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Well, in just three days many sincere professing Christians will be celebrating Christmas as the birthday of Jesus Christ the Savior. They will sing their Christmas carols, attend their Christmas parties, open scads of Christmas presents that are under their Christmas tree, have their Christmas dinners and spread their Christmas cheer to one and all. Some of them will even attend a Christmas-eve service at their local church, or perhaps one of their four Catholic Advent Masses they have on Christmas day. They have one about every six hours or so in the day—midnight, sunrise, midday, and sunset, I believe.
But, all in all, in all this celebrating—gifts, singing, food and whatnot—this will be just another extravagant lie.
We know the origins of Christmas. They are not found in the Bible. Christmas was an early Catholic Church absorption of the widespread heathen winter solstice celebration. The Romans called it the Saturnalia.
How could Christmas be the winter solstice celebration? You must remember that since this calendar was put into place, there has been a slight progression forward. The calendar is not perfect. It is not really 365 ¼ days long. Even though it was refined in the Gregorian calendar, the seasons are still progressing forward in the calendar. It used to be, and you may notice it if you think about it, that winter started late on the 22nd of December, or even early on the 23rd.
But now, it started overnight on the 22nd. Is not today the first day of winter? That happened early this morning. So, it is even moving forward noticeable to us in our short lifetime. If you were to live thousands of years under this current calendar, the winter solstice would have moved up into what we know as summer months. It would move that far unless new calendar corrections were made.
That is what happened when the Julian calendar was changed to the Gregorian calendar. It had moved thirteen days in 1300 years or so.
What I am getting at is that the Saturnalia—the Winter Solstice Festival—used to be the 25th of December, and thus Christmas was put on that day to replace it. It originally was supposed to show the "rebirth" of the sun—s-u-n, not the Son, s-o-n. In their stupidstitious thinking they thought the sun was reborn on the winter solstice because that was the day when the length became longer again as the seasons turned toward spring. It used to be the shortest day of the year.
So, those in power in the worldly professing church at that time assigned Jesus' birth to this date without any authority or proof to facilitate the so-called conversion of the multitudes of pagans into the universal church. They felt that if they absorbed this holiday, and put a new Christian face on it, that they would be more liable to peacefully join the Catholic Church. And that is what happened, too.
But the Bible, where Jesus' birth is recorded (and there is proof and authority here) places the birth of Jesus in the autumn. There are several proofs of this. Here are a few of them:
*Flocks were still in the fields by night. (Luke 2:8) This was not normal in the wintertime. They had to be brought in. This was their rainy season. They might be let out during the day in good weather, but they were usually kept in during this season to protect them and keep them warm and dry.
*The birth of John the Baptist, which was six months earlier than Jesus (Luke 1:26), can be determined with some certainty to the early springtime. We can do this through the examination of the priestly courses mentioned in scripture (Luke 1:5). John the Baptist's dad was of the course of Abijah. You can check the timing of it, and therefore he was born in the spring.
*Joseph and Mary came to be recorded in the census. (Luke 2:1-5) This argues for an autumn date as well. This civil procedure was best done after the harvests and during the fall festivals when the people were able to return to their home cities to be counted. Spring and summer seasons were just too busy to accomplish the census in an accurate manner. The Romans certainly did not want the economies of these provinces to be hindered so as to not diminish their own revenue derived thereof.
However, the date of Christ's birth is really not all that significant. In the whole grand scheme of things, the actual date—September 30, or October 8, or whatever, is not all that significant. It is just another part in the grand scheme of the proof of scripture, and the reality of the life of Jesus Christ. That we can pin it down at all is not the point. Why He had to come, and what He did, and what He and said are the things that are really important and should spark our interest.
Now, if asked why Jesus was born, most nominal Christians would say something to the effect of, "He came to die for our sins so that we can be saved." Correct answer. It is true. But, while it is true, it is very simplistic and woefully incomplete.
