What’s in a Name? – O Come, O Come Emmanuel

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Have you ever considered how many names you have? Now, I’m going to use the word “name” in a really broad sense, so think of things that you’re called regularly by different people. So, both your names, but you could throw in their different titles, or nicknames, or family joke names. How many names do you actually have? So here are some of mine that I just wrote out really fast.

  • Ryan. Clay. (It’s my middle name.)
  • Ferguson.
  • Fergie. (I’ve been called that in many venues over the years.)
  • Dad.
  • Daddy.
  • Father.
  • Old man. (That’s a joke in our home.)
  • Husband.
  • Big Clyde. I’ve competed in some events where you compete in the Clydesdale category, which is a kind – or not so kind way of saying, “You should not be running this race. You’re too big.”
  • I’m called “Big Guy” regularly by people I don’t even know. I took my motorcycle into the shop the other day. There was a gentleman in front of me about 70 years old. He turns around, looks at me, and goes, “Hey, Big Guy. If a fight breaks out in here, you’re on my team.” Okay.
  • I have a nickname that has stuck with me since I was very little that my dad gave me: Ryan Clayjer Toojer Bummer. Yeah, that’s a beauty. With the accompanying rhyme: “sits in the corner and sucks his thumber.” So still haven’t outlived that one.
  • My dad still calls me “Buddy” more than Ryan.
  • “Friar Ferguson” instead of pastor.
  • “Brother” – my sister calls me “Brother” probably more than she does Ryan over the years.

I have a lot of names, and each of my names reveals who I am in a way and how I relate to others and how others relate to me. So, even if you don’t know me very well, even me giving you my names in the past 45 seconds has let you learn more about who I am. You see how I even interact in my home, that it’s okay that my kids sometimes jokingly called me “the old man,” you know? So, you’ve learned something about me because names reveal, and names relate.

The names of Jesus reveal who he is and how we relate to him. That’s today’s Big Idea. The big idea we want to walk away with today is the names of Jesus reveal who he is and how we relate to him.

“O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is a song that should be sung all the time, not just because it’s been in the top Christmas songs for eleven hundred years, but because it gives us an opportunity to interact with seven different names of Jesus, to learn more about who Jesus is. So, we’re going to look at these names from this song and actually see, do the scriptures use these names of Jesus? We’re going to do that in two ways. We’re going to use the Book of Isaiah, and we’re going to use the New Testament and see if the New Testament says the same things.

But before we jump into these names, I want to encourage you with one thing. I’m going to work through seven names. That’s a lot of material. I’m going to move pretty quickly, actually. But that’s seven names. I want you to ask the Spirit to impress upon you just one of these names that you’ll hold onto and take into 2019. What is one name of Jesus that you can explore, that we talk about today, as you go into 2019?

So, since we’re going to be in the Book of Isaiah a lot, I want to see if I can get us all on the same page about the Book of Isaiah in less than one minute. Here is the Book of Isaiah in less than a minute: Isaiah is God’s prophet or God’s messenger. Isaiah tells God’s people what God wants his people to know. You can basically think of Isaiah as a courier of God’s news. He carries God’s news to God’s people. At this point in history when Isaiah is speaking, God’s people have actually divided. So, if you back up in history, God had chosen this little nation called Israel to display his glory and purpose to the world. But because of generations of ignoring God’s commands through leaders who didn’t do what God told them to do, we arrive at this moment in time where Israel that was supposed to display God’s goodness to the world has divided into two parts: Israel and Judah.

So, Isaiah is actually writing to Judah, but his message is for Judah, Israel, and even us. So, what’s Isaiah’s message? Here is where I’m going to let a guy smarter than me say it in two paragraphs to help us keep under a minute. This is Ray Ortlund. He is a scholar and pastor from Nashville, and he says this about the Book of Isaiah.

