Today’s devotional was written by beloved professor Dwight Pentecost (why could nor I have had a cool name like that?). Dr. P. – as he was called by everyone – was a biblical scholar extraordinaire, particularly on the gospels and on the subject of eschatology (last times teachings). He was also a long-time pastor of the church where I was on staff and was ordained (though he was not the lead pastor at the time of my service there). Dr. P. was a major influence on Chuck Swindoll – who was on the staff of the church with him a decade or so before I arrived there.
Call His Name Jesus
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS” (Luke 1:31, NKJV).
The angel Gabriel was sent to announce to a virgin, “you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son” who was in truth the eternal coexistent Son of the Highest (Luke 1:32). He was coming to earth in human form as the Son of Man. To emphasize His true humanity his parents were instructed, “you shall call His name Jesus” (Luke 1:31; Matthew 1:21). He was in fact both Son of God and Son of Man, undiminished deity and true humanity, God and man, but one person, God/man. The name “Jesus” stresses His humanity and His identity with the human race. He is Jesus.
Jesus spent thirty years in His father’s carpentry shop. He experienced work. He can identify with us in our work-a-day life. He understands what we face in that world. He is Jesus.
He knew what it was to be forsaken and rejected even by His “familiar friend.” He experienced the emotional stresses that we can experience. He understands our loneliness from experience. He is Jesus.
He knows what it is to be tested. He confronted the tempter in the wilderness who employed the three means at his disposal to test Jesus: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). So trying was the conflict that when it was over, “angels came and ministered to Him” (Matthew 4:11). He understands our need when we are tested and tempted and is able to provide help because of what He went through. He is Jesus.
We can say with assurance that there is no need we have, no test we endure, and no experience that comes to us that He does not understand. For as truly human, He has experienced them all. “We do not have a great High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted (tested) as we are” (Hebrews 4:15). He is Jesus.
There is added significance to the name Jesus, for it is the Greek counterpart of the Hebrew Joshua, the one who succeeded Moses and led Israel out of their forty-year wilderness experience into the rich blessings of their inheritance in the Land of Promise. Jesus, as another Joshua, will bring Israel into her covenanted land to enjoy its blessings. He is Jesus.
In order to provide salvation for sinners, the accumulated debt sin incurred must be paid in full. This required that either the guilty must pay their debt, or it must be paid on their behalf by a substitute. The substitute must be identified with those for whom He is a substitute. To meet this requirement the Son of God took to Himself true humanity so as to pay sin’s debt as one of us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Had there been no Jesus, there would have been no death to pay our debt. We have a gracious salvation offered to us because the Son of the Almighty became JESUS.
EXALT THE NAME OF JESUS