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Common Name, Uncommon Savior

Description

What's so special about the name "Jesus?"

A statement of Christian belief, the Apostles' Creed is a brief catalog of the teachings the Apostles put forth. Breaking apart the creed segment by segment, the writers at Ignite Your Faith expound on the beliefs presented.  

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord (from the Apostles' Creed).

Have you ever had teachers whose names matched them perfectly? You know, his name is Mr. Smiley and he grins all the time. Or maybe her name is Ms. Crabb and she lives up to it with that deadly stare. Names can be kind of funny. Ever know a dentist named Dr. Payne?

Names can also mean a lot—a whole lot.

The Apostles' Creed says we believe in someone named Jesus. And the name matches him—God's Son—perfectly.

At the time the Son of God was born, the name "Jesus" really didn't seem that big of a deal. It was a cool enough name and did have great meaning behind it: "God is Salvation." It was also the Greek way to spell Joshua. And in those days, everybody knew the name Joshua pointed back to a famous Jewish war hero. All that made Jesus a pretty popular name. But that was pretty much it. Nothing all that special—just a common name for a Jewish boy.

It probably wasn't even the name Mary and Joseph would have picked for their son. If they'd followed the tradition of that time, he probably would have been named Joseph, after his earthly dad. But this wasn't to be. Before the baby's birth, an angel told Joseph in a dream: "Name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins" (CEV).

Suddenly, a common name received lasting, life-changing meaning. This particular Jesus would bring salvation to the world (John 3:16).

Romans 3:23 says: "Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God's glory" (NIRV). All of us need to be rescued from the wrong stuff that keeps us away from God. And while most of us have high values, we're usually not so great at applying them to our own lives. I value love, but I am not always very loving or kind. I believe in justice, but I know I can be unfair toward others. As hard as I try, I fail to be as good as I need to be.

This is why I desperately need Jesus—the God of Salvation—to rescue me from my sins. For all of my failures, Jesus forgives me and saves me from hell—eternal separation from God (Revelation 21: 6-8). As God in the flesh (John 1), he has the power to do just that, for me and for everyone.

He also has the power save us from those day-to-day sins that drag us down and hurt our ability to be a good friend to others. As the God of Salvation, Jesus can save us from hatred, bitterness and harmful anger. As we are obedient to him, Jesus can give us the power to love and forgive (1 John 3:11-18, Colossians 3:12-13).

Jesus is also called The Christ. When the Apostles said they believed in The Christ, they used the name that meant Messiah, Anointed One, or Promised One. All of the Old Testament is filled with a promise that one day someone would come and bring hope to a needy world (Isaiah 9:2-7). To hurting people who knew their needs, this promise was Very Good News. Jesus Christ is The One all the Old Testament promises point to; he is the Messiah. 

If Jesus really is the promised Savior and Messiah, how should it affect the way we live? The Apostles' Creed gives us the answer when it calls Jesus "Lord." In ancient times, "lord" was a title often given to a master, ruler or king. A lord was in charge and people owed him allegiance and obedience. Of course, human lords were flawed and made mistakes. Not so with Jesus Christ. We can trust him and follow him, knowing this perfect King loves us and wants the best for us.

So, let's get real practical. If Jesus really is our Lord, he is not one priority on a long list of many priorities. He is not merely a name at the top of the "to-do list" of life; he is The One Christians have always believed can make sense of all of life. The fact that Jesus Christ is Lord means we can look to him for direction and guidance.

Stop a moment and think about some area of your life where Jesus needs to have more influence. Ask him to come into that part of your life, and then do something to show you're really serious about committing this area to him. Now, think about those places where Jesus really is Lord. Thank him for helping you make decisions that please him and help you grow in your faith. And, most importantly, thank him for being both Lord and Savior of your life.

Written by Jerry and Grady Root

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