“Isaiah announces God’s surprising plan of grace and glory for his rebellious people and indeed for the world. God had promised Abraham…” (and we can think of Abraham as the beginning of the nation of Israel) “God had promised Abraham that through his descendants the world would be blessed. God had promised David…” (David is probably the best king ever in the nation of Israel)

“God had promised David that his throne would lead the world into salvation. But by Isaiah’s time, the descendants of Abraham and many members of the dynasty of David no longer trusted the promises of God. What, then, of God’s ancient promises? Is the gracious purpose of God defeated by Judah’s sin? Isaiah’s answer is that, although God must purify his people through judgment, he has an overruling purpose of grace, beginning with Isaiah himself, spreading to Judah and Israel, and resulting in endless joy. Even the nations of the world are taken into account.

The purpose of Isaiah, then, is to declare the good news that God will glorify himself through the renewed and increased glory of his people, which will attract the nations. The book of Isaiah is a vision of hope for sinners through the coming Messiah, promising for the “ransomed” people of God a new world where sin and sorrow will be forever forgotten.”

That’s Isaiah. And in the middle of Isaiah, he answers a lot of these issues of hope and how that is going to happen through Jesus and gives us lots of ways to look at Jesus, different names.

So, who is Jesus, and how do we relate to him? Let’s begin with “O come, thou Branch of Jesse.” Let’s test this name from Isaiah. What does the prophet say? Well, in Isaiah 11:1 and 10, he says this,

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. In that day, the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples – of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.”

Now there’s a lot of imagery going on in there – stumps and roots and some dude named Jesse. But even before we actually know what it means, we’re in the middle of a promise again. Whether you know this part of the Scriptures or not, you can feel that a promise is being made here. Something’s going to happen.

So, in Isaiah 10, right before this passage, God has Isaiah describe to his people a judgment that’s going to happen on this country called Assyria. And the way he describes that judgment is that an entire forest is going to be cut down. So, get that image in your head. It’s like someone logged an entire forest, and instead of green trees everywhere, there’s nothing but stumps and dirt. And then you step into Isaiah 11.

And Isaiah says, “In the middle of the stumps, there’s a root growing. It’s not all dead out there. It’s not hopeless. In the middle of that, coming from Jesse is a root. It’s a branch. It’s still growing. There’s still hope.” This continues the great promise of God recorded in multiple ways and in multiple settings. God is going to send someone, a Branch, a Root, a Servant, a Savior, a Messiah to set right all the brokenness.  And this guy Jesse isn’t just pulled out of a hat. Jesse is actually the father of King David. So what Isaiah is doing is, he’s going all the way back to the beginning of those promises, where it came from.

Hey! Jesse’s offspring, David, God made promises to David. There’s a line going to happen. There’s a branch. The root of Jesse is from the family tree, no pun intended. He’s from that.

So, what does the New Testament say about this Branch of Jesse? Paul in the book of Romans quotes this section of Isaiah, and Paul makes a case that Jesus, the branch of Jesse, opened the gospel to people who are not ethnically Jewish. Now the story is way bigger than Judah and Israel. Now it’s to us. Romans 15:12,

“And again Isaiah says, ‘The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles. In him will the Gentiles hope.’”

John, who is a friend of Jesus, hung out with Jesus, he writes a couple of books in the New Testament, one of which is Revelation. And he says this in Revelation 5:5,

“And one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep no more; behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’”

John says later, and he’s quoting Jesus here,

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and descendant of David.”

Jesus claims the name. So, what does this reveal to us about Jesus, that he is the branch of Jesse? It reveals to us that Jesus is human. Jesus is a real man. He is not a fairy tale told during the cold months so that we can have a cool holiday. Jesus was a real descendant of a real family. So how does that help us relate to Jesus? Jesus’ humanity connects me to him. Our Savior and hope are of similar origin. I’m human and Jesus was human. We have a connection. The author of Hebrews in the New Testament puts it this way, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood…” (humanity, we share in real flesh and blood) “He, himself (he, Jesus) partook of the same things.” Jesus became real flesh and blood. He became a literal, real world descendant of Jesse. Why?  “So that through death, he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is the Devil, and deliver all of those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

The author of Hebrews continues about Jesus that he “had to be made like his brothers in every respect…” Why did Jesus have to be human? “so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because Jesus has suffered when tempted, he’s able to help those who are being tempted.” Why does it matter that Jesus is the branch of Jesse? It matters because he’s human. It matters because he’s our hope. It matters because he gets us. He understands our plight. Jesus is the branch of Jesse.

