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Who Is That Baby?

you are to give him the name Jesus -Matthew 1:21

            Do you remember the Lone Ranger—how the program ended?  Usually some variation of this:
            –“Who is that masked man?”
            –“Why don’t you know?  That’s the Lone Ranger.”
            All around the world, people with very little or no connection to Christianity will celebrate Christmas in some way or another.  If they were to stop and think about what they are celebrating—the birth of a baby over 2000 yrs ago, they might well ask, “Who Is That Baby?”
            That is  an important question.  The Bible takes great pains to answer it.  One way is by the names given to him.  William Barclay says, “It can very often happen that a name given to a man can be a one-word summary of what he has done and of what he is.”
            Alexander the Great
            William the Conqueror
            Bloody Mary
            Old Testament names
            John the Baptist
            How much more significant are the names and titles of Jesus since they are given or inspired by God.  In his book, Jesus As They Saw Him, Barclay identifies 42 separate titles or names.
            I want to focus on one—Jesus.  This is the name which the angel instructed Joseph give him.
            Technically, this is THE name, the others are more properly titles.  It is ironic that Jewish title “Christ” has replaced Jesus as the most common name among Christ ians.  Fifty percent of the Carols don’t mention Jesus.
            The point is not that it really matters what we call him.  However, we should not be blind to the fact that Jesus is the name which the angels gave to Him and it is the name by which the gospels know Him best (600 times).
            It was a common name in his day.  It meant savior or deliverer.  The world then (as always) was looking for a Savior—from political, economic, emotional problems to name a few.
            To many people, Christmas means the birth of a poor baby who rose to be a great defender of oppressed people.  His opposition to the establishment caused him to be executed.  But a band of his followers determined that the cause should not die and took his name and sought to perpetuate it and his ideals.
            The angel gives Joseph the reason for the name—he shall save his people from their sins.”  The tragic fact is that few people really want to be “saved from their sins” and many who do have never heard that message.  Martin Luther put it this way in a Christmas sermon: “The first link between my soul and Christ is, not my goodness, but my badness; not my merit, but my misery; not my standing, but my falling; not my riches, but my need.  He comes to visit his people, yet not to admire their beauties, but to remove their deformities; not to reward their virtues, but to forgive their sins.”  Another great preacher, Joseph Parker said, “What I dread amongst you most is not that you will destroy Christ, but that you will patronize him…Jesus Christ is nothing to me if he is not the Savior of the world….He is either the source of your keenest troubles, or he is the beginning and the end of your supremest joys.”
            Even those who have come to accept this sometimes are not sure of what it means.  It is not only forgiveness of past sins but a new person and future.
            “Who Is That Baby?”  He is Jesus who saves from sin those who put their faith in Him . He is the Lord of the lives of those who are believing in Him.  He is God with us.
            Do you personally know Jesus, Lord, present?
            Merry Christmas!

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