She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
“There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain.” – from the song Break Every Chain by Will Regan, United Pursuit
- Feeling fatigued? Open up your Bible and notebook. Before you sit down, do ten jumping jacks. You’ve pumped your heart, now pump your soul!
- Read Matthew 1:18-25. Write verse 21 in your journal. Highlight the word “save.” Make it stand out with asterisks, stars, or fireworks. It’s an important word!
The Name of Jesus
The official Christmas season ended. Reflections on “The Best of 2016” began. The radio replaced around the clock Christmas music with countdowns; which song will be #1 on the chart? Christmas trees slowly grace our curbsides; holiday decorations now cost less than half of their original price. Are you going out for New Year’s Eve or staying home?
How can we keep the message of Christmas in our hearts as we prepare for the new year? Let’s go back to the beginning of the Christmas story. Today, we will reflect on Jesus’ father, Joseph.
As I read Joseph’s side of the story, I wonder what he was thinking. Although I have no idea what went through the mind and heart of Jesus’ earthly father, I can’t help but conclude that at some point, he said to himself, “This is not how I expected my life would turn out.”
Why would God turn Joseph’s life upside-down? Why was God’s plan totally unexpected?
The answer is in the name of Jesus. He saves.
I love the name of Jesus. With it comes freedom! Romans 10:13 says “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” His name saves us from eternal death, but it saves from more than just our initial salvation.
Many years ago, I was at a corporate worship night. It was one of those memories that I’ll never forget. Everyone was in awe of God. We weren’t only moved because the music stirred our emotions. The presence of the Lord was so strong. I remember being so full of joy, so full of passion, so full of love for the Lord, that I freely shouted at the top of my lungs, “Jesus!” Nothing more needed to be said. His name alone proclaimed the core of my worship.
There have been other times when I just didn’t know what to say. Perhaps my heart was overwhelmed with sorrow, or I couldn’t put words to my emotions. The only word that could come out was “Jesus.” Just saying His name out loud brings great comfort.
Perhaps you have experienced or heard of others Christians who have felt spiritual oppression. My friends described it as a great heaviness that weighed them down. They tried to pray, but the burden was too strong. Finally, with all they had within them, they cried out loud, “Jesus!” With this one word prayer, the burden lifted! The name of the Lord is so powerful that the enemy must leave.
From what situation, false belief, or unexpected life change do you want Jesus to save you? Let God’s angel say to you, just as he said to Joseph, “Fear not!” Remember, the very name of Jesus means ‘He saves.”
Before we move on to “Questions to Ponder” and “Faith-Filled Ideas,” flash forward to Matt. 27:41-42:
In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him.”
Do you see the heartbreaking irony? They mocked Jesus, insulting His claims to save them. They rejected salvation from the very one whose name and human incarnation means “He Saves.” Don’t believe for one second that Jesus cannot save you from your burden.
Questions to Ponder
Do you feel lost in any way? In what area do you long to be saved? You can use the term “lost” and “saved” loosely. It could be that you feel lost in your daily to-do list, or you feel you don’t belong at church, thus feeling lost. Perhaps you want to be saved from a medical condition. Whatever the context, ask Jesus to save you.
Spend exactly one minute praising Jesus out loud, declaring the names of Jesus. For every name, say “Jesus, You are ____.” Speak slowly and methodically, as if chewing on every word.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will [a]rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
The 7 I Am’s in John
The Light of the World
The Bread of Life
The Resurrection and Life
The Good Shepherd
Bible Resources provides a comprehensive list: http://bibleresources.org/names-of-jesus/
After you have practiced this form of worship on your own, try this with others. If your children can read, have them join you.
The New Year is fast approaching! Do you like to make New Year’s Resolutions? This year, resolve to see how Jesus will save you in one area. Remember, you cannot save yourself. Only Jesus can save. So pray, wait, listen, watch, then marvel. Pray to the Lord, asking Him to take care of this area. Wait for His timing. Listen to God by reading His Word. Watch to see how His answer is greater than your plan. Finally, marvel at how He saved you.
Did you know that Joshua is the Hebrew form of Jesus? Jesus is the Greek form. They both mean “he saves.” Do you know someone named Joshua? Tell this person, “Your name means “Jesus saves!” Maybe he doesn’t know the meaning of his name. Maybe he doesn’t yet know Jesus.
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Answer today’s question in the comment box so we can all get to know one another! We at the HCFM are praying for our online community to build relationships, even if they are across the country or the world!
-What is you favorite way to worship with others (your church, friends, family)?[/box]