O come, our Wisdom.

What does Isaiah say? We’ll continue right there in chapter 11,

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him.”

The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon this Branch of Jesse, will rest upon Jesus.  “The spirit of wisdom and understanding…” (notice all these bold words) “the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see or decide disputes by what his ears hear.”

So, the branch of Jesse, Jesus, is given a triple dose of the Spirit. Three pairs of gifting are placed upon this Branch of Jesse, upon Jesus, and all of these are wisdom words. These are all used in the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament. It talks about the fear of the Lord. The Branch, Jesus is Spirit-saturated with wisdom. Does that continue into the New Testament, this identity of Jesus as wisdom? Listen to what Paul writes in two places. 1 Corinthians 1:23 and 24,

“But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

Colossians 2:1-3,

“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

What does this name “wisdom” reveal about Jesus?  It reveals that Jesus is God’s valuable wisdom. But how does that help us relate to him? It means that Jesus matters in real life. Jesus isn’t just spiritual. Jesus is real. He’s the wisdom of God. So, when it comes to decision-making, discernment, judgment, tough choices, direction, confusion, lack of understanding, we can’t forget who Jesus is. Not just that he’s our Savior, but he’s our wisdom. We can move towards Jesus in moments like that in full faith, believing that he is the great treasure chest of all God’s wisdom, waiting for us to access it. He’s our wisdom.

O Come, Our Lord of Might,” the song continues. In Isaiah 9:6, it says this.

“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given. The government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Lots of additional names for Jesus in this section, but let’s focus on that idea of Mighty God. The child that is born is Mighty God. Now, for those of us who’ve been in church world for a while, I just read something to you that for most of us we take in as normal. Jesus is Mighty God. “Right. I know that, Ryan. I went to Sunday School. I got you.” But when we read Jesus is Mighty God, we actually should be startled. We should jump at that. Why should we be startled?

We should be startled because of the way the Bible speaks about God being God. God is exclusive about him being God. Consider just two sections, one from Isaiah and one from Deuteronomy.

“‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and My servant (Jesus), whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me, no God was formed, nor should there be any after me.’”

Deuteronomy 6:4-5.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.”

God is exclusively concerned with his unique Godness. Only God is God. And so, when we come into the middle of this story, and the baby is called Mighty God, our eyes should pop! He’s Mighty God! Does that continue into the New Testament? Titus 2:11-14,

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing…” (listen to all of these words) “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession, who are zealous for good works.”

When Jesus is called Savior and God and has glory, we need to be shocked again. Why? Because God says in Isaiah 42,

“I am the Lord. That is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.”

God is not in the business of sharing his glory. And yet here we read that we’re waiting to see the glory of God in Jesus. So, what does the name Lord of Might reveal about Jesus? Jesus is God. Just as we learned from the branch of Jesse that Jesus is human, so we learn from Mighty God that Jesus is divine. And how does that help us relate to him?  We are in awe.

It is in most songs and most conversations that I’m aware of when we speak of Jesus, we speak of him as Brother, Savior, Redeemer, and Friend, all of which are appropriate, all of which we must relish and hold onto. But we must never divorce from the person of Jesus the reality of his Godness. Jesus is God. Jesus is all powerful. Jesus is holy. Jesus is completely distinct from us. So, at Christmas, when we think of the baby in the manger, which is all cute and sentimental, what we’re really thinking of is Mighty God. He’s God!

