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Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Name of the Lord Jesus

As we have been reminded over recent days, when Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth was informed by his betrothed, Mary, that she was already pregnant, he was prepared to quietly divorce her (betrothal was not marriage, but it was much more serious than our modern "engagement").  However, before he could do so, he had a dream in which an angel appeared to him, and said: "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." (Matt 1:20-21).  
In Biblical times, a person's name expressed the character or attributes desired for a child by his or her parents. Thus the angel's explanation of the name "JESUS," which means "YHWH saves" or simply "salvation": "He shall save His people from their sins."
There is only one Saviour! As Peter informed the crowd at the first Pentecost of the Christian era: "... there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12); but His name does save!  John states, quite unequivocally, that: "... to all who received Him, who believed in His Name, He gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13).
Those who do receive Christ are thenceforth associated with His name - and therefore with His Person and work. First they are to be baptised "... in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (Matt 28:19). They are then to order their lives in a way that honours His name. "Let every one who names the Name of the Lord depart from iniquity." (II Tim 2:19).

He has given many gracious promises of answered prayer if we pray in His Name: "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He may give it to you." (John 15:16-17).

The final use of "name" in the Bible stresses our eternal identification with His name.  In the glorious revelation given to John, he sees the new Jerusalem, and can write: "There shall no more be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall worship Him; they shall see His face, and His Name shall be on their foreheads." (Rev 22:3-4)  as we are united with Him in the age to come. 

Of course, Matthew also makes reference to another Name of the Lord Jesus -  "Emmanuel" which means "God with us".  If He is not with you, then you are not His; if you are not His, then you will not be in that new Jerusalem.   He has come that He might save you from your sins but, like the gifts you may have been offered just a couple pf days ago, His gift of eternal salvation may be accepted - or rejected.  It is a gift of inestimable worth.  Receive it now - and know His presence with you for the remainder of your mortal life; and then throughout eternity.

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