“Christ: Not a Last Name”
First name. Last name. In our Western society, we are accustomed to this way of writing someone’s name.
As we approach Christmas, it’s important to be aware that Jesus’ parents were not Joseph and Mary Christ. Much to the chagrin of my kids (who have asked this often), Christ is not Jesus’ last name. Christ is an equally important part of his name—a name that is unique to him.
Jesus was fully man—a person with emotions, appetites, and needs, just like you and me. If you’ve ever been frustrated trying to relate to God, just know that he went to great lengths to relate to you. Jesus of Nazareth was and is God’s most empathetic offering.
Christ, though, is just as important. The word “Christ” comes from the Greek term “Christos,” which means “chosen one” or “anointed one.” Over and over again in the Old Testament, there were hints of a coming Messiah or a coming Christ who would not be anointed by an earthly king. Instead, this one who was to come would be anointed by the heavenly King and, therefore, would be the Christ.
As you read in 1 Chronicles 17:11–14, this prophesied Christ would come from God to “establish his kingdom” and would “establish his throne forever.”
According to Isaiah 7:14, he would be “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Though he didn’t come like we thought he would, he did come. In love, wrapped in swaddling clothes, he showed up.
When he became a man, he began inviting others to follow him. And he invites us as well. In John 1:41, Andrew, one of his earliest followers, said it so well to his brother Simon:
“We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).
As we wait for Christmas, remember that we are not merely waiting for the celebration of a baby who was born. We celebrate the Christ, the fulfillment of God’s promise, the assurance that God’s Word is good, and the certainty that he can still be trusted. Thank God today for Jesus, the man, and Christ, the rescuer sent from God. After all, just as Andrew had, we have found the Messiah (that is, the Christ)!
And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.
1 Chronicles 17:11-14 KJV
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14 KJV
He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
John 1:41 KJV
“Why Did God Create Marriage?”
Scripture places tremendous emphasis on the sanctity of marriage. To understand why God treasures marriage, we need to only look at why God created marriage. God gives us four reasons for this creation right up front, in the book of Genesis:
1. He declares:
“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” God charges man with procreation and the best way to fulfill His plan was through marriage.
2. God says:
“And subdue it and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” In other words, man is to be in partnership with his wife in managing the earth and caring for the environment.
3. God said:
‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.’” Humankind’s deep need for companionship is key reason God established marriage.
4. But that’s not all:
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” God wants the husband and wife relationship to be priority over all others on earth, with commitment for life, and to enjoy the gift of sex.
God is clear – from the very beginning – that marriage is the first and most important institution of man. Let us treat it as a sacred treasure.
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
Genesis 2:18-21 KJV
Before we were married, Julie and I knew we wanted kids. After three years of marriage, we were ready. But for the next three years, we could not get pregnant. Every month, for 36 months, we were reminded of our struggle with infertility.
Then one day, we found out Julie was pregnant! Since we had waited three years for this, you might assume that only having to wait nine more months would’ve been easy. Wrong! It seemed like forever. We could not wait to meet this little girl we’d dreamed about!
Have you ever felt this type of anticipation? You were on the edge of your seat. You couldn’t sit still. It’s all you could talk about. The prophet Isaiah caused people to experience this kind of expectancy. He talked about a Savior who would come one day. He called him “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Everlasting Father,” “Prince of Peace.” And he said, “Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:7).
Talk about good news foServicesne. Talk about standing-on-your-tiptoes anticipation! This is what the Advent season is supposed to feel like. We’re celebrating the birth of the person who can do for us what no one else can: bring us from darkness to light, from death to life.
The days leading up to Christmas are supposed to be filled with standing-on-your-tiptoes anticipation. Maybe you are anticipating something good this Christmas—that gift you really want, the get-together with friends or family, or that special Christmas tradition. Or maybe you are anticipating something less-than-good: a packed calendar, a painful memory of a lost relationship, or that awkward family member.
What if this Christmas were different? What if you could spend this Advent season anticipating something that would leave you feeling happy, satisfied, fulfilled, and loved? You can.
Let’s turn our anticipation to Jesus—our rescuer, our hope, our Savior, our physician, our eternal salvation, God with us. Jesus was born! For you! For me! Let’s stand on our tiptoes and anticipate Jesus together. Here are two simple ways:
1. Every day, simply think of the name Jesus, and let your thoughts wander from there.
2. Join us as our staff leads us through this devotional: The Magic of Christmas.
I can’t wait. I hope you’re standing on your tiptoes too!
Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:1-7 KJV
Afternoon Prayer… Pray this prayer at https://abide.is/sharing/fCTxU3rZ5wKZY-97