What’s In a Name?
Amazing God, how great You are! What an amazing gift You have given us in Your Son, Jesus Christ.
Read Matthew 1:18-25
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Bow to worship “Jesus, name above all names, beautiful Savior, glorious Lord. Emmanuel, God is with us” (Naida Hearn). The Savior is born!
Matthew’s genealogy spelled out the history of a royal line which had disappeared from the pages of history through exile and disobedience. Many of those named had not been “righteous,” but now we meet someone who is. Joseph believes his betrothed has been unfaithful. To limit her disgrace, he plans a private divorce until he discovers, as Luke tells us, that she has been courageously faithful and obedient to God–and that now it is his turn. He takes her into his home and gives her baby his name. Through the obedience of “Joseph son of David” (20), Jesus becomes legally and legitimately the promised “Son of David.”
His name is God-given, pointing to his calling. He is “Jesus [‘The Lord saves’], because he will save his people from their sins” (21). At that time the Messiah was expected to save his people from their political captivity, but Jesus’ mission was to address the spiritual disobedience which caused their captivity, and to bring even their enemies within God’s covenant with Abraham. Mary’s child has another name, too, given through ancient prophecy. He is “God with us” (23). God, who led the children of Israel through the wilderness, who dwelt in the holy of holies, and whom Ezekiel saw leave the temple, has returned to stay–in Jesus. At the climax of this Gospel, he promises to be with us always (Matt. 28:20).
In smaller daily ways, each of us who claims to believe in Mary’s child faces the same challenge to faith and obedience. When popular perceptions are at odds with those of our faith; when life does not turn out as expected and does not seem fair; when we are called to treat our enemies as friends: will we obey, as Joseph did?
The heart of Christian discipleship is not a belief but a permanent presence. How does your life show that You believe that God is with us?
Lord, I am humbled when I think of Joseph. I pray You will work in me and with me as I seek to trust You fully and obey You always.
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