Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Jesus

I love Christmas carols, do you? I love them so much that I’ve been known to play them in the middle of the summer. As I sit here writing I’m playing Phil Wickham’s song At Your Name. (click here to hear this song ) My daughter would argue with me and say that isn’t a Christmas song, but isn’t it? I mean, isn’t knowing Jesus’ name the reason for the season?

When telling the first Christmas story it seems that Jesus’ name was pretty important: so much so that God made real sure we’d know it—He actually mentions it several times.

In one of the many prophecies of Jesus’ birth, Isaiah tells us that Jesus should be called Immanuel, and later in Mathew 1:23, this prophecy is reaffirmed and translated, to say that Immanuel means that Jesus would be God with Us.

Just a bit further down the road, Isaiah tells us that Jesus would be called by a whole string of names. They are: Wonderful, Counsellor, (or in some translations it’s Wonderful Counselor) The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. In Luke 1:31, Mary is told by God she should name Jesus, Jesus, and in Matthew 1:21, Joseph is told he too should name the baby Jesus.

I mention these names, not because you’ve not heard about them: if you’ve ever listened to Handall’s Messiah you’ve heard them, but instead because all too often I think we kind of skip over this part of the Christmas story. Somehow the innocent baby in the manger, with his homeless and very pregnant teenage mother, and noble step-father gets more of our attention, than the facts of who that baby was. 

I don’t think God used these titles by accident though, but instead wanted us to know who that Baby really was.

It’s very important, for example, for us to know that Jesus is God with Us when we look at what He’d do on the cross some 33 short years later. You see, if Jesus was a man, like you and I, He would have been tainted by the sin nature that He inherited from his earthly mother. This sin nature would have made it so that although he might have been very, very good He never, ever could have lived a sinless life and paid the price required for our sins. (Remember the sacrificial lamb who was a picture for Jesus had to be absolutely perfect, something no man could ever achieve—see Romans 5:12 for what the Bible has to say about this).

It’s important too to know that Jesus the Wonderful Counselor. In John 14 Jesus introduces the Holy Spirit and this is the very title He gives Him. Jesus could only be the Wonderful Counselor because of His triune nature.

Jesus is also the Mighty God. This name that Jesus bears denotes the full power of God. Jesus wasn’t a demi-God, or an understudy for God, but instead was the very God—God with Us, and because of this He carries the title of the Mighty God.

The Everlasting Father is another title that shows us a bit more of Jesus’ character. I honestly, don’t really know how to explain the fact that Jesus can be The Everlasting Father: Father God, but this is another example of how Jesus’ triune nature shows up (this is God who said it, not me).  

The last title is the one we’re most familiar with in reference to Jesus. Scripture tells us that Jesus literally becomes our “peace” when he paved the way for us to be restored into a relationship with God the Father. Romans 5 tells us that Jesus actually “became our peace” when we were in a state of utter enmity with God the Father, when we were rebellious and not seeking God at all. It goes on to tell us that we now have “joy” in God because of what Jesus has done.
This particular aspect of Jesus is why the angels sang “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

You see, Christmas songs aren’t just for Christmas, but real Christmas songs are for every single day of our lives. That’s because real Christmas songs tell us who Jesus is, and lead us into worship of Him. Check out this one: another great Christmas song

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