Jesus: A Name Worth Knowing
Luke 2: 15-21
By John Hazzard
Sunday, January 1, 2023
GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR
LORD AND SAVIOR—JESUS THE CHRIST.
On Jan. 1 we celebrate the eighth day after the birth of Jesus, when he was named and
circumcised. He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the
womb (Lk 2:21). Under the Law of Moses, all male infants were to be circumcised on the eighth
day after birth (Lv 12:3). It was also customary at this time for family and friends to witness the
naming of the child. This major feast is celebrated on Jan. 1, the eighth day of the Christmas
season. It is designated as a feast in honor of Jesus' Holy Name. Though traditionally celebrated
as the Feast of the Circumcision, Luke’s Gospel emphasizes Jesus’s Holy Name, leading to what
is now referred to as the Celebration of the Holy Name.
As you may know, names were very important to the ancient Hebrews. Children were
given names that were very descriptive. For example, David means “The beloved.” Names have
even been changed to represent specific situations or mark special happenings. For example,
Abram became Abraham and Sari became Sarah as she laughed at the prospect of becoming
pregnant in her old age. Jacob was called Israel as a result of his wrestling with God and
refusing to give up even though his hip was displaced. Saul would be called Paul after his
encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus and Simon became Peter or Simon Peter.
Names can be used to convey a particular belief, and they can be used to honor famous people in
history or even special family members.
The importance placed on names throughout the Bible provides us with critical context
we otherwise wouldn’t have. In the Old Testament God revealed his name to Moses as Yahweh
(Ya way), “I Am Who I Am.” The Jewish people felt that God’s name was so sacred that it was
inappropriate to speak his name aloud. They substituted his name with other titles like Elohim,
El-Shaddai (El shad die), Jehovah, and Adonai (A duh nay). They revered the name of God so
much that in the Torah they use the word LORD in all caps instead of God’s sacred name
Yahweh. Throughout the ages there have been many different names and descriptions used to
describe God, but none are more important than the name given to our Savior, Jesus, which
means “Yahweh is Salvation.”
Luke tells us in chapter 2:21, on the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the
child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
The name of Jesus is the most recognized and popular name in history. His name was
controversial for much of the world even though his coming was prophesied about since
the fall of Adam and Eve. He was criticized and persecuted by the very people he came to
Jesus’ very name provides for us an example to follow, a leader to emulate and “the way”
which provides us a narrow path to be closer to God’s Divine Grace and Mercy. Jesus the True
Son of God, is “the way the truth and the life.”
Paul tells us there will come a day when the knee of every man, woman, and child will
bow before that highly exalted name. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given
him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of
things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9–11).
With the coming of Jesus everything changed. Our Lord Jesus is almighty God himself.
No longer is he far removed from humanity, but he himself became human, the vulnerable flesh
and blood Christ. The whole purpose of his coming into this world was to bring almighty God
into communion with his people. So through Jesus we can call out with boldness to God the
Father because now through our baptism we are grafted into the body of the son of God, Jesus
the Christ. Jesus is our adopted Father and likewise through that relationship we are called to
bring others into this salvation. With the coming of Jesus, Almighty God, whose name people
were not allowed to say aloud became a human being. His name is still holy, but now saying his
name has become a blessing instead of a word thought to be too sacred to speak.
No matter how advanced our society becomes, no matter how educated we are, we
are still sinful human beings who need a savior. My hope for the New Year is for us to put
more and more of our trust in Jesus. My hope is that we establish both a temporal and
eternal relationship with Jesus through our daily prayers, devotions, and meditations- all of
which are possible because of Jesus. Through Christ crucified we can have the Kingdom of
God. Jesus makes this all possible.
It is in the name of Jesus that we minister and testify to the world around us. It is in
His name that we are baptized and made a part of the Body of Christ, the Church. Jesus-
the Christ Incarnate- is the conduit that allows us to enter the Holy of Holies and have a
very real, tangible, and direct relationship with God. Jesus is seated at the right hand of
God and intercedes on our behalf, when we place our trust in him instead of ourselves or
things of this world. He is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
Jesus is worth honoring and revering. He swapped his crown of glory for a
crown of thorns. He swapped a royal throne for a bloody cross. He sacrificed himself so
that He might forever fill us with Himself. He came to earth to die for us because of His
great love for you and for me (Philippians 2:5–8). “Let this mind be in you, which was also
in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with
God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was
made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (John 3:16). For God so loved
the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life.
Jesus Christ fulfilled all the Law and all of the prophecies about the coming Messiah.
Through Christ, God’s plan has been successfully completed: John reminds us in Revelation
11:15b, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ;
and he shall reign forever and ever.”
Jesus is God with us. He is the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ, the True Lamb of
God who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus took all of our sins, all of our wrong
doings, all of our corrupted thoughts, all that is done and all that has been left undone. He
heaped all of this onto himself, so we who believe and accept him- as our Risen Lord and
Savior- may be found righteous in the eyes of God.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMANE UNDERSTANDING KEEP
YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS… THE TRUE LAMB OF GOD AND
THE ONLY SOLID ROCK ON WHICH TO STAND. AMEN.