He was called “Jesus.” Yet, the Bible also talks about him being called “Immanuel,” “the Son of the Most High” and that he will “sit on the throne of his father David and reign over the house of Jacob.” His name really is above all names.
A. Names are special and have deep meaning to the parents. But they also can shape the child. The way other children see your child might begin with the name of your child. Names are special.
B. In a Jewish culture, especially in the timeline of the first century and earlier, there were almost rules for how you would name your child. What we will see today is a name which is above all name, a name to which we bow down.
C. Paul would say to the Philippians (Phil. 2:9-11). So this morning we want to take a look at the names and titles given at the time of the incarnation see more than just a babe in a manger, but understand the name that is above all names. For it is before him that we bow.
A. It is the name we use most because it was the name used most. Over 700 times the name is used the NT. The name is Jesus. Matthew opens his gospel story by saying, “The book of genealogy of Jesus Christ…” The first chapter ends with Joseph calling the baby “Jesus.” When Luke gives us his story he tells of Gabriel speaking to Mary and tells her that she will have a child and he says, “and you shall call him Jesus.” On the traditional eighth day, the day of circumcision, the day of naming of the child, Luke records for us that “he was called Jesus, the name given to him by the angel.” So what? Is there really something in a name?
B. That infant to whom the name was given those years ago would grow into THE most polarizing figure in human history! His birth would scare the living daylights out of the most powerful of Kings! His miracles would astound crowds of people! His ministry would attract thousands of curiosity seekers as well as seekers of truth! His teachings would challenge the establishment, but would endure for millennia!
C. His call to discipleship would promise nothing but persecution and harsh times, yet would attract millions over the centuries. His critics would blast him for his unorthodox ministry, and eventually take him to the cross for his execution! His claim to deity would confound many, yet would be unmistakable when the tomb was found empty! And His followers would spread their new religion all over the known world within a generation!
D. Jesus is the name in which we pray. Jesus is the name in which we cry out for our salvation. It because when God chose the name, he did so because of its meaning. The very meaning of the name Jesus is given to us in Matt. 1:21. His name is the Greek version of the Hebrew name “Joshua” which also means “to deliver, to rescue.” The very name of the baby in a manger tells the story of why we call ourselves Christians. God became man and took the name, Jesus, because he came to save people like me.
II. The Son of…
A. Paul reminded the Philippians that Jesus “gave up equality is God in order to become human.” When Matthew began his gospel story he says, “ Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” What Matthew is doing is giving us non-Jews the background of the family into which Jesus would be born. The reason is important. The word Matthew uses at the beginning “Christ” is the Greek form of the Hebrew “Messiah.” In order to be the Messiah he would have to have descended from David, from the tribe of Judah.
B. While for us, those first 17 verses of Matthew are a tongue-twister of names, but the opening is to help us see that Jesus was more than a baby, he came as a baby connected to David. In that light, he came as our Messiah, he came as our Christ.
C. When the angel comes to the shepherds in the field, this angle is shines with the glory of the Lord and speaks these words (Luke 2:10-11).
D. They so desperately needed and wanted the Messiah to come. They needed a savior, but they were hoping for a Messiah. Jesus came as both. The Hebrews used the word “Mashiach” which meant “Anointed One.” It was used for priest and kings, but it was used in a special to describe the one who would come as the Redeemer of Israel who would be both priest and king. When Gabriel spoke to Mary, he said (Luke 1:30-33). Jesus is both our priest and king. He is the Messiah (or Christ) that Israel longed for. Jesus was anointed, not by man or earthly priest, but by God. That was a twist no one expected.
A. You see Jesus is not only “the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Jesus, is human form, is really “the Son of God.” Mary was not impregnated by Joseph, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, which made the child inside her “the son of God.” Our Messiah, our Jesus, was able to save our sins on the cross, not because he was from the line of David, but because he was God in the flesh…but that leads to the last name.
B. READ Matt. 1:20b-23. The prophesy came from Is. 7. God would become flesh. God would abide with man. God would touch lives in a physical way as well as spiritual way. And when he came to the end of this physical life, he would promise his disciples that “Lo, I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.”
A. I began this sermon in the book of Philippians as Paul was teaching these Christians about character of Jesus. I want to end with that passage. Hear it in its fullness (Phil. 2:5-11).
B. Here we gather, just days before many celebrate the birth of Jesus. We come together to worship the babe that grew into the man who lived out his name – Jesus, and became our savior. Humble yourself and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and let the Savior into your life.
C. For his name is above all names. May your heart truly join with the words we are about to sing. If we can help you connect to Jesus this day, come as we stand and sing.
Jeffrey Dillinger, Minister