Summary: Jesus was given His name way before He was born.
The 4-Fold Name of Jesus
Rev. Brian Bill
December 19-20, 2015
Anyone know what an aptronym is? It’s a compound word consisting of the adjective “apt” meaning aptitude and the Greek word for “name.” An aptronym is when someone’s name and occupation line up perfectly, when what they’re called describes what they do. Here are some examples:
• Dr. Bowser Veterinarian
• Roy Grout Bricklayer
• Dan Druff Barber
• Dr. Pullen Dentist
• Otto Nogo Mechanic
• Dr. Smiley Orthodontist
• Sonia Shears Hairdresser
• Dr. Whitehead Dermatologist
• Dr. Smellsey Podiatrist
Many parents spend significant time trying to decide what to name their children. Why is that? Because we know that a name is more than just what someone goes by. Some of us are very strategic and specific when it comes to the giving of names. I have some relatives who obviously spent some time determining what to call their kids. Here are the names of everyone in their family, starting with the parents (and I’m not making this up): Bob Bill, Bonnie Bill, Bernie Bill, Brenda Bill, Bruce Bill, and Blain Bill…and their bunny named Bertha (OK, I made that last one up!).
In Old Testament times, a name stood for a person’s “reputation, their fame and their glory.” Parents often gave children names that described their hopes and future expectations regarding that child. The word translated “name” literally means “A mark or a brand.” A study of Bible names often reveals much about the personality of the people. For instance, David means “Beloved.” Abraham means “Father of a multitude.” Jacob means “Deceiver.” Isaac implies “laughter.” Moses means “drawn out.” And Jesus means, “Jehovah saves.” All of these people proved true to their names!
Today we’re going to zero in on a four-fold name, given to Jesus, 700 years before He was even born! There are over 100 names in the Bible associated with Jesus and numerous others that are given to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
From Gloom to Gladness
Last week we heard the pinpoint prophecy from Micah 5:2 that Jesus would be born in a predetermined place, fulfill a promised plan, and be a profound person.
Isaiah was a contemporary of Micah and shines more light on the kind of person Jesus would be. His primary purpose was to remind his readers of the special relationship they had with God as His covenant community. The nation had experienced prosperity but now Assyria was poised to pounce on them. In the midst of this impending threat, Isaiah gives a number of glorious promises. We’re going to look at one today in chapter 9 and then on Christmas Eve at 4 and 6 p.m., we’ll ponder the promise found in Isaiah 7:14 as we discover the necessity of the Virgin Birth.
Speaking of Christmas Eve, I heard a stat from Lifeway that 57% of those who don’t go to church would come on Christmas Eve if they were invited.
Grab your Bibles and turn to Isaiah 9. Let’s set the context. This original birth announcement was made in the midst of grief and gloom. Look at verse 1: “But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.” Zebulun and Naphtali are tribes from the north of Israel, making up the land of Galilee. For many years the people knew only grief because of the onslaught of enemies unleashed by the Almighty as a result of their sins. Because these tribes were the furthest north, they were attacked first. Isaiah tells of a time in the future where gloom will be replaced with gladness in Galilee.
Don’t miss this about Christmas. Christmas was, and is, birthed in the middle of great grief. While the angels were proclaiming “peace on earth,” Herod was preparing to annihilate infants; while Mary was worshipping, other mothers were weeping for their children (see Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:18). Friends, Christmas joy is best understood when the junk of life is all around us; gladness comes when we’re grieving.
Verse 2 describes how the birth of Christ will bring brightness to a world of darkness: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”
When we come to the New Testament, it’s clear that Matthew had this prophecy of Isaiah in mind when he wrote these words in Matthew 4:15: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.” And then in the next two verses he applies this passage to Jesus Christ: “The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned. From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”