What names were given to Jesus at his birth? And what is their significance? Each of them has a special meaning. Here are some of them:
Christ/Messiah—King appointed by God
Emmanuel—God with us—this time “with skin on”!
Every one of these indicates a relationship. He saves us, rules over us with love and justice, and lives/stays with us. He is not a God who is far away but one who cares and delights in every detail of my life. What comfort, security, and hope.
Jews had expected their Messiah for hundreds of years. We are told that every Jewish girl entertained the dream of being the mother of the Messiah. What some people expected was a human champion to deliver them from oppressive foreign rule and them set up a just and righteous rule. Others may have expected a supernatural figure to appear suddenly from nowhere and do the same.
But when God Himself showed up in human skin, to be born and grow up among them and pass through all the experiences of normal life with them—well that was too much! As Michael Card puts it, “Their wildest dreams simply weren’t wild enough!”
What wild dreams does God have in store in our time and experience? I pray that I will be ready and able to recognize and embrace His work in my life and around me. Wouldn’t it be too bad to miss out on something He’s doing right under my nose because of my own preconceived notions?
I suspect God has a good bit of humor tucked between the verses of the Bible that you and I never see. But some of them are more obvious, several of which are in the gospel of John. One is the interrogation of the formerly blind man by the Pharisees. The man calmly answers their questions and tells his story—for a while. Then it turns interesting as they begin to lose their cool and the man starts needling them with the plain and simple truth which they refuse to accept. (If you want to read this story again, you’ll find it in John chapter 9.)
Another bit of humor is in John 7:41-42 where the crowds are trying to figure out whether Jesus is the Messiah or not. One side very logically argues that since Jesus was from Galilee, and since the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, Jesus simply couldn’t be the Messiah! And Jesus didn’t bother to correct them.
How many times do we also fail in our understanding—either because we don’t know all the facts or because we don’t want to believe? I love it that God calls us to believe, not to understand everything. That will come later. I am looking forward to an eternity of learning amazing things! And I trust there will be no papers or tests—ugh!