Summary: God made Christ known to us as the "Son" of God.

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Title: What’s In a Moniker?

Text: Matthew 3:13-17

Thesis: God made Christ known as the “Son” of God.

Epiphany Series: Encountering Christ in Epiphany

• The First Sunday after Epiphany: Christ’s Identity. The First Sunday after Epiphany we encountered Christ at his baptism where God reveals to Jesus and to us who He (Jesus) is. “This is my Son, whom I love, and with whom I am very pleased.” Matthew 3:17

Background: On the last Sunday of November we began the Season of Advent in which we looked forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ. On the 25th of December we celebrated his birth and reread the stories of how the angel of the Lord appeared to both Joseph and Mary, telling them of that Mary would give birth to a boy and that they were to name him Jesus. Matthew’s gospel tells us that his birth was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy found in Isaiah 7:14 - that his birth would signal the arrival of the Messiah and that he would be named Immanuel which means, “God with us.”

During the two weeks of Christmas, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, visited by the shepherds, dedicated to God when he was 8 days old, visited by the Magi, and escaped to Egypt after Herod decreed that all boys under the age of 2 years were to be killed. He lived there with his family for three years before returning to Nazareth following the death of King Herod.

In Luke 2 we read the story of how Jesus, when he was 12 years old, accompanied his parents on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the celebration of the Annual Feast of the Passover where he was inadvertently left behind when his parents returned home… when they eventually found their lost son he was in the temple sitting among the religious leaders listening and asking questions.

In Luke 2:52 we are told that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Our story today picks up some 18 years later when Jesus was around 30 years old. He has gone to Galilee for the specific purpose of being baptized by his cousin, John the Baptist, in the Jordan River.

My, how time flies when you are having fun!

January 6 marked the beginning of the Season of Epiphany and today is the first Sunday after Epiphany. The Season of Epiphany is an 8 week period on the Church Calendar in which God makes Christ known to us… it is a season in which we encounter and discover who Jesus Christ is.

Introduction - What’s in a moniker?

When I was growing up nicknames were fairly common. In high school we called the biggest man on campus, “Yogi” (as in Yogi Bear). In our town we had a guy we called “Red” and another guy we called “Slick” and another guy we called “Stretch.” My next door neighbor was a crane operator at the local gravel pit and his moniker was “Pug”. He looked like he had gone a few rounds in the boxing ring. Pug had the look of a tough guy and when he told the Newton lads to stay away from his rose bushes we did.

If I were to say “Satchimo” you would immediately think of Louis Armstrong. If I were to speak the name “The Frig” or “The Refrigerator” you would think of William Perry who played for the Chicago Bears. “The Duke” brings John Wayne to mind. For golfers, “the Golden Bear” was the moniker given Jack Nickalaus. And we all remember “Ole Blue Eyes” was Frank Sinatra.

A moniker has the power to transform a person’s identify. If I were to ask you if you have ever heard of Ernest Evans most would say they have not. But if I asked you if you have ever heard of Chubby Checker you would immediately think of “The Twist” and you would know who Ernest Evans is. If I were to ask you if you have ever heard of Antonio Dominique you would wonder who he might be but if I say Fats Domino you immediately think of the singer of “Blueberry Hill.” No one has ever heard of Stefani JoAnne Angelina Germanotta but who has not heard of Lady Gaga. We are stumped by the identity of Marshall Bruce Mathers III but we have all heard of Eminem.

Monikers generally serve a purpose: A moniker is a name given to a person that generally reflects something about that person. A moniker gives us added insight into who the name-holder is.

The origin of the word “moniker” is from the Irish “shelta” language and is derived from the word “munik.” It is a slang word for “name.” In the Shelta language they prayed, “Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be your munic or moniker or name.”

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