Summary: Reflecting on Jesus and the meaning of His names gives the Christmas season meaning.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
INTRODUCTION… Our kids’ names (p)
1. Abigail Jo = “Father’s Joy”, woman who cared for David and his men when he was running from King Saul (1 Samuel 25) and later married David after her husband died. Jo is a family name belonging to her mother, grandmother, and one aunt
2. Nathanael Marc = “God has given”, one of the 12 disciples (John 1) of whom Jesus remarked, “here is a true Israelite” meaning that he was one who accepted Jesus as the Messiah and Savior on faith. Marc is a family name belonging to his father and grandfather.
READ MATTHEW 1:18-25
I. THE NAME: JESUS
The name Jesus is a name full of meaning. It means, “the Lord is salvation.” Verse 18 tells us that the baby being born to Mary was no ordinary child. The child was from the Holy Spirit. God created this child inside of her. God created this child inside her for a very specific reason. This child was the promised Messiah. This child would be God on Earth and would save His people. He would bring salvation to the world through His life, work, and death. He was the One promised to Abraham so long ago; that all nations would be blessed.
The extra-ordinary child growing inside of Mary would have a very specific name full of meaning. The angel told Joseph in a dream what the child’s name should be. Normally father’s named their children after them or after some member of the family. This is why in Luke 1:59-63 the people around Zacharias and Elizabeth assumed that the child born to them was to be named Zacharias, not John. The people knew of no relatives with this name!? Yet, God named this child John. And so the child inside Mary was named; the name: Jesus. Verse 20 gives us the reason why God named this little child Jesus, “for He will save His people from their sins.” This name pointed to something that this child would do in His life. Salvation would come by way of this little one.
Jesus is not the only name that we find for this child in Scripture. In fact, from Genesis to Revelation, we find 102 names for this one individual! All of these names for Jesus describe who He was and is. These names tell us of the miracles He performed. These names give us clues to His identity and to the work that He still performs in our lives. Jesus, above all else, was the bringer of salvation to the world. That is, after all, what His name means.
II. THE NAME: IMMANUEL
Immanuel is also a name given to this child to be born. It is more of a symbolic name than an actual name He would have been called. The angel, speaking to Joseph in a dream, speaks about a prophecy that we can read about in Isaiah 7. Immanuel means “God with us.”
In the time of the prophet Isaiah, Judah was under attack and King Ahaz did not know what he would do. He was afraid that the enemies of Judah would overrun him and the whole city; he feared that death was on the way. Isaiah preached the Word and called on King Ahaz to trust in God or his kingdom would be overrun. Isaiah promised that the Lord would protect Judah and offered a sign that God would keep His promise— a child would be born in whose childhood years all the events would take place. The child would be the symbol that God was indeed with His people and would be hope in troubling times. The birth of the child announced that God would be with His people and He offered a future and hope for those who would place their trust in God.
Matthew looks back on this prophecy and the events in Isaiah’s time, and sees a picture of the Messiah. Matthew rightly recognized that true salvation for the House of David would only come through Jesus Christ… He was the true Immanuel. With Jesus’ birth, we have Jesus “with us” in a very real and profound way. With the birth of Jesus, we have God walking and talking and experiencing among us.
Do you realize what that means?
Do you realize that Jesus grew up from a child into an adult?
Do your realize that Jesus experienced life just as you and I do?
Do you realize that God lived among us?
[ Transition: We have talked about the names of Jesus and what they mean. We know that these names reveal to us who He was and what He was to do. Yet, what does that mean for us? What does that mean for us in this holiday season? ]
III. THE MEANING OF THESE NAMES FOR US
(3) UNDERSTANDING GOD