His Name Shall Be Called Jesus (Sunday, December 20, 2020)

Luke 1:26-38

Beloved of Christ,

God had made promises to King David that his child would reign upon his throne forever. He also made promises to Abraham that in Abraham’s child all the nations of the earth would be blessed. The child to be called Jesus is a significant child who is bringing to fulfillment, to a climax the promises of the Old Testament Scriptures. The name Jesus in Hebrew is “Joshua.” There are two significant Joshuas in the Old Testament which stories are intended to point forward to the coming Messiah. People had a very specific set of expectations for this new Joshua, Jesus, the son of Joseph and Mary. His name incorporates the name of God. I invite you to nourish your soul according to the word of God in Luke 1:26-38, on the theme, His Name Shall Be Called Jesus.

Joshua means “the Lord is salvation.” At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Jews were looking for a Messiah very much like the earlier Joshuas—Moses’ assistant and successor who led the children of Israel home to the Promised Land at last. The second Joshua appeared at the end of Israel’s history. After Israel had settled in the Promised Land, the land eventually split in two and then was conquered  by the Babylonians and the Assyrians. The people were  taken away captive. Almost at the end of their story, they returned to Jerusalem which was a shattered ruin, a bare shadow of its former glory. Among them was a the high priest, and his name was Joshua. This Joshua rebuilt the Temple where God’s people could worship God, once again.

They thought of the Joshua-Jesus, someone who would restore Israel’s home after the tyranny of a foreign oppressor like the first and second Joshuas. The Messiah, they thought would boot the occupying Romans out of their land at last and restore their national fortunes. They were looking for a socio-political savior. But this final Joshua, Jesus, the son of Virgin Mary is a Savior different in character altogether.

The angel explains that Jesus will reign over the throne of King David forever. The other kings reigned and served as instrument in the hand of God. But Jesus himself will reign eternally because He is God—“The Lord is Salvation.” The Lord saves! The Lord will save people His people from their sin. Jesus frees us not only from the guilt of our sin, but from the power of sin too. That stranglehold which sin once had over us, Jesus breaks it and sets us free.

You might have tried to live a changed life. Your conscience has been stinging and you have vowed to be a different person. In all of your efforts, your heart has betrayed you again, and sin ensnares you again, and you just can’t get free. You need a Savior! Jesus is our Rescuer. He brings freedom from sin to us. 

In times of trouble fomented by anti-Christ and anarchist rulers of darkness, we who trust in Christ live in peace as we remember that the Lord our God intervened in human history to bring us a Savior in the person of Jesus Christ, the light of the world and the hope of our salvation. Jesus explained to Nicodemus how one can inherit eternal life. He transplants in us his essence—holiness! His Holy Spirit works in us trust in the Lord in whom all things are possible. As humans, what may be impossible, will be possible with God.

Let us Pray: By your name, established authority, Jesus, Jesus the righteous! By your blood, you crushed principalities, Jesus, Jesus the righteous. For us you have conquered all. Grant that your Holy Spirit strengthen us to trust you ever as our salvation. Amen.

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