1 : 26 – 38.
Those who have their lives hid in Jesus today know that their eternity is assured on account of the saving work of the Son of God, He who Is God and became flesh for us unworthy sinners. And so it is no surprise to us when we learn that the name Jesus (which is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua), turns out to mean “the Lord saves”.
And in turn, the name Christ, or Messiah, speaks of the “the anointed one of God”. How great that we saved sinners of this day then can also call Him “the Anointed One of God who saves”. O God, please give me the courage, sensitivity and wisdom to use the disrespect of the name of Jesus which occurs around me every day as opportunity to share with people the Name of the beautiful Anointed One of God who rescues me!
But let’s go back a bit in the story of this calling of the Son of Man (Jesus didn’t refer to himself much as the Son of God, but more often as the Son of Man. He said things like, in Mark 10:45, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many”). (Jesus, please help me in my anger and brokenness to serve others)
Isaiah 7 : 14 is a pretty good place to continue looking at the calling of Jesus – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”). Isaiah 9 : 6 cements the tradition for the many names that are given to the Holy One – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Let’s skip now to Luke 1 : 26 – 38. In this passage we find fulfilment of the Old Testament prophesies on the calling of the Lamb of God (another name for Jesus, and check out Exodus 12 : 1 – 30 to see how blessed we are in the assurance that God’s judgement wrath will pass over us on account of the blood of the Lamb sprinkled on our “door-frames”).
In verses 29 – 32 we read: Mary was greatly troubled at his words (this was the angel Gabriel, who God had personally sent to Mary to announce to her His birth plan for the Saviour), and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David (and hence another name for Jesus, Son of David), and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’ ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
Matthew 1 : 21 adds a really crucial reminder to the person, and name and mission for the boy born to Mary and Joseph, and it is also a timely reminder at this precious time of year, when the reason for the season is most commonly ground into the dust of our daily grind : “and you are to give him the name Jesus, because He will save his people from their sins.”
Thank You God for your amazing now and forever Christ-mas gift of the God-Man Jesus. I pray that You will never let me go, even though I am far off.