Advent Season 2016

Throughout the month of December, the Christian world is observing the coming of Jesus Christ’s first advent into the world.

We read in Luke’s Gospel, chapter 2, verses 8-14:

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’

Luke 2:9-14, NKJV

We have so many portraits of Jesus throughout the galleries of the world. As a result, there is much confusion, not only about what He looked like, but also about who He really was and is.

God the Father intended for a lost world to know for sure exactly who His Son is and why He came to earth. I fear that all too many over the world hold conflicting images of the Christ; all too often they are pressed forward by those who would have Jesus squeezed into that of a philosopher or a politician. God is not pleased with those who misrepresent who Jesus is. We read the true answer about the real Jesus in Matthew 1:18-21 where the angel Gabriel appears to Joseph, a godly man engaged to be married to the virgin Mary, reassuring him that he should proceed with the marriage, despite Mary’s pregnancy: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (NKJV)

Most of us are accustomed to referring to our Savior as Jesus Christ, which is truly His full name. Actually Jesus is His name, whereas CHRIST is His title. When Jesus is called Christ, He is being called the Messiah. The name comes from the Greek Christos, which literally means “anointed.” There are places in the Bible where Jesus is referred to as “the anointed One.” So when we translate the name and the title into English we come up with “Jesus Messiah.” In so doing we are making a confession of faith that Jesus is the long-awaited anointed One, the Savior who would redeem His people.

The second most frequent title for Jesus in our New Testament is LORD. This title is so important to the Biblical understanding of Jesus that it became the integral part of the early Christian creed. Their simple statement of the creed was “Jesus is Lord!” They not only chanted this in their celebrations of worship, but it was their greeting of celebration when one believer met another believer. The title LORD is the most exalted designation ever conferred on Jesus.

Another title for Jesus is SON OF MAN. In the fifth century AD, when the Christian Church sought to find a formula for calling attention to both the full deity of our Lord Jesus Christ and His full humanity, they settled on the term homo vere deus (Son of God, Son of Man). This title is used frequently in our New Testament, occurring 84 times–81 of which are in the four Gospels. And, interestingly enough, in almost every single case in the Gospels it is used by Jesus to describe Himself.

Why did Jesus use the title “Son of Man” to describe Himself?

Was it merely out of humility, shunning more exalted titles and choosing Son of Man to identify with lowly mankind? Considering this further, not likely was it mere humility, though He was humble; I think Jesus had in mind those references in the prophecies of Daniel and Ezekiel to the Son of Man where in Heaven He appears as the ancient of days and is given dominion, honor and glory of the Kingdom, where all peoples, nations and languages praise and serve Him. Also in Daniel 7:14 we read that “He was given authority, honor, and royal power over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey Him. His rule is eternal–it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.” (NLT)

Finally, I want to mention the title of Jesus known as THE LOGOS. It is true that this is rarely used to describe Jesus, but we find it prominently in John’s Gospel where we read in our Greek New Testament that In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the logos was with God and the logos was God (John 1:1). Early Christian scholars made much of this title during the first three centuries of the Church’s development. It became the dominant concept by which the doctrine of Jesus caught on with thinking believers as well and with common minds and hearts. Great minds, such as Alexandria of Antioch, poured themselves into the study of the meaning of this title–The Divine-human Logos! Perhaps this is due to the fact that the term itself was already a loaded expression–one pregnant with meaning against the background of the rising Greek philosophy.

The common meaning of the term Logos is simply “word, thought, or concept.” But the term in early Christendom required the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the heart of one of Christ’s chosen apostles to give Logos the exalted meaning that it would become to all sincere Christian believers. And to this day we catch its meaning and rejoice in knowing the divine Logos lives in our hearts and will live there forever.

During this advent season, we are calling attention to the titles of Jesus and asking all true believers to pray for a deeper understanding of the reality of Christ’s presence and power in their lives. How we should be praising God for emptying Heaven of His Only Begotten Son and sacrificing Him to a shameful, painful, bloody crucifixion here on earth to save us from our sins and to prepare a place for us where we may live with Christ forever.

Little wonder that our salvation through Jesus Christ is called “Amazing Grace!” It means undeserved forgiveness, salvation, deliverance, freedom, redemption!”

As believers may we pray for spiritual renewal in our hearts and minds throughout this special season! And let us pray for unbelievers to make up their minds that only through believing in Jesus as the Son of God who died for their sins and was raised from the dead can they ever be saved.

May this advent season bring revival to the believer and salvation to the lost!

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