“Jesus is the sweetest Name I know,” says the hymnist, and it is true. What is the most precious name of Advent? Jesus! Mary and Joseph had no problem naming Him. Many couples spend months agonizing over just the right name. They want a name not too odd or too familiar, but just unique enough for their dear little one. Some choose family names to honor or recognize a relative or parent. Others choose names of great men of their day. Jesus was named after no relative or great person of His day. He was named for who He was. The angel said to Joseph, “You shall call His name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins.”
This name echoes clearly from the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve had been promised a Deliverer. It rings from the days of Abraham who had been promised that his Seed would bless the whole world. It sings down the halls of time from David whose true Son would be the King of Israel and the whole world. It resounds from the time of the prophets who foretold that the Deliverer and King would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem. He is Emanuel, God with us, the Deliverer and Savior.
Jesus birth was not a surprise. It had been promised and anticipated for millennia. His name reflected all the promises that had been made concerning Him. Elizabeth told Mary in Luke 1, “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord." She recognized the promises made and now being fulfilled by God. In Mary’s response, the Magnifcat, she declared, “He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud.” She declared the deliverance to be brought about through her Son. Then Zacharias stated, “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people.” He declared the salvation of the Lord which would soon come at the birth of Jesus.
Each Advent season we remember the joyous news that the Savior has come. We celebrate the hope and salvation that comes through Him who bore the name Jesus. Jean Perry wrote “That Beautiful Name”. Sing it joyfully this Advent season. “I know of a name, a beautiful name, that angels brought down to earth. They whispered it low, one night long ago, to a maiden of lowly birth. That beautiful name, that beautiful name, from sin has power to free us! That beautiful name, that wonderful name, that matchless name is Jesus!”
The Friday Benediction
Until Monday, my friends, may the good God envelop you with His grace; may you prove the common confession of faith, “I believe in the holy Christian church and in the fellowship of the saints”, and may you be enriched with joy and hope as you exercise that confession this weekend. Amen
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