It would be like asking someone, "Why does a race car go fast?" And your answer would simply be, "Because it has a powerful engine." That is also a true answer. Race cars do have powerful engines. But, there are so much more details as to why a race car can go so fast than just having a powerful engine. There are the tires, the suspension, and the aerodynamics just to name a few. Even the banking of the track that they run on makes a difference.
In the same fashion, regarding Jesus Christ, there are more things to it than just dying for our sins. His life and first appearing was more important and complete than that.
So why did God send the Word to this earth to be born, live, and die as a human being? How well could we answer that question? Would we do it simplistically like the Protestants? "He came to die for our sins." Or could we answer it more completely?
Today, I want to give you a template for framing a complete answer to that question. And, that outline is based on His names. If you understand His names, then we will have a leg up on His purposes. So, if we can remember His names (and they are not hard to remember), if we understand what His names mean, and what they represent, then we have a ready outline for telling people what we believe is the reason for Jesus Christ coming to this earth.
I would like to get a running start into all this by showing why names are so significant. As you know, Exodus 20 is one of two Ten Commandments chapters (the other being Deuteronomy 5). And, the third commandment reads:
Exodus 20:7 You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
The significance of names, and particularly regarding the Divine Names, is suggested in the fact that one of the Ten Commandments covers the use and bearing of God's name. My dad's sermon on the third commandment covers this, and takes this commandment apart, and shows exactly what it means. It is not just about speaking a name of God, or using His name in blasphemy. It is far more than that. It is the use and the bearing of God's name. His name has been named on you, if you have been baptized into His body and church. We bear His name. And, how we bear it, how we carry it about in our actions as well as our words is either pleasing to Him, or it can blaspheme Him. Remember in the New Testament Paul says that Jesus' name is blasphemed among the gentiles because of their wrong behavior.
So, the name of God being named upon a person is very important. God's names mean something. They are special. And, He does not want us to miss their significance.
On the other hand, He does not want us to make them some vain repetition either, as if they were something mystical or magical. He wants us to understand Him through His names, because His names identify Himself. So, this commandment highlights the fact that each of God's names mean something—they identify Him, and explain Him in His character and purposes. That is why God's names are so important.
And remember also that this God who gave this commandment was the One who became Jesus Christ. So, it is not just His Old Testament names that are important, but also his New Testament names. And, several of them, actually most of them, originated in the Old Testament—"Joshua," and "Emmanuel" both originated in the Old Testament. Obviously, "Lord" originated in the Old Testament—"Son of Man," "Son of God"—they originated in the Old Testament. Even "Christ" originated in the Old Testament, but not in this Greek form, but its Hebrew form, "Messiah."
So, Jesus Christ's names are very important, and we should not take or carry them—bear them—in any way that would bring any dishonor to Him.
Now, do you remember the "Law of First Mention?" How something is used the first time is often very significant to how it is used throughout the rest of the Bible. In Genesis 3 we have the naming of "Eve," though it is not the first mention of the word "name." In chapter 2 the word "name" had been used in the passage about the rivers, and also in the fact that Adam named all the animals. But in the naming of Eve, this is the first use regarding a person. Notice how this is constructed:
Genesis 3:20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
What this passage does is to show that names identify and show that they have a purpose, or later on they can be prophecy—people live up to, or down to, their names. Names have meaning. Names, in many cases, if it is done properly, can show a truth about that person.
Obviously, calling her "Eve," which means "living," and the explanation given here, "she is the mother of all living," shows that Adam understood that from no other person would all the people who would ever live came from him and her. So from this woman was to spring all human life. He recognized that. It was a truth. So, he called her "Eve."
And another one is right down the page where in Genesis 4:1:
Genesis 4:1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired [gotten] a man from the LORD."
Cain was named "Cain" for a reason. His name means gotten or acquired. And you know, he lived up to his name. He became the symbol of what Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong called, "the way of get"—the way of Cain. And, right in his own name is that essence of getting, acquiring, and taking stuff for one's self. And so the name "Cain" was also a prophecy. God did not honor it in the sense of it being, "gotten from the Lord," because it only meant "gotten." She seemed to hope that he was the promised Messiah—the one God would send to save them. Obviously, Cain was not that man.
