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What’s in a name?

About 2000 years ago, man was able to look into the heavens and see a sign that changed the course of human events for all eternity. It was the star that brought the Magi from the east and alerted all those that were “in the know” about the arrival of Emmanuel! This is perhaps the most beautiful of names given to our Lord in that it demonstrates the intimacy of God’s presence with us.

Jesus was known by many titles (over 300), all of which had a special significance. Several names come to mind that are precious to me as I consider the holidays and the past year. Advocate (1 Jn. 2:1) – Jesus is ever making intercession for me. Whenever Satan points his accusing finger at me, my Lord rushes to my defense and pleads my case. The Lord has never failed to supply me each day with His strength and encouragement.

I am thankful that Jesus is my Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4). As His under shepherd, I marvel at what I see Him accomplish in my life and the lives of others. As a Shepherd, He continuously protects and nourishes His people. That doesn’t mean that we will not experience difficulties in our lives. Yet we can identify with Paul and the Lord’s words to him in regard to his “thorn in the flesh,” “…My grace is sufficient for thee.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

Wonderful (Is. 9:6) – Some have suggested that the Christian life is dull and unexciting. Jesus’ name, Wonderful, means exactly the opposite. It means marvelous, exciting, enthusiastic, full of life, or most literally – God with us! I can only speak for myself in saying that my life in the Lord has been anything but dull. When I am living my life in the light of His presence, I soon realize the reality of His words, “…if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)

Counselor (Is. 9:6) – The One in whom I can confide everything, the One with the advice that would never steer me wrong, the One in whom I could trust. With His council, we have been enabled to move on from day to day, month to month and year to year. He has given clarity of thought, energy for the drive, and the goals to strive for.

Mighty God (Is. 9:6) – This is what gives the impetus (motivation) to live and work by faith. This motivates us to attempt great things for God and expect greater things from Him, in spite of all our inadequacies. I learned long ago that the ministry of the Word can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6) – Even in the midst of the storms of life, in Him do we find peace of mind and confidence of spirit. Though there are and will be times when one must face opposition, one must do that which is right no matter the cost. When we are engaged in the will of God, we will experience the tranquility or peace of God that can only come from Him.

Lamb (Jn. 1:29b; Is. 53:7) – This is the very essence of what this season is all about. Most people view Christmas as a time of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. Truly it is few and far between where we find a true understanding of the purpose of the Babe in the manger. Jesus came for one primary purpose – to reconcile sinful men to Himself. The true purpose of Christmas was to bring the Lamb into the theatre of human events, to ultimately and finally pay the price for the sins of man (1 Tim. 2:4; Heb. 2:9; 1 Jn. 2:2). Jesus is truly the Author and Finisher of our Faith (Heb. 12:2) because He was first the Lamb.

Rev. Jim Howard, Pastor
First Baptist Church
233 S. Main, Cedar Springs

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