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Christmas Eve Devotional 2008 December 24, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Christmas, Jesus, Matthew, Religion.
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The Name of the Baby

Matthew 1:18-25 

INTRODUCTION:  There are two names in this passage for this baby whose birth we are celebrating. One is Jesus which means “Savior”, the name which God commanded Joseph to give his adoptive son. The second name was given over seven hundred years before Christ was born. The name “Emmanuel” which means “God with us” was given to an ungodly king and is mentioned by Matthew as proof that Jesus is the promised Messiah.         

These two names have meaning for us also. Jesus is the Savior. He came to save His people from their sin. His people were the Jewish people but He did not come just to save His people. When Jesus as a thirty year old man came into the presence of John the Baptist, a prophet of God, John pointed his disciples to Him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” Jesus Himself once said to the Jews in John 10, “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold.” He was talking about us. In Ephesians 2, Paul writes about Jesus in His death tearing down the wall of partition that existed between Jews and Gentiles for the purpose of saving people out of both groups and integrating them together like a building where the blocks or the bricks interlock to become one.         

What is it from which we are saved? There are many things one could be saved from? The name “Savior” comes from a medical word. When a patient recovers from a deadly illness because of the wisdom of the doctor, we say, “The doctor saved him.” When a medicine causes a miracle cure, we say, “The medicine saved her.” When a medic or a first responder’s actions rescue a person from death, we say, “That man saved their life.”         

Jesus once said that He came to save the sick. He was speaking figuratively. You see, humankind is sick with sin. Most do not recognize their sickness but every person, born into the world is sick with sin and will die of that sickness unless they have a Savior. The name that Jesus was given to bear here on earth is a reminder that He is the one who came to save.          

The second name, Emmanuel, tells us how it is that Jesus can save. He is “God with us.” When Jesus was laid by Mary into the manger, he was no ordinary baby. He was and is still the virgin born Son of God. The name Emmanuel is a sign from God that He Himself has entered the human race.         

Some say Jesus wasn’t really a man. He just looked like a man. Others say he had the body of a man but he didn’t have a human soul. Still others say Jesus was two people in one body—sort of half-God and half-man. Many believe it was all nonsense—that Jesus isn’t God at all. They claim he was an ordinary person like you and me with a sin nature just like everyone else on planet earth. God says in John 1:14 that Jesus became flesh and lived among us. He was God and became man without ceasing to be God (from Ray Pritchard in When Did Christmas Begin?)          

Ray Pritchard tells this story. A young man sat in my office and listened as I explained the gospel to him. Finally he said, “I just can’t believe all that stuff.”          

So I asked him, “What would it take for you to believe?”          

 “I would believe if God came down and stood in front of me and told me himself,” he said.          

“My friend, he already has come down,” I replied. “He came down 2,000 years ago and lived among us. If you don’t believe that, then I have nothing better to offer you” (from Ray Pritchard in When Did Christmas Begin?).                   

Savior and Emmanuel: these two names are brought together in a hymn by William Cowper that we rarely sing today. “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.”           

As we celebrate the virgin born Son of God would you not trust Emmanuel, “God with us,” as your Savior from the stains of sin? He promises that He will save you through His blood if you trust Him and Him alone.

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