Monday was not just Monday, it was the first Monday of the New Year. But, it was not just the first Monday of the New Year … Monday is laundry day for us. I run a few tubs of washing and our 10 meter times 4 lengths of washing line is full … and I have the comforter in the washing machine. I took a video of the washing hanging on the lines and sent it to our children saying the video was a message about sanctification.
Its intention is humorous but the point is that like we clean our clothing we need to have our souls cleansed. This is the reason Jesus Christ came to earth. The Apostles Creed continues … “I believe in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord”.
1) The first matter to deal with is the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(1) His name, Jesus. I received a WhatsApp picture with a message today from a fine Christian Lady. It was a nice picture and the intent of the message seems good, but it is not Christian Doctrine. I have chatted to the sister and we are at peace with each other.
It went like this … “Good Morning. Speak the name of Jesus over every worry, every stress, every uncertainty, and every need in your life daily. There is no greater power or more assuring calm than the precious name of Jesus.” Are you able to spot the problem? This is mystic and bordering on the magic leaving no room for the Will of God in one’s life.
Many want to use the “name of Jesus” as a lucky charm … pronounce it and all will be well. That is not the Gospel, nor is it Christian Doctrine … it is not Christian at all.
(a) The angel directed that the One born of Mary be given the name Jesus. To Mary:
Lk 1:30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name 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, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
We shall deal with the “incarnation” later on … The child Mary will carry is a Son and his Name must be “Jesus”. Before getting to the name, the One to be born will be called the “Son of the Most High”. Another name for the true God was “Most High” and the “Lord God” refers to God’s name and who His. The One to be born would reign on David’s throne and over the House of Jacob … the people of God forever. This will be a fulfilment to prophecy. The name “Jesus” comes from the Old Testament Joshua or Jehoshua, je-hosh’-u-a (yehoshua) “Yahweh is deliverance” or “Jehovah Saves”.
(b) The angel also spoke to Joseph
Mt 1:20 an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 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.”
The angel confirms the purpose of this One to be born which corresponds to the name … Save His people from their sins. Embedded within these two passages we see that this Jesus is actually God, who will save His people from their sins. The reason He came and the reason He was born was to save from sin.
(2) Although the name Immanuel (also rendered Emmanuel) is not included in the Creed, it is worth mentioning that this One to be born who will be called Jesus is also called Immanuel:
Mt 1:23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” which means, “God with us.”
This name means “God with us” or “God through us”. The route means God is here in Jesus, who will save from sin. Already you are able to see my opening illustration regarding cleansing through Jesus is fundamental … not speaking the name over situations but faith in what the Person called Jesus did to save me from my sin.
(3) We acknowledge our belief is in a specific Jesus … “Jesus Christ”. The Creed does not want us to get this wrong. There are many Jesus’ but only one Jesus Christ! Christ is the Greek equivalent of Christ, Messiah. There were many messiahs like Moses and David who pointed to this Messiah. They were temporal with limitations but this Messiah is Divine and able to accomplish what all those who pointed to Him could not do. Using the Scriptures, Jesus Himself declared He is the Messiah!
Lk 4:17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Just in case you miss it … Jesus was not teaching Liberation Theology! The poor, prisoners, blind and oppressed refer to the spiritual condition of man before God.
Mk 2:17 Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Should you miss this very important point, you will see Jesus as a “freedom fighter” and a “military general” who would deliver the people of Israel from the clutches of the Roman Empire. Scripture is however clear, Messiah Jesus, who is Immanuel, God with us, came to save people from the real problem mankind has … sin. Sin which is rebellion against God and leads to damnation in hell. You sit in Church and recite the Creed … but has Jesus saved you from your sin?
Thank You Lord for Your precious blood that cleanses the believer from all sin and removes all guilt. Help us to be careful how we use the name of Jesus so that we don’t mock. Amen.