Reflections: The Fourth Sunday in AdventThe Fourth Sunday in Advent

Today’s Reading: Matthew 1:18-2

Daily Lectionary:Isaiah 34:1-2, 8-35:10; Revelation 6:1-17

She will bear a Son and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (Mt. 1:21)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Names mean a whole lot. Your mother and father chose yours for a reason. Maybe it was a relative’s name, maybe your name was found on an internet search for neat, contemporary names; regardless of how you were given your name, your name is how you’re known, remembered and the means by which you’re addressed.

God became a Man and was given a name too; Gabriel the Archangel as he comforts worrying Joseph says that the name of the Child in Mary’s womb, the Child that is to come into the world was conceived by the Spirit and was going to do some extraordinary stuff.  What though?  

He’d have a name, and He’d save His people from their sin.  The name Jesus, is derived from the name Joshua. Joshua in the Old Testament is pronounced Yeshua and Yeshua who was and is and will be Jesus (remember how we talked about this on Friday?) Yeshua is Jesus, Jesus was in the OT, you probably remember Him there by another Name (Yahweh: the pre-incarnate Christ). So Yeshua was the Promise that God gave to His people through the prophets and all History.  Yeshua/Jesus is the one long promised Who was bringing salvation. Salvation by His blood, His death and His atonement for our sin.

To help this make a little more sense, understand that the word salvation, in Hebrew, literally means “Yeshua”. Psalm 14:7 for example: “Oh, that the salvation (Yeshua) of Israel would come out of Zion! Or Psalm 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation (Yeshua) and sustain me with a willing spirit.  Gabriel says the same to Joseph and us: Jesus comes to save us; from sin, from death and the power of the Devil.  But don’t forget one of the other Names this Yeshua has: Emmanuel. This Savior Who is true man like us, is God with us.

There’s a whole lot in a Name and now you know a little more about Jesus. But lastly know this, Yeshua, Jesus, Emmanuel has come to give you a name, a family, a life, peace, joy and forgiveness.  The day when the old Adam was drowned in your Baptism you were given another Name. The very name of your Lord and Savior, Christ-ian.  He names you!  He claims you and says that all this is rightly His has been bestowed to you.  In the Name of Jesus + Amen.

Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come and help us by Your might, that the sins which weigh us down may be quickly lifted by Your grace and mercy; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

-Pastor Adam DeGroot is Pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.