The reason I started the Daily Note the way I did yesterday is because the true meaning of Christmas is never gone after Christmas Day, only to return again on the next Christmas Day. The Incarnation, coupled to the Meritorious Work of the Lord Jesus throughout His Ministry, but in particular at Calvary, dying as the substitute offering for the sins of those who would repent and believe, His substitutional rising from the dead, followed by His Ascension where He returned to Glory and took up the position of King of kings and Lord of lords, together, is the Gospel. None of which may be deleted, removed, ignored or modified. It’s all or nothing! We have fast forwarded a little to Jesus being presented at the temple to fulfil the various religious rituals of that day. Please read again:
Lk 2:21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. 22 When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
1) The baby is named.
Lk 2:21 he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
Many are named “Jesus” as a Christian name or a surname (Dejesus), but in naming this baby Jesus was because God named Him and because He is God Incarnate … and … the name describes what the baby would do one day. There was no deviation … accuracy was vital.
(1) It was the name the angel gave 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.”
(2) It was the name the angel gave 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.”
In both the Matthew and Luke passages we find the angel speaking on God’s instruction, giving the baby the name “Jesus” followed by a description of the work and character of whom He is. Look at this …
(i) Conceived by the Holy Spirit within a virgin. This baby named Jesus would be God Incarnate. The name confirms what Mary’s conception was … God in the flesh.
(ii) As God, He will save His people from their sin. As we know, “His People” are those upon whom His favor rests … those who are the elect, are called effectually and respond in faith.
(iii) He is the Son of God. Not a son of God but the Son of God and this reveals His greatness. He is the second Person of the Holy Trinity … He is God the Son.
(iv) Then as promised by God through the prophet to king David, saying he would always have a descendant upon the throne, this baby whose name is Jesus will be given His earthly ancestor, David’s Throne. That is, He will be the true and eternal King of Israel.
(v) His reign will be a “forever reign” over Jacob’s house … meaning Israel as a nation.
(vi) His Kingdom and reign will be eternal. Encapsulated in the name “Jesus” are all these credentials and offices mentioned.
3) For the Church of God today, we need to understand that we are the true Israel.
Gal 6:16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.
By “the Israel of God” as Paul puts it here, he means the Church of God which includes both believers from the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. All true believers are part of the Israel of God … and Abraham is our fore-father! Don’t let anyone try to influence you to join a movement that takes you back to a Jewish sect saying they are the Israel of God because they believe in Jesus and follow the Old Covenant’s prescriptions. The writer to the Hebrews says:
Heb 8:13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
This prophecy became reality when Jerusalem fell in AD 70. The Old Covenant is obsolete! Entry into the True Israel is through Jesus Christ alone with no additional requirements.
4) To take God’s name in vain includes using the name “Jesus” incorrectly. Many use the name “Jesus”, “Christ” or “Lord” as exclamations when angry, when frightened or upset. That is taking God’s name in vain. But we need to add that professing Christianity and not living up to the moral requirements of the Gospel is also taking God’s name in vain.
Lord, help us to cherish the name of Jesus and live up to the high standard of our association with the name of Jesus to honor You our Glorious Lord. Amen.