A Special Christmas Devotional
From the time a woman learns she is having a baby, she begins to think about what to name her child. Family and friends anxious to know the baby’s name often must wait until the child’s birth for that detail to be revealed.
An interesting aspect of the Christmas story involves the naming of Mary’s Son. In Bible times, children were often named by their mother. Some received names that reflected the era in which they were born or the circumstances of their birth. Isaac, for example, means “he laughs.”
But in the Christmas story, neither Mary nor Joseph chose their baby’s name. God did. He named Mary’s Son long before she gave birth to Him. The angel Gabriel told Mary, “You . . . shall call His name JESUS (Lk. 1:31), which means, “He will save us” or “the One who saves.” The word stems from the Hebrew root word Jehoshua, meaning “Jehovah is salvation.”
The angel also told Joseph, “You shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21). To emphasize the fact that He alone could save us, the angel quoted from Isaiah 7:14: “‘They shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us’” (Mt. 1:23). In God’s plan, established before the beginning of the world, only the Divine dwelling with man could save us from sin. It’s no wonder the angel called Him “the Son of the Highest” (Lk. 1:32) and “the Son of God” (v. 35).
Jesus, the name God chose for His only begotten Son, communicated His identity and His purpose. He is God, and He is the only One who can save us! In naming Him, God gave His Son unparalleled power. The apostle Paul declared,
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 (Phil. 2:9–11).
Few bowed or confessed Jesus as Lord at His birth, but a time is coming when everyone—irrespective of background or position—will take a knee and confess Him.
On the night of Jesus’ birth, the angel Gabriel told the shepherds a Savior had been born in David’s city, “who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:11). The word Christ comes from Christos, the Greek word for “Messiah,” meaning “the anointed” or “promised one.” In naming Jesus, God gave the world a continual reminder of the significance of His only begotten Son. Jesus is the Seed of the woman, the Son whom God promised would redeem us and crush the head of the great serpent, Satan (Gen. 3:15).
Every person in the world who has ever spoken the name Jesus Christ, respectfully or disrespectfully, testifies that Christ is the One promised by God and anointed to save us from our sins.
At Christmastime we often hear, “You have to believe!” The defining difference is in whom we believe. Only those who truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will benefit from His redeeming work. Christmas is when we remember God sent His only begotten Son into the world to save us from our sin; and His glorious name, Jesus Christ, declares this eternal truth.
I pray you will have a blessed time celebrating the marvelous birth of our Savior this year!
In His Precious Name,
Dr. Jim Showers