In the same chapter is another one:
Genesis 4:25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, "For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed."
Now we know that Seth lived up to his name. Seth means "appointed." And, he was a very good "replacement" for Abel. He was also a righteous man. And, it was from him—the so called "righteous line"—that came most of those who would later follow God.
So, here we see that early on in Genesis that we are given this understanding about names. Names are significant. Names mean something. They can possibly tell you a truth about a person's character, identity, or purpose.
And this is doubly true when it comes to God. God names Himself. And whatever God names Himself is true. And of course, God being wise gets the most significance out of these things. And so, He names Himself certain things.
We can see how this is put into play in Exodus 33 and 34. These passages were not long after the "Golden Calf" incident, and Moses was discouraged and down. They were preparing to leave Sinai, but the distaste of this incident was lingering still. He needed some assurance from God.
Exodus 33:17-19 So the LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name." And he [Moses] said, "Please, show me Your glory." Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
Exodus 34:5-8 Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation." So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.
What these passages together do is to make the correlation between names and character as clear as fine crystal. God says that He would proclaim the name of the Lord. And how did He do it? He told Moses about His own character through His names.
So, the names of God reveal His nature because He names things what they are—even Himself. Obviously, He wanted Moses, and us, seeing it through the perspective of history, to think of Him as merciful, gracious, patient, good, true, faithful, forgiving, and just. All those ideas, and more, are right there in the sermon that He preached to Moses. They are part of His names. His names bring out these qualities.
Notice Moses' reaction. He dropped to the earth like a stone, and worshipped. He was so overcome by what God had revealed to him through His names. It was a stunning revelation of God's loving character, especially since this occurred right after the golden calf incident. A lot of people died in that. And it appeared like God was being unfair. But, when God preached this sermon about His names, Moses understood that God was indeed forgiving, and merciful, and patient, especially once he had a chance to think about how rotten Israel had been, and how long God's forbearance had been. And even in this incident where the whole camp was worshipping this golden calf—a stupid golden idol—God only took some of them. He was a merciful, loving, faithful, and patient God.
And in the same way, the same God who became Jesus Christ is revealed to us in His New Testament names. So, today we will go through a few of them.
Matthew 1:18-21 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."
Jesus, Jeshua, and Joshua are His primary names. It describes His primary purpose as a human being. Jesus, Jeshua, and Joshua mean "Savior," or "Deliverer." Through a bit of a convoluted etymology, Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew Jeshua, or Joshua, and they all mean "Savior," or "Deliverer."
Like the Joshua of the Old Testament, it was mostly thought of throughout the biblical period in terms of physical deliverance from their enemies. So, a "Deliverer" would be like Joshua was, who went out in front of the armies, and defeated the enemies, and opened up the land to Israel.
This is why the Jews of Jesus' day assumed that the Messiah would be a conquering king—a hero. He would be a conqueror who would drive out the hated Romans from the holy land, and establish another Jewish kingdom. Would He not be like Joshua? Would He not be a Savior like David, one who could rally the Jewish people? Or even Judas Maccabeus who rallied the nation behind him.
But God had other ideas for His Son in His human life. In this next passage is Zacharias' prophecy that he gave at the time of John the Baptist's circumcision, once his voice was given back to him. This is what he said:
Luke 1:67-68 Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people,...
Notice the progression of the thought, here, in this prophecy. He does not leave out what the Jews thought the Savior would be. But, you will notice as we go through, he refines it.
Luke 1:69-79 ..."and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to our father Abraham: To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. And you, child [John the Baptist], will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, [now notice] to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
Now, notice he started speaking about deliverance from our enemies. But pretty soon, we are talking about spiritual redemption. Yet, the enemies that He would defeat, were not the Romans or Greeks, but the spiritual enemies. The salvation that Jesus brought as a human being would be spiritual. He would redeem people from their sins. And, notice the reason: So that they could live in holiness and righteousness all their days [verses 74 and 75].
