This is the last full week of Advent—Christmas is almost here! Are you ready?
“Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” - Mark 1:24 (NLT)
This name is interesting, as it was given to Jesus not by himself or another person, but instead by an evil spirit. A little context: Jesus was teaching in a synagogue out of real authority, when suddenly one of the men interrupted asking “why are you interfering with us?” This man was possessed, and the demon inside of him did not appreciate how Jesus was teaching the people in a way that amazed them.
Jesus reprimanded the evil spirit and demanded it leave the man. Because of the authority he spoke with, the spirit listened and left the man, which only amazed the people even more. After this, more and more people came to Jesus for healing.
Holy means to be dedicated to God. So by calling Jesus is the Holy One of God, the demon was saying that he was not only dedicated to God, but also dedicated by God. God himself sent Jesus to the earth in order to serve His purpose, saving the souls of humanity from death.
Holy means to be dedicated to God. Can we be holy like Jesus was? If yes, what can we do to be holy? If no, why not?
Were you conscious of Jesus at all today? If so, when? If not, why not? What do you want to say to Jesus after today?
Light of the World
“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” - John 8:12 (NLT)
This is another name Jesus gave himself, and it is really more a metaphor.
After leaving slavery in Egypt, God led his people at night using a pillar of fire. By following that light, they had the way that lead to the promised land and freedom. Jesus wasn’t calling himself a literal light leading the people to a literal place. Instead, he was evoking the cultural memory of that time in order to connect with the people.
Like the Israelites leaving Egypt, the people Jesus was speaking to were walking in darkness. They weren’t enslaved, but the were under occupation by the Roman Empire. There were many aspects of the cultures surrounding them that went against God’s teachings. This was the darkness Jesus was offering them a way out of.
For us, there is even more darkness in our world. By following the light of Christ, we are able to have an eternal life away from that darkness. I don’t know many people who prefer to live in literal darkness, though there are many to choose to live in spiritual darkness. We have a choice to make, whether we will sty in darkness or enter the light.
While we will all have difficult times that seem dark, Jesus will always shine through to lead us. Are you following the light down his path? How are you showing others how to follow the light as well?
“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us.” - Luke 1:78 (NLT)
You probably noticed the name underneath the day (Dayspring) isn’t actually in the Bible verse. Have I mentioned how Jesus didn’t speak English yet? Which means sometimes the same verse is translated several different ways. Read “the morning light” as “dayspring”. Though I think morning light makes a little more sense.
There is a saying, “it’s always darkest before the dawn”. It’s true, right before dawn all of the light seems to disappear. But on another note, things always seem darkest right before they get bright again.
That’s because sometimes we can’t tell there is light until it gets dark. Have you ever had the lights on in a room, but you didn’t notice they were on because the sun was shining through the windows? It isn't that the lights weren’t on, we just didn’t notice until we needed to. When it is dark enough for us to realize we need the lights on we are grateful.
Jesus can be like that. He is always there for us, but sometimes we forget to notice Him because things are going pretty good for us. I know I need to get better at thanking Him not just for helping me through the dark times, but for being there for me in the light as well. Afterall, He is the source of the light.
Are you living in darkness or are things looking pretty sunny for you right now? What have you done lately to thank Him for His light? If things are pretty good, have you noticed Him?
“He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God.” - Revelation 19:13 (NLT)
“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” - John 1:1
One thing you might not know about me is that I really like words. I like the meaning of words. Did you know that even the swear words we use actually have a literal meaning? In the past when students use them I’ve given them the punishment of looking the word up in the dictionary and explaining to me how that particular word actually fit in the context they used it. It never does.
So here we have Jesus being given the title Word. The Word is God, was God, the Word of God. Logos is the Greek term that most Bibles translate as “word” in English. The English doesn’t really do it justice, though. Better translations would be argument or reason, or even story.
That gives these verses a slightly different meaning. “In the beginning the reason was with God, and the reason was God.” “His title was the argument of God.”
When we think of Jesus as the reason or argument, it helps us understand just how important he is to our salvation. If you read a few verses further in John 1, it say that all things were created through the word. Therefore, Jesus was the reason everything was created, while his birth and death is the reason we can be saved.
We each have a reason we are here on earth. What do you feel God has created you to do right now? Are you doing it?
““Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. - Matthew 12:18 (NLT)
In this verse Matthew is quoting a prophecy made by Isaiah. God was speaking through Isaiah about the Savior that would come to redeem the world.
A while ago the name of Jesus was Prince of Peace. How can He be both a prince and a servant? Isn’t the servant supposed to serve the prince?
Yes, if taking our modern understanding of the titles. However, God isn’t calling Jesus His servant in the same way a human king would. Instead, He is saying that Jesus came to earth to serve or fulfill a purpose. God chose him to come to earth as the Messiah, a task which he fulfilled without question.
However, there are also times when Jesus did act like a servant. He washed the feet of his disciples, which was definitely a pretty gross task (have you ever walked all day in sandals in the desert? Believe me, their feet were not clean!)
Sometimes the best leaders are the ones who are willing to actually do the work of those they are meant to lead. We are called to take his example and serve others as well.
Christmas is often a time we exchange gifts with people we care about. Usually this comes in the form of a material thing, but have you ever thought about serving them in another way? What if instead a present you gave the gift of your presence?
“Were you conscious of Jesus at all today? If so, when? If not, why not? What do you want to say to Jesus after today?
“The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ ” - Luke 7:34 (NLT)
One of my favorite Gospel songs goes like this:
Who am I that you are mindful of me That you hear me, when I call Is it true that you are thinking of me How you love me, it's amazing CHORUS: I am a friend of God (3x) He calls me friend
We often think of ourselves as so much less than God, and we are. Who am I that God should even spare a second thought on me? I’m not that important, I’m not special.
But I am. You ARE. Yes, Jesus is a friend of sinners. He would often seek out those who were on the outside looking in. The ones that most needed Him. But the truth is, we all need him. We are all sinners, and he doesn’t care. He thinks about us, He loves us, He leads us. He calls me friend.
I have a few friends that I would do anything for, and they would do the same for me. Jesus goes above and beyond that. A human friend is a great help, but no human can do what Jesus did for us.
Advent is over in just a few days. Look back at what you have learned the past few weeks. Do all of these names and titles give you a better understanding of who Jesus is? Are you more ready for Him to enter your heart?