My favorite Christmas song that makes me wish I was a tenor every Christmas is “O Holy Night.” There’s a phrase in “O Holy Night” that says “fall on your knees.” When we consider that Jesus is God, our knees hit the floor. And maybe we should do that literally, like go old school – knelt prayer. He’s mighty God.

What about “O come, O Key of David“?

What does Isaiah say? This one and another are kind of unique in that Isaiah mentions it but doesn’t specifically reference Jesus. So, I’m going to try to set up “Key of David” a little bit. So, remember Isaiah is God’s messenger. He’s speaking to God’s people. And in one part of Isaiah, he’s talking about the rulership of Israel, King David, who’s in charge, and at that point, there was a steward in charge of Israel, not the king. And so, Isaiah receives from God this message that Shebna, the steward, is going to be fired. He’s judged. He’s out.

And I’m going to bring in Eliakim, and he’s going to fill the position of steward. And Eliakim is going to be a great steward. He’s going to do a really good job, but he’s not going to do a good enough job to rescue Israel from the mess they’re in. That’s basically what’s going on with this key of David, so let’s jump into Isaiah 22:22. This is God talking.

“And I will place on his shoulder (on Eliakim’s shoulder) the key of the House of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”

So, steward – he’s given some authority, the key of David, to make binding decisions in the place of the king. So Eliakim can do things on behalf of the kingdom. He’s a steward. Now how does that connect to Jesus? We have to jump forward again into this book that Jesus’ friend, John, wrote called Revelation, and this is a quote. John is told, “Write this down.”  Revelation 3:7,

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens, and no one will shut, who shuts, and no one opens.’”

So, our text from Isaiah has been transported into Revelation 3:7 and is now being referenced towards the holy one, the true one. And this whole thing of Revelation, this is a book all about Jesus. It’s the Revelation of Jesus Christ. So now Jesus is the one who has the key of David. He now possesses the authority of the king to make all the decisions necessary.

Jesus is the Key of David. He can make decisions on behalf of God’s authority. So, what does that name “Key of David” reveal to us about Jesus? Jesus is authoritative. Jesus is God’s steward and possesses the authority to determine what happens. When Jesus opens a door, no one can close it. When Jesus shuts a door, no one can open it. How does that help us relate to Jesus? Jesus’ authority humbles me. Jesus exercises authority in a realm that I can’t even comprehend.

When it comes to my problem of sin, only Jesus can open that door. When it comes to eternal life, only Jesus can open that door. When it comes to preserving me as one of his kids in this messed up world that we all walk through, who can keep me safe in a world that wants me to fall, only Jesus has the authority to open and close those doors. I’m humbled by the authority God has placed on his Son Jesus and the authority Jesus has over my life. Jesus is your Lord and Savior, or he is neither. He is the authority. We are not.

“O come, oh Bright and Morning Star.

Once again, Isaiah gives us more allusions to this one than using the actual name. In Isaiah 9:2, he says this,

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shone.”

So, Isaiah starts here speaking about one of the grand images in all of the Scriptures, and it’s this idea of light and dark.  It begins in Genesis and goes all the way through Revelation, this idea of light and dark. This statement about light shining in a darkness begins a prophecy all about Jesus, including many of his names. People have seen a great light, and as we move through the story of the Scriptures, we see that Jesus claims this identity of being light. John 8:12, Jesus says this,

“Again Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’”

If you are a Jew at this point, and you hear Jesus say this, your mind runs to the book of Isaiah. Jesus is saying, “I am the light that shines on people in darkness.” John 9:5,

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

That is a fairly bold statement. I am the light. And then all the way in Revelation 22:16 we get a quote of Jesus talking, and Jesus says this

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and descendant of David,” (we talked about that) “the bright morning star.”

Jesus right here, just like I did at the beginning, gives us one of his names. This is who I am.

“I’m the bright morning star.” And there are many viable options that exist for what that means. It could be as simple as light, that bright morning star is an image of light, just like Jesus said, “I am light,” and Isaiah said that “light will shine in the darkness.” But there might be more where the bright morning star is the star that indicates that night is about to end, and day is about to begin.

