Around Christmas time we focus on just a couple of different perspectives of the Christmas story. We focus on Christ’s birth, the Star, the shepherds…which is all well and good. But I want to look at something completely different that we might not associate with the Christmas.
A couple of months ago I wrote a post called ‘The Immutability of God’ where we looked at some of God’s Attributes. Today, with the Christmas season now here, I want to look at the Names of Jesus.
Jesus is called by many names. And each one tells us about a different part of who Jesus is. The first name we find is in the book of Isaiah.
This is probably the one most associated with Christmas. And that name is Immanuel.
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
The literal meaning of the name is found in Matthew 1:23
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
God with us. The practical understanding of the translation is simply: God with us all the time.
There has never been a moment when God has left our side. We may turn our back on Him or stray from Him, but He’s right there with us all along the way.
This name should bring the most peace at Christmas, knowing no matter what we go through, God is with us.
We watched my second favorite Christmas movie Saturday night; the Polar Express. And the famous line from the movie is “Seeing in believing, but sometimes the most real things in life are the things we can’t see”
We can’t see God, and sometimes that can cause doubt, worry, even frustration. But He is there. This name and these verses prove it.
The next name closely associated with Christmas is Messiah.
The actual name Messiah you won’t find in any of the common Christmas passages. But you will find the name Christ.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
The names Messiah and Christ are interchangeable. The name Messiah is derived from Hebrew and Christ is adapted from the Greek.
The definition meaning “Anointed One” or to be specific “God’s Anointed One.”
In Jewish history, anointed ones were the ones chosen by God to be either a Prophet, Priest, or King.
In 1 Samuel 16, the Lord anoints David as King. But his reign was for a limited time. As any King or Priests is. Unlike the others, Jesus is THE Anointed One.
The baby Immanuel was destined to be our supreme and eternal Prophet, Priest, and King.
And you shall call His name Jesus.
Jesus is the most common name of all. This is the name the angel Gabriel told Mary to name her child in Luke 1:31
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
The name Jesus means Yahweh (God) is salvation. We see the translation in Matthew 1:21 when an angel appeared to Joseph.
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
The name Jesus communicates the purpose of God’s son to come to earth; to save the world from their sin.
Sometimes I think we forget that the adult Jesus, the One who made lame beggars walk, the blind to see, who fed the 5,000 and calmed the storms is the same baby Immanuel.
Jesus’ names do not stop at His birth, it just begins. Later in His life, He is called…
Lamb of God – John 1:36
Light of the World – John 8:12
Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6
Savior – Luke 2:11
And He is called Shepherd.
In Psalm 23:1 David calls the Lord his shepherd. This image of God was instantly understood in the society of Jesus’ time.
Being a shepherd is one of the oldest professions in the Bible. The duties and care of an earthly shepherd are reflected in our heavenly Shepherd.
Duties of a shepherd started early in the morning, when he or she would lead the flock from their pen or enclosure, and guide them to the spot where they would be pastured for the day.
Shepherds were responsible for grazing and watering their charges, and protecting them from human theft and predators.
The shepherd would then watch them all day, making sure that none of the sheep strayed. And if one did, the shepherd looked for the lost sheep until he found it.
The sheep needed constant attending, and the shepherds would give it. After spending all day in the fields, the shepherds would then guide the sheep back to the fold, counting them as they came in, making sure none were missing.
So, like a shepherd, Jesus knows each of us by name, He guides us faithfully towards safety and provision; and He provides peace and rest.
And He willingly laid down His own life to save us.
John 10: 14, 16-17
14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.
16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
And most importantly He is called Son of the Most High. Son of God
This title is possibly the most important title ever given to Jesus. It is because Christ is God’s Son, that He can be called these wonderful amazing titles of Immanuel, Prince of Peace, Messiah, and so many more.
If Jesus was only a human son of Joseph and Mary, then none of those Christmas titles would be applicable or possible.
To declare this baby to be “Son of the Most High” or the “one and only Son” of God (John 3:16) was to say that Jesus is of the same substance as God, equal with God.
It was this “Son of God” concept that incited religious leaders to pursue the death penalty for our Christ:
Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
But it was all in God’s plan for Jesus to die for us. We needed a Savior, and that Savior came in the form of a babe.
This is the real reason for Christmas and the meaning behind some of those Christmas names of Jesus:
Long awaited precious promise
Son of God and son of man
Heaven’s glory in a manger
Has come to us in Bethlehem
A baby born to save us all
On our knees we fall
Messiah – Francesca Battistelli