And then he goes on [77-79] that He would teach them how they could have salvation through mercy and grace, and how to live in peace.
And so here, before Jesus is even born, it was all laid out. Yes, He would come as Savior! But, he would not come as the conquering king. He would come teaching the way of salvation, and he would redeem the people from their sins through His death. His job was to redeem them from their sins, and you cannot do that with a sword.
Turn to Paul's synopsis of Jesus' human life and work.
Galatians 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.
Those were the enemies. Those are the things that are keeping us down.
Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
So, if I can put it into my own words, Paul is saying that God saw that we were enslaved to Satan. And not just to Satan himself, but to this world which Satan has fashioned; and to our human nature which Satan has influenced.
So, when the time was right, He sent His Son to be born of a woman, to experience life under the same conditions as human beings. But, because He lived sinlessly, because He was our Creator, He had the power to pay for our sins. And by His agency, we could, by God's grace, and the indwelling of God's Spirit, become God's children, and heirs with Christ.
His great purpose, His procedure, is all wrapped up in the name, "Jesus"—Savior.
This next passage is in one of the most famous in all of scripture:
John 3:10-17 Jesus answered and said to him [Nicodemus], "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness [the Father, and Himself]. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Here, we will need to turn back to Isaiah to see the original usage of this in the prophecy of the virgin birth, and then we will quickly see its fulfillment. This is a prophecy to the king Ahaz:
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
This is almost word for word repeated in Matthew 1 where we had left off.
Matthew 1:22-23 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."
Emanuel may be Jesus Christ's most neglected name. It is only mentioned here and maybe one other time in the New Testament. Of course, he was not called this as a personal name, but it certainly represents what He was. He was God living among men. To make this plain, we will read a passage in Isaiah 54. Notice the correlation.
Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.
There are several names of God here—"Maker," "Husband," "Lord of Hosts," Redeemer," "Holy One of Israel," "God of the Whole Earth." These are all names for the same Person.
Here is something we have already read, but I want to go over it one more time because it makes things clear. Zacharias begins his prophecy:
Luke 1:68 "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people,...
"The Lord God of Israel," "The Holy One of Israel," The Redeemer," is the same One as Jesus Christ.
"Emanuel," "Jesus of Nazareth," and "the God of Israel," and "Yahweh, the Creator God" are all the same Person. He was God—the God of the Old Testament—with us, living amongst us.
The great mighty powerful God of creation, the great God of the Flood, the awesome God of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the One who performed all those great miracles of the Exodus; the One who helped David and the prophets, and spoke to them, and did great miracles through many of them; the same Person who lived and taught in Judea, died on the tree for our sins—the same God, but a man.
But, He was not just a man. However, He was not an itinerate Jewish preacher, either, which one scholar has said in recent years. Supposedly He was made the Son of God by the devious preaching of Paul. Somehow, Paul, with all his smarts, was able to take the sayings of this itinerate Jewish preacher and fashion Him into a god.
The Bible says clearly, and not in Paul's writings, that He was God, slain from the foundation of the world, and He is key to God's plan of salvation—this God who lived with us.
In this next very well known passage, Paul had to explain this to the Greeks because this idea of God becoming a man was ridiculous thing to them—"Why, no god would give up everything to become a man, literally, subject to all its risks and problems that humanity has to face! What god would do this? Would Jupiter do this? Hardly!"
Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Not only did God descend to become man in the person of Jesus Christ, but He was willing to live as a human being throughout His entire life, and then die as a man—horribly, cruelly—for them all. Even though He had the power to call upon legions of angels, He willing did not. He voluntarily gave His life.
So we see that from the beginning—slain from the foundation of the world—He was set in His mind, and would volunteer to become a man, to live a life of a worm, and to die on the tree for us. He sacrificed all that great power and authority, and then clothed Himself with temptable, and contemptible flesh. It says in Hebrews 2:10 that He learned obedience to the Father in all things through suffering. He learned how difficult life as a human being was, so that He could be a faithful Mediator, and High Priest before the Father, so that He could plead with empathy. He had been through it. He was God in the flesh—Emanuel.
