Summary: A look at some of Christ’s names in Luke 1 and 2.
Thou Shalt Call His Name…
Woodlawn Baptist Church
December 25, 2005
It is with great joy that we gather this morning on the day we celebrate the birth of Christ. While multitudes of people today will meet with friends and family to open presents and spend time together, none can celebrate the day as we who know the Lord can celebrate it! A child was born that day long ago who would forever change the course of history. Satan opposed it, the world denies it, but today we celebrate it!
For the last several weeks we’ve been working through the first two chapters of Luke, studying the birth of Christ and witnessing the amazingly wonderful hand of God at work in the world bringing us salvation. Throughout these chapters we’ve been introduced to several characters: Gabriel, Zacharias and Elizabeth, John the Baptist, Mary and Joseph, and Simeon and Anna. But the most important character we met has of course been the babe that was born in Bethlehem. What is His name? In these two chapters I have counted ten different names or titles by which He was identified. I have chosen some of these names I want you to see this morning with the hope that by the time we leave you don’t just know the names, but that you will also know the man with the names, and knowing Him, that you will leave this place worshipping and exalting Him for His love for you and work in your life.
There is something very special about names. People have been known to give their children some very peculiar names. Many parents are wise and prudent and often spend many hours to insure their child receives a proper name reflecting his heritage. Some parents lack that wisdom and prudence and give names that end up being an embarrassment or handicap to him. Remember the Boy Named Sue?
Names are important. Solomon said, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” Of course, he is speaking of the good name one might earn or the reputation one might lose. But people do not always live up to the expectations of a good name. As Christians we don’t always live up to our name, but we ought never to forget that to be called a Christian means that we follow and live by the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The infant who was born all those years ago would grow into the most polarizing figure in human history! His birth would threaten the king of His day. His miracles would astound the crowds. His ministry would attract thousands of curiosity seekers as well as seekers of truth! His teachings would challenge the establishment, but would endure for eternity. His call to discipleship would promise nothing but persecution and harsh times yet would attract millions over the centuries. His critics would blast him for his unorthodox ministry, and eventually take him to the cross for his execution! His claim to deity would confound many, yet would be unmistakable when the tomb was found empty! And His followers would spread their new religion all over the known world within a generation! To say that the babe born 2,000 years ago was special is an understatement. So who was He?
The angel said to Mary in Luke 1:31,
“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.”
The moment Mary heard this she would have known that her son was destined to be the Savior. The name Jesus comes from the Old Testament name Joshua and it means Jehovah is salvation, or Jehovah is the Savior. The name Jesus was a common Jewish name, but this was no common Jew. When the angel met with Joseph, he said to him in Matthew 1:21,
“And [Mary] shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
You see, the name JESUS is a profound theological statement: It is God’s promise to save! The angel was telling Joseph and Mary that this child is God’s promise to save mankind from their sins! His name is God’s promise to us of deliverance! Peter testified before the religious rulers,
“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, where by we must be saved.”