S-1159 12/31/09 NY/3C (O) #123; (S) #114; L.S. #124; # 125; (C) #47
Texts: Isaiah 9:2-7; Acts 4:1-12; Luke 2:21
Theme: “A Name With A Meaning” (Luke 2:21).
Question: “How valuable is your name?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our New Year’s Eve celebration is from the Gospel Lesson: “And at the end of eight days, when He was circumcised, He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb” (Luke 2:21).
Introduction: In Nomine IESU
People of God, chosen and beloved; blessed New Year to you and yours. This evening we gather in the Lord’s house NOT only to observe the passing of the old year and prepare for the New Year; but to observe and celebrate the naming of the Child of Bethlehem in accordance with the Law of God.
By God’s command in the Old Testament (Genesis 17), every male child was to be circumcised on the eighth day. By circumcision, the child was incorporated into God’s covenant with Israel. This was the command God gave Father Abraham. The chief purpose of the circumcision was the child would receive his name. Just as when God changed Abram’s name to Abraham at his circumcision.
We often underestimate the importance of names in our world today. Many of us have been given names simply because our parents liked how they sounded. It hasn’t always been so. At one time, a person’s name was a literal definition of who they were or what they had done, and in some places that remains true yet today. Many family names have been derived from the vocation of some long-forgotten ancestor, such as Sawyer, Smith, Potter, or Cooper. Some came from where people lived, such as Rivers, Burger, Hill, and so on.
Your “good name” is your reputation; it is how you are known as a person. Companies spend vast sums of money to try to make their brand names recognized and respected in the marketplace, and the curse of a name that is poorly selected or damaged in the marketplace can haunt a product for years. Just as we have observed recently with Tiger Woods. PAUSE.
After the American Civil War the managers of the infamous Louisiana Lottery approached Robert E. Lee and asked if he’d let them use his name in their scheme. They promised that if he did he would become rich.
Astounded, Lee straightened up, buttoned his gray coat, and shouted, “Gentlemen, I lost my home in the war. I lost my fortune in the war. I lost everything except my name. My name is not for sale, and if you fellows don’t get out of here, I’ll break this crutch over your heads!”
People of God, chosen and beloved, Names are very important indeed. You can have a good name or a bad name. The name identifies you. The name lets people know of your reputation whether good or bad. Names truly matter.
Sometimes simply the name of a person, place, or thing conjures up vivid images or recollections, favorable or unfavorable. Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor, Normandy, Vietnam, Watergate. Twin-Towers, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Calvary.
Tonight, the Holy Spirit has gathered us in this place to learn more about the name which is above every—the Name of Jesus. Luke put it this way: “And at the end of eight days, when He was circumcised, He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb”. This is a heavenly name given to the Christ child before He was born. Jesus’ name comes from the Hebrew word Yeshua, or Joshua. Literally, the word is taken part of the name of Yahweh and part of the word for rescue or salvation. Taken together, the very given name of our Redeemer is Yahweh Saves.
Yes, indeed, the name of Jesus is a name with Meaning. When the angel told His parents what to name Him, it is yet another example of God saying what He will do and doing what He says! This name identified Him as the One who would come from heaven on a mission to save man-kind. That name was not given lightly, because God doesn’t take sin lightly. He gave the name that fits the work and ministry of what the Heaven-sent Messenger—Jesus would accomplish in His birth, life, death and resurrection.
We heard this evening of other names for Jesus. In our Old Testament reading Isaiah put it this way, “His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:6b). All of these names fit the Babe of Bethlehem to a tee. And again in our Acts reading Peter declared this Gospel truth: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). That is to say there is no one or nothing in this world or the next that can save you except the Savior, Jesus Christ. PAUSE.
The whole Bible is filled with references to Jesus in one way or another. Beyond that, the primary message spread by the Lord Himself and His followers was to go directly to Jesus Himself, place a submissive-obedient faith and trust in Him and continue [endure] to the end for salvation. It is very easy to see why we are directed by God to do this after noting the various ways the Lord Jesus is described by His many names and titles. Each refers to yet another important place or position that Jesus holds in God’s plan for man’s salvation. Please ponder how precious and preeminently important Jesus is for man’s salvation. The truth is: Jesus is the all-sufficient Savior. No other savior is needed besides Him or with Him. (There are over 100 names given to Jesus. Please know that the following is just a partial listing of the many Scriptural names and titles of the Lord. There are others not listed here.) I shall name but few for you to consider
Advocate (1 John 2:1)
Almighty (Rev. 1:8; Mt. 28:18)
Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8; 22:13)
Amen (Rev. 3:14)
Apostle of our Profession (Heb. 3:1)
Atoning Sacrifice for our Sins (1 John 2:2)
Author of Life (Acts 3:15)
Author and Perfecter of our Faith (Heb. 12:2)
Author of Salvation (Heb. 2:10)
Beginning and End (Rev. 22:13)
Blessed and only Ruler (1 Tim. 6:15)
Bread of God (John 6:33)
Bread of Life (John 6:35; 6:48)
Bridegroom (Mt. 9:15)
Capstone (Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:7)
Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)
Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4)
Christ (1 John 2:22)
Creator (John 1:3)
Deliverer (Rom. 11:26)
Eternal Life (1 John 1:2; 5:20)
Faithful and True (Rev. 19:11)
Faithful Witness (Rev. 1:5)
Faithful and True Witness (Rev. 3:14)
First and Last (Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13)
Firstborn From the Dead (Rev. 1:5)
Firstborn over all creation (Col. 1:15)
Gate (John 10:9)
God (John 1:1; 20:28; Heb. 1:8; Rom. 9:5; 2 Pet. 1:1;1 John 5:20; etc.)
Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14)
Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20)
Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14)
Head of the Church (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23)
Heir of all things (Heb. 1:2)
High Priest (Heb. 2:17)
Holy and True (Rev. 3:7)
Holy One (Acts 3:14)
Hope (1 Tim. 1:1)
Hope of Glory (Col. 1:27)
Horn of Salvation (Luke 1:69)
I Am (John 8:58)
Image of God (2 Cor. 4:4)
Immanuel (Mt. 1:23)
Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42)
King Eternal (1 Tim. 1:17)
King of Israel (John 1:49)
King of the Jews (Mt. 27:11)
King of kings (1 Tim 6:15; Rev. 19:16)
King of the Ages (Rev. 15:3)
Lamb (Rev. 13:8)
Lamb of God (John 1:29)
Lamb Without Blemish (1 Pet. 1:19)
Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45)
Life (John 14:6; Col. 3:4)
Light of the World (John 8:12)
Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5)
Living One (Rev. 1:18)
Living Stone (1 Pet. 2:4)
Lord (2 Pet. 2:20)
Lord of All (Acts 10:36)
Lord of Glory (1 Cor. 2:8)
Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16)
Man from Heaven (1 Cor. 15:48)
Master (Lk. 5:5; 8:24; 9:33)
Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 9:15)
Mighty God (Isa. 9:6)
Morning Star (Rev. 22:16)
Offspring of David (Rev. 22:16)
Only Begotten Son of God (John 1:18; 1 John 4:9)
Our Great God and Savior (Titus 2:13)
Our Holiness (1 Cor. 1:30)
Our Husband (2 Cor. 11:2)
Our Protection (2 Thess. 3:3)
Our Redemption (1 Cor. 1:30)
Our Righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30)
Our Sacrificed Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7)
Power of God (1 Cor. 1:24)
Precious Cornerstone (1 Pet. 2:6)
Prophet (Acts 3:22)
Rabbi (Mt. 26:25)
Resurrection and Life (John 11:25)
Righteous Branch (Jer. 23:5)
Righteous One (Acts 7:52; 1 John 2:1)
Rock (1 Cor. 10:4)
Root of David (Rev. 5:5; 22:16)
Ruler of God’s Creation (Rev. 3:14)
Ruler of the Kings of the Earth (Rev. 1:5)
Savior (Eph. 5:23; Titus 1:4; 3:6; 2 Pet. 2:20)
Son of David (Lk. 18:39)
Son of God (John 1:49; Heb. 4:14)
Son of Man (Mt. 8:20)
Son of the Most High God (Lk. 1:32)
Source of Eternal Salvation for all who obey him (Heb. 5:9)
The One Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5)
The Stone the builders rejected (Acts 4:11)
True Bread (John 6:32)
True Light (John 1:9)
True Vine (John 15:1)
Truth (John 1:14; 14:6)
Way (John 14:6)
Wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24)
Word (John 1:1)
Word of God (Rev. 19:13)
To be sure Jesus has a name with a meaning. When we say, “Jesus” we are calling upon Him to hear us and do what we ask. We can’t use the name of God in the wrong manner. God opposes this. The Name of God is so important that He warns us in the Second Commandment NOT to use His name in the wrong way; but to honor that Name and speak of it in the most reverent way possible.
Jesus’ name is a name with a meaning. Throughout our liturgy Services the name of Jesus is used often. We begin our worship service by calling upon the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—reminding us of our Baptism. In the Confession we call upon God to forgive our sins for the sake of Jesus. In the Absolution, I forgive you, your sins in the stead and by the power of Jesus. And at the conclusion of the service, I bless you when I share with you the great benediction of Numbers 22:6 to remind you that you belong to God and His name is over you as you go into the world.
Names are very important indeed. The Divine name is the most important of all, because it is a name that saves, delivers, frees and brings peace and joy into our hearts. And yet sometimes we don’t value the names that we have.
At least in this culture, (I don’t make myself better than others) we sometimes shorten the name because we think it is too difficult to say. Here is what we do with names: William = Bill; Robert = Bob; Patricia = Patty, Elizabeth = Liz; Michael = Mike; Gabriel = Gabe; Nathaniel = Nate; Donald = Don and so forth. But we dare not shorten the name of Jesus, or allow it to be changed to something other than what it means—for He is the Savior—Your Savior and mine. That is the name given Him by the angel before He was born.
What do we get when we have the Name of Jesus on US? We get Peace, and the Prince of Peace. We get Righteousness, and the Righteous One. We get Counsel, and the Counselor. We get Wonders, and the Wonderful One. We get the Kingdom, and The King. We get Salvation, and the Savior. We get forgiveness, and the Forgiver.
Beloved in the Lord, you are more than a number in a system. You are more than merely a name; you are God’s chosen and beloved children. And His name is over you even as we close one year and begin another. And that name brings us joy and life eternal. What a blessing to know the name with a meaning—the name of Jesus our Savior. Amen.
Now the peace…