In John 1 it says:
John 1:10-11 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
He was God with us—Emanuel.
Turn to Luke 2:11 and the angel's announcement at His birth, making the proclamation.
Luke 2:11 "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Luke 9:18-20 And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" So they answered and said, "John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered and said, "The Christ of God."
The Greek word "Kristos" is the direct translation of the Hebrew "Meshiah." Both of these terms refer to the One who was set apart for a very special, crucial path. Mostly, we need to understand the "set-apart" portion of this term. In Hebrew, it is "The Anointed One." For instance, a king or priest was anointed with oil, as in Psalm 133 where the oil ran down Aaron's beard. What this did was to consecrate him to his responsibilities. He was the "Anointed One."
He had certain duties to do. We will take a moment to look at some of His duties. Turn to Luke 4 and He tells us what His duty is.
Luke 4:16-21 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD." Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
So, He was anointed, then, to preach the gospel, and to liberate those who believed Him.
Peter backs this up in Acts 10 when he was speaking to the household of Cornelius:
Acts 10:34-39 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did..."
So He was anointed to preach the gospel, and to do all these works of liberty, liberating the people, giving them freedom from their sins, from the infirmities, and opening up a new way of life to them.
Turn to Mark to see another one:
Mark 14:3-9 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, "Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they criticized her sharply. But Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."
So, the second thing was that He was anointed to die in our stead, to be buried in the heart of the earth, and to rise from the grave as the First Born of the sons of God. So, not only was He anointed to preach the gospel, He was also anointed to sacrifice Himself for all of us.
Habakkuk 3:13 You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for salvation with Your Anointed. You struck the head from the house of the wicked, by laying bare from foundation to neck. Selah!
Meaning, that He completely worked salvation for us.
Now, the third thing we find in John 18. I am sure we could find more. Regardless, here He is before Pilate during the trial. And Jesus answered him because he had asked about what He had done.
John 18:36-37 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here." Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
There is one final thing I find interesting is found in Hebrews 1:
Hebrews 1:8-9 But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions."
He is going to have a righteous kingdom, and a joyful, glad kingdom, because He has been anointed to this task, and He, being who He was, will make it happen.
THE WORD ? LOGOS
John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:16-17 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
This name of the one who became Jesus Christ may confound some people. But, it is very simple at its heart. Jesus Christ, as the Word, embodied God's message. Not only was He the Messenger, He personified the message.
If we study Jesus as a man, we would come to understand God Himself, and how He would live as a man. There is a bit of overlap with Emanuel.
We say that in the name Logos, we come to understand that He is in His Person the summation of all that God is trying to teach us. Jesus is the image, the perfect representative of God; and not only of God, but of His plan, His doctrine, and His character. He also embodies the goal of all Christians, which is to be like He is.
Further in this same book, in His final sermon to His disciples, he tells us this thing:
John 14:7-9 "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
And then, in Hebrews 1:
Hebrews 1:1-4 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
And then finally, II Corinthians 4:
II Corinthians 4:3-6 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
This is why Paul so often says, "We preach Jesus," which the Protestant world has picked up on. But, they have it in the wrong sense. Paul did not mean that all he preached about was the human life of the man Jesus. But rather, he taught what Jesus, the Word of God, taught. And he pointed toward his own example.
In another place, Paul says that "We teach the whole counsel of God." We teach God's complete plan, and doctrine. And this Jesus Christ personified in Himself. That is what the Word is. He was the best, most complete—perfect—Spokesman for God, not only in what He said, and did, but also what He was.
I John 1:1-4 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
The word through Jesus Christ is the message that will bring eternal life and fellowship with God, and Christ, and fellow believers. It is all wrapped up in that message in Christ, and as it says here, it is that message that will bring us fullness of joy.
John 13:13 "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.
This passage was right after the foot-washing ceremony during the Passover service. Jesus acknowledges that He is our Lord and Master. He is certainly preeminent over us. But more than that, He owns us completely through the paying for our sins through His death. Plus, He is our Lord and Master by His divinity—by just who He is—God! He is our Lord and Master because He created us, and made us with His own hand. And, He was appointed to this position and anointed by God. And, He shed His priceless blood for our redemption.