So, a couple of weeks ago – I take one of my daughters to carpool pretty early in the morning before sunrise, especially here after time changed, and I pull up to where I drop her off at the house, and we’re facing west. And right out there is just one star all by itself in the midst of a blue purple sky and behind us coming up over Paris Mountain is the orange of the sun in sunrise. And in my brain in that moment (I had been studying this) I’m like, “That’s Jesus. That’s it. That’s what Jesus says about himself.” Hey, when you see that star right there, the lone star all by itself, night’s over. Light’s on the way. Sunrise is about to happen.

In the coming of Jesus to earth, he is the morning star. When he came as this babe that was born in the real world, a descendant of Jesse, he said, “Night is over. The day is about to dawn.” When Jesus went to the cross, he’s the bright morning star, this whole power of evil and darkness is about to be taken over. Light is on the way. When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, he’s the bright and morning star saying, “Death has no more power. Light is on the way. The sun is about to rise.” He’s the signal that darkness is defeated. That night is over that the light is coming. And the day is on its way. Even when darkness and disease seem so powerful, he’s the bright and morning star.

What does it reveal to us about Jesus? Jesus illuminates darkness. How does this help us relate to Jesus? In darkness, Jesus brings me hope. As I’ve gotten older, one of the things that I’ve grown to appreciate about Christianity, true Christianity, is that it’s honest. That darkness is real. We don’t have to sugarcoat it. Not everything is sunrises and sunsets, and certainly not everything is holly and jolly and silver and gold, like the songs have been telling us for the past five to six weeks. It’s not always like that.

But even in the reality of darkness, death, disease sickness, and suffering, a light has come. A light has shown. The morning star appears. Jesus does not bring us more darkness, he brings light. He’s not a discourager. Jesus is not a downer. Jesus is not a god-man who is disappointed in his people. Jesus is actually a source of light, encouragement, and expectancy. He’s the bright morning star. He’s the sign that sin, darkness and death, disease have a shelf life, because all of those things can seem all powerful.

When you’re walking through life with somebody who has cancer, it can seem really powerful. Guess what. It’s not. It’s not all powerful. Jesus is. When you have someone in your church congregation who passes away, death can feel like it has a death grip on you that won’t ever let go. Guess what, it doesn’t. When we look at this world that we live in, and we feel like man, we’re losing, Church, we’re not. Jesus is winning. He’s the Bright and Morning Star saying, the day is coming.

O come, O King of nations. Isaiah 9:6 says this,

“For to us a child is born to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Who in the world has shoulders broad enough to carry the burden of world government? Who can handle that responsibility? Government is a provocative issue. I am sure there are families present here who either argued over or completely did not talk about politics over the holidays. And here Isaiah brings it front and center and links it to Jesus. Isaiah tells us that the government will be upon the shoulder of Jesus. Isaiah says that Jesus is a wonderful counselor, a place where authority and power is safe and used well.

Man, don’t we long for that? Don’t you long for a leader who with every decision he makes, everything he does is always on behalf of the good of the people? He always exercises power in a righteous way. Our hearts long for leaders like that. Imagine the peace that awaits us in the kingdom of God when all world government, because we’re going to continue living in a real world when Jesus comes back. He’s going to remake it all new, but all government is under his control. What will that peace be like? Imagine a world completely ruled by Jesus Christ. That will be awesome. Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:13-15,

“I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilot made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time – he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.”

Revelation 1:4-5 says this about Jesus ruling.

“John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.”

What does the name King of nations reveal to us about Jesus? Jesus is the great ruler. Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and in his kingdom, that is not just a notion of authority. It is a very real life-giving promise. He will rule the world and his kingdom.

How does that help me relate to Jesus? Jesus brings me present peace. If that’s true, if Jesus is the great ruler, that brings me present peace. If in your heart right now you long for political stability, you long for a righteous thing. If you believe any earthly ruler will provide the stability in ruling the world that will make you ever feel perfectly safe, you’re longing for Jesus, not an earthly ruler. He’s the only one who can do that.

