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Summary: Who is the center of your Christmas celebration? Who is Jesus to you?

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Christmas Characters #6 – Jesus - 23rd December 2007 am

The Christmas story is truly amazing. Perhaps no other story in the Bible speaks with such clarity about the power and the purpose of God. Just the fact that God stepped out of eternity into time is mind-boggling. Look at the shepherds, lowly and undeserving, yet called just the same. The angels amazed that the Creator was born in the image of the creature. These pagan wise men who travelled great distances came to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Then we see the manger and are reminded that Jesus laid aside certain attributes of His deity that He might become a man and die for sinners.

Then, I am called back to the words of the angel who visited the shepherds on that Judean hillside that night. In the angel’s words, we find the true glory of Christmas. Because, no matter what else we may make of it, Christmas will always be about the Baby born in Bethlehem.

Luke 2:11

It is amazing when you have a child and it is your responsibility to name that child – Hannah was Joshua until the day she was born.

Names in our day don’t mean so much. Parents pick out names for their children for many reasons. Some are different; others are weird; some are chosen to honour someone they think of as their hero;

When dad was moderating an exam in Norfolk he was going through the names list and there was someone called Rocky – Dad said that nicknames couldn’t go on certificates – it was his real name.

Sometimes a child will be named after a family member. But, most of the time, there is no special significance behind the choice of a name.

I have always been fascinated by names and the meaning of them:

Walter (German) Ruler of the Army

John (Hebrew) God is Gracious

Andrew (Greek) Manly

Elaine (Greek) Tourch, bright light

Eileen (Gaelic) Pleasant

Hannah (Hebrew) Grace – favoured

Maybe names don’t have much significance to them today but in Biblical times things were different. Names have great significance in the Bible. A name was not just the label that differentiated one person from another, but often described something about the person.

The name Abraham is translated "Father of a multitude", Jacob means "supplanter" and David "beloved". The most important names in the Bible, however, describe God Himself. He uses His names to help humanity understand the reality of who He is. God does not hide His identity and distance Himself from His creation. Instead, we have a God who desires to be known:

"... But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD." (Jeremiah 9:24)

This Christmas time, let us take a moment out of the hustle and bustle and seek the One whose birth Christmas celebrates. Who is Jesus Christ? Was He simply a good man, a teacher, or a revolutionary? Through His names, the Bible gives us great insight into the identity of the baby that was born in Bethlehem.

I. Jesus

The name “Jesus” is our Lord’s human name. He is given many names in the Bible and we will look at some of them today, but the name “Jesus” is the name that identifies Him with the very people He came to save, Phil. 2:5-8a. He was all God; yet He was all man too!

Imagine this; the Lord of glory came into this world. He came not as a King, but as a humble servant. He was not born in a palace, but a manger. Jesus understood poverty, Matt. 8:20; weariness, John 4:6; Matt. 8:24; hunger, Matt. 4:2; rejection, John 1:11, John 19:10; loneliness, John 6:15; Matt 26:29; temptation, Matt. 4:1-11; and the rest of the trials of the human condition.

He endured all that He did so that He might identify Himself with us, understand us, and be able to comfort us in our trials, Heb. 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

His name means “Jehovah is Salvation”. The word “salvation” tells us what Jesus came into this world to accomplish. He came to “save His people from their sins”, Matthew 1:21

The word “save” means “keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction”. How would Jesus accomplish this? He tells us in His own words, Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Jesus came to this world for one purpose only and that purpose was to die on the cross for sinners, (Phil. 2:8) Even our Lord’s great mission statement, Luke 19:10, reveals His intentions.

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