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The human name of God

Luke 2:21

Pastor David Ernst

Circumcision and naming of Jesus
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

right-click to download MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Dec 31, 2017 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

According to the custom of the Jews and the law of Moses, eight days after his birth, a man of Israel was circumcised and received his name to be part of the people of God. The first day of January in our common calendar, the first day of the new year, is eight days after December 24. So, to begin the new year, we remember the circumcision and appointment of Jesus.

We find our reading of the Old Testament in the book of Joshua (Joshua 24: 14-24). Joshua is the original form of the name of Jesus. Both Joshua, the Hebrew form, and Jesus, the Greek form, mean "The Lord saves us" or "The Lord is my Savior." Both incorporate the proper name of God in the Old Testament. This name is translated in the Reina-Valera Bible as "Jehovah" and in other Spanish translations as "The Lord". In Hebrew, this name consists of four consonants without vowels, JHVH or YHWH. Nowadays no one knows the pronunciation because the Jews stopped pronouncing it out loud to avoid misusing the name of God. When they read the Scriptures out loud, they used the word, "Adonai," which means "The Lord." Jehovah is a mixture of the four consonants and the vowels of Adonai.

The proper name of God in the Old Testament means "He who is, was and is to come", but without distinction between the verbs. God is, in the past, the present and the future, in the same moment. He has no beginning or end. What does it mean, God is eternal, and only God is eternal. When Moses heard the voice of God from the burning bush, and God sent him to Egypt to liberate the people of Israel, Moses asked him, "Behold, I come to the children of Israel, and I say to them, The God of your fathers he has sent me to you; if they ask me: What is his name? What will I answer? And God answered Moses: I AM WHO I AM. And he said: Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel: I AM has sent me to you "(Exodus 3: 13-14). And when the Pharisees said to Jesus, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham? Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am" (John 8: 57-58). That is, Jesus identified Himself as God.

Old Testament believers received the promise of a Savior, as St. Paul says in Galatians 3:16, "The promises were made to Abraham, and to his seed. It does not say: And to the seeds, as of many; but as one: And to your seed, which is Christ. " However, the believers of the Old Testament did not know the human name of Savior, only God the Father as Jehovah.

How many men in Venezuela are called Jesus? It is a common name, also at that time it was a common name. Because Joshua was a hero of the people of Israel. But, we know Jesus of Nazareth, born of the Virgin Mary, who grew up as the son of Joseph and Mary, as the Christ or the Savior. There is more, Jesus of Nazareth is the same Jehovah, He who is, was and is to come.

We pray in the name of Jesus because Jesus has not commanded the Father to ask all things in His name. Jesus is the only mediator between men and God because of His sacrifice on the cross. We were condemned by the Law of God, but Jesus Christ paid the price of our sins with His blood.

As Joshua said to the people of Israel: "Now therefore, fear the Lord, and serve Him with integrity and in truth; and remove from your midst the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river, and in Egypt; and serve Jehovah. Many people at that time believed in a Creator of the world, a Supreme Being. Because they saw the creation, the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees and all the living beings and that they should believe in a Creator. But, they thought the Supreme Being had no interest in the lives of mortals. Then, they prayed to several mediators, gods between men and the Creator.

Today, many people say they believe in the Triune God, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. But, this God is so far from us. We are going to pray to the Virgin, as they say in Latin America, "What son does not listen to his mother?" Or let us pray to the saints. This is against the Bible that says there is only one name given to men for salvation and for prayer: Jesus Christ.

Today we give thanks for this human name of God, in what we pray to the Father and in what we have the promise of eternal life and the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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