Friday, December 10, 2010

The "Why" of Christmas

Who is Jesus, and why do we celebrate anyways?  The answer can be found in the three names assigned/given to Him.

- Jesus: it's a transliteration from the Hebrew name Joshua, and means "Jahweh delivers or rescues" or, in a word, "Savior"

- Christ: it's a translation of the Hebrew name Messiah, meaning "Anointed one."

- Immanuel: this descriptor puts two words together; ʻImmānū which means "with us" and 'El, meaning "God."  Literally, Immanuel means "With us God."

In these three names or titles, we have everything we need to know about Christmas...and more than that, everything we need to know about God.

The name Jesus gives us His purpose in coming - His purpose was simply to save.  Jesus knew his purpose, Himself reading from the scroll of Isaiah;

1 "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,

   because the LORD has anointed me
   to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
   to proclaim freedom for the captives
   and release from darkness for the prisoners..."

(read the full chapter here)

Jesus = Savior.  He came to seek and to save that which was lost.

Which brings us to his title, "Christ" or "Messiah."  This is His identity - He was and is God's "Anointed one."  Matthew especially constantly refers to Jesus as "Messiah."  This is the one - the long awaited one...the anointed one.  Read through the first chapter of Matthew as he recounts the genealogy of Jesus and you'll see 3 times in those 17 verses that Matthew refers to Jesus as the Messiah.  It's who He is. 
Which lastly brings us to this;

23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[a](which means “God with us”).  (Matthew 1:23, quoting Isaiah 7:14).  

Immanuel (or Emmanuel), "With Us God" or "God with us."  With us in both time and space, with us in that He set aside His divinity to enter the restraints of our universe; fully human, and yet full divine.  With us in that he is FOR you, so much as you have given your life to following Him and believed in Him for salvation.  With us in that He, Jesus, lives inside of you.  With us in that we no longer need to wonder what God is like.  Do you want to know the character of God?  Simply look at Jesus.  He is the character of God...He IS God.  Immanuel...I don't know there could be anything greater.

What does all this mean? It means everything. It is the whole point of Christmas. What more is there to say?

16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."  (John 3:16-17)

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