So, either way that you turn, He is our Lord and Master. You cannot get out of it. And, we can add to this because He is our Lord and Master by our voluntary submission to Him once we are called and baptized.
So, He has us tied up pretty well. We cannot get out of it, even if we wanted to.
We stopped in Philippians 2 with Him dying on a tree, I would like go to verse 9 now:
Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
And such is us. Ultimately, everyone who is still alive will call Him, "Lord!"
We can see something similar in I Corinthians 15:
I Corinthians 15:24-25 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.
I Corinthians 15:28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
Ultimately, everyone and everything will be subject to Him. And at that point, He willingly gives this all over to the Father in perfect submission and humility.
Since it is ordained to be so, you would do well to get and stay on the winning side, because this is how it is all going to be. And we do this by doing as He does by submitting in everything to the Father in our own way making sure that God may be all in all for us too. That is how He did it. God was everything to Him. He is our example. He is the pattern for us.
Revelation 17:14 "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and [this is the part I am getting at] those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful."
This is our goal to be with Him all the way to the end. This is where we want to be, and we will be if He is truly our Lord and Master.
THE SON OF GOD
Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
That is how Mark introduces Him.
Mark 1:11 Then a voice came from heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
The "Son of God" is a title showing descent and origin. He was no ordinary man! He was of divine origin. He was a direct representative of God. As we have seen in John 14, if we have seen the Son, we have seen the Father. That is how perfect and exact His representation is.
As the "Son of God," Jesus revealed not only the existence of the Father, but also the character of the Father. And He did this by showing His own character, because they are the same.
Matthew 11:25-27 At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
It is through the Son that we have insight into the very mind of the Father, because the Son so perfectly represents Him.
This all can be wrapped up in one verse, I believe:
John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
That is why He is the Son of God.
SON OF MAN
This one originates in the Old Testament.
Daniel 7:13 "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.
And, it is brought up again many places in the New Testament. I will go to just a couple:
Matthew 8:20 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."
And then, also:
Matthew 18:11 "For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.
The title, "Son of Man," does the same thing on the human level as the title, "Son of God," does on the Divine level. This title does indeed recognize He was a human being. He was a human being! He was not some "superman," or some "demigod." He was a human, flesh and blood, person. Nothing was faked. He had no dual nature such as the Gnostics claim—a Jesus, and a Christ. His only advantage as God in the flesh was that He always had the Holy Spirit without measure.
Otherwise, He was completely and totally like you and me all the way down to His toenails.
Hebrews 2:14-18 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
He had to be like us in every way, and every aspect of our humanity, so that He could be a faithful mediator and high priest.
So, he was a perfect man; a paragon of humanity. He was all that a human being could be. And, His example, because He did it so perfectly, thus becomes to us the model of what we strive to become ourselves.
Ephesians 4:11-13 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;...
Here, God says He gave the ministry to the church. And one of the reasons was so that we can become perfect like Jesus Christ is perfect—coming to the perfect man.
II Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Well, that is all the titles and names I have for you today.
I need to spring something on you, here at the end today, because we are really never finished. We hear this passage nearly every year at this time, and I wonder how many people grasp any of it. They might get the first line, but they sure seem to stop there.
Isaiah 9:6-7 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Here are more names of such magnificence that they are mind-boggling to us. And we have the spirit of God. He is so much more than a baby lying in a manger. He is even so much more than a Savior who died for our sins. We are grateful, indeed, for that. But it goes way beyond that. We do not want to leave Him hanging on the tree. He lives! He rules! And He will always rule, just as we saw in the scripture. He will eventually rule over all things.
The world has a woefully inadequate and incomplete picture of Jesus Christ. And they perpetuate this simplistic, almost stick-figure-like image every year at this time.
Are we not thankful that God has revealed to us the true Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and our coming King?
I wish you all a happy Sabbath.