As we enter the season of Advent and await the arrival of the Christ child, we can't help thinking about names. Names are important, especially in Scripture. Jewish names meant more than a few syllables. They identified the person, but they also identified character. In Luke 1 a silent Zechariah watches as, at the birth of his son John the Baptist, people want to name the baby after Zechariah. Zechariah breaks his silence announcing that he is to be named John. In Matthew 1, fourteen generations are named from Abraham to David. And Joseph names the son he has accepted, Jesus. Names and generations are important.
In "For a child has been born to us, a son given to us; authority rests upon His shoulders; and He is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7)." These are the names Isaiah gives Jesus. Earlier Isaiah (7:14) called Jesus "Immanuel (which means God with us)." These are Biblical names for Jesus. We could add Master, Teacher, Rabbani, Son of God, and many others. All would be accurate and descriptive of the character of Jesus. But these names are words on a page, because names are just a collection of letters until we take them in and accept them. I think this is why Jesus, in Matthew 16, asks the disciples ... "But who do YOU say that I am?" It is a great Christmas question! Who is Jesus to you?
I ask this question because Christians, among all the people of the world, should exhibit a confidence, a calm and a character that brings what Isaiah speaks about ... peace. This week we will light the candle of peace as part of our Advent tradition. It will be a reminder to allow Jesus to bring peace into our hearts. It will cause us to recall that peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. If our God ... our Savior ... our teacher ... our example ... our leader ... is the Prince of Peace, should we not be purveyors of peace? Should we not be those who show the world what we sing in the song ... "Our God is greater, our God is stronger, our God is higher than any other!"?
We must decide. Is our God what we want Him to be or is our God who He says he is? For me, I must follow and believe what God says about Himself, because if He becomes what I want Him to be, I, not God, becomes lord of my life. And I have found that doesn't work very well. Let's let Jesus be Mighty God, Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace that leads us past all of those emotions that bring turmoil to our hearts. Jesus can and will do it if we let Him be who He says He is! AMEN