The best Christian who chooses to serve in high office in any country compared to Jesus is like a toddler pretending to be a parent. They can do their best, they can have fun, but they’re no Jesus. The King of the nations will one day rule the world in a brand-new kingdom. He’ll expel those who do not want a part of his kingdom, and that King of the nations invites you to be a citizen in that kingdom. So, if you’re here, who’s your King?

O come, O come Emmanuel.

Now we arrive at the title name for the song. Isaiah says this,

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

This carol we sing each winter borrows its title from a name that Isaiah gives. God steps in to give his people a sign, a sign of hope, a sign that judgment is not the end of the story, and that sign and that hope is a Son with a specific name, Emmanuel. We learn from the New Testament that Emmanuel means God with us. So, what does that name Emmanuel reveal to us about Jesus?

And here we have to link a couple of things because if Jesus is Mighty God and Jesus is Emmanuel, that means God is not distant. God’s with us. He’s among us.

In Jesus God took out his tent unfolded it, pulled the lines taut, and hammered some pegs into the ground and began to live among his people in the person of Emmanuel. So how does that help me relate to Jesus? Emanuel equals intimacy. For some of us, it’s still easy to consider God as just another worldly being, and he is. It’s easy to consider God as distant and separate and unknowable. But in Jesus, in the stories we read in the Gospels, we see a living, moving, feeling, relational God that dwelled with his people, not only just dwelled with them, but moved into their neighborhood.

We learn in these stories that Jesus, the Mighty God had friends, these screwups, these twelve guys that he traveled with all over that region. And Jesus at one point looks at them and literally the Mighty God looks at these guys and says, “Hey, you’re no longer servants. You’re my friends. We see in the person of Jesus that the Mighty God when his friend Lazarus died, cried. We see in this Emmanuel that whenever his friend John died, Jesus took off for some alone time.

Emmanuel dwelling with humanity reveals that there is an intimate possibility of us interacting with God himself. Jesus is the complete incarnation not only of God, but of God’s intimate relationship with his people.

So how many names does Jesus have? A lot. You know why Jesus has so many names? Jesus is infinitely describable. There is a limit to what you can describe about me to anybody both in your knowledge, but just as a person. There’s only so much of Ryan that you can describe because I’m a finite being Jesus is infinitely describable. We’ll never be able to unpack all of who Jesus is, and yet the Scriptures over and over give us these little moments to interact with these names of Jesus to see if we can discover more about him, interact with him more, and ultimately love him.

Names reveal, and names relate. The more names we know about someone, the closer we are typically. So, it is with Jesus, friends. Jesus is our human and divine, completely wise, promised descendant of David, who is the authoritative Lord of all, the King of all government, and the sign that the night is almost over and that the sun is about to rise.

Jesus is the incarnation of our intimacy with God himself. Jesus is the fulfilment of all God’s promises to his people. So just like the song, we can then say, rejoice. Have joy. Take your joy again. Re-joy. Why? Emanuel has come to me. And on this day as we look back and remember that Jesus was born, we also sing this song looking forward. We want Jesus to come back again. So, we get to sing this song all brand new, looking back and looking forward.

Oh come, oh come Emmanuel. Amen? Let’s pray.

Spirit of God, I ask you because you are the revealer of true things, the convicter of hearts, that in your kindness you would reveal to us and display for us the beauty of Jesus Christ. And Spirit, I pray this for my own heart and for the hearts of my family here, would you do that in a way that gets us out of churchy world? That I would love Jesus because of what I see in him in your word.

God, open up our hearts, encourage our hearts. God, I pray for anyone hurting in this room, struggling, discouraged, that they would see in you a great King, Morning Star. Open our hearts. God, let us respond with all that is in us because we have come face to face with the Christ the Emmanuel. Amen.

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