WHAT’S IN A NAME? Our story begins in Bethlehem where Mary and Joseph had arrived to pay their taxes. Mary was about to give birth and must have been tired after the journey, but the local inn was already full. The couple had to spend the night in a stable where Mary’s child was born. She swaddled Him in cloth and gently laid Him in a manger, the animal feeding trough. Unlike so many parents today, Mary and Joseph did not need to discuss what they would call the newborn baby. And, long before scans were invented, they already knew that she would give birth to a baby boy. The angel of the Lord had appeared to Joseph and said, ‘She shall bring forth a son, and you shall call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins’ (Matthew 1.21). That was not all. The same night the angel announced the birth to a group of shepherds on a hillside outside Bethlehem, saying, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2.10-11). These names were not just popular names of those times. They were specially chosen by God. His only Son left heaven and came down to earth to be born as a baby in Bethlehem. Let us think of these three names given to Him at His birth – they each have a wonderful meaning for us all. JESUS – the Saviour This name tells us why He came – to save us from our sins. We are all sinners, but God is holy and cannot ignore our sin. In His love and grace He has provided salvation for us by sending Jesus to be the Saviour. He would have to be punished and pay the penalty for our sins, so that we might be forgiven and go free. He would have to die so that we might receive eternal life. His sorrow would be the means of our joy. Through believing in Him, all of these blessings can become ours. CHRIST – the Son of God This name gives us His true identity as God’s anointed One, just as the prophets had foretold. He was God’s eternal Son, equal in power and glory with His Father, but He became truly human for our sakes. One day Jesus asked His disciples a question: Who did they think He really was? It was Peter who gave the right answer: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (Matthew 16.16). Mary’s baby boy was the divine Son of God.
LORD – the Sovereign The angel also called Him Lord, showing that He has supreme authority and is above all. He is the Lord of those who believe in Him. And because He paid the price for them upon the cross of Calvary, they are not their own – they belong to Him. He is their Sovereign and they should serve Him faithfully every day. He is totally worthy of their love and devotion. One day everyone, even those who reject Him, will bow the knee and confess that ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ (Philippians 2.11). So the child born in Bethlehem was Jesus Christ the Lord. Is Jesus your Saviour? Have you acknowledged that Christ is the Son of God? Is He Lord of every moment of your life? If not, receive Him today, confess Him before others, and serve Him with your whole heart. He will save you and bless you.