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The name of Jesus

By T. Ray Rachels

Christmas means many things — lights, trees, gifts, candles — but mainly it means Jesus. He’s the reason for the season. Forget that, and it’s just a holiday featuring Santa Claus.

Centuries before Jesus’ birth, the prophet Isaiah told of His coming:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end” (Isaiah 9:6,7, KJV).

These words are a message from God to people who needed a dream of something better than bondage, loneliness, isolation and defeat. Isaiah says that your disappointment in every earthly government and its leaders will be replaced by the confident word from God that His Son Jesus will come to set right all wrongs and give hope, that His rule will ultimately bring us together as one people.

“His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor”
In the early days of the automobile, Henry Ford went on a camping trip with a few friends. As they drove along, they came upon a man standing beside a disabled car and they stopped to see if they could be of some help.

“Do any of you know how to fix a Ford?” the man asked.

One of Ford’s friends pointed at him and said, “This old fellow knows something about Fords.”

Ford rolled up his sleeves and soon had the car running.

Thanking Ford, the man said as he listened to the motor, “It sounds better than it ever did.” Little did he know that the man who fixed his car was the man who designed it.

There are a hundred reasons and more why life breaks down. All of us at one time or another have found ourselves standing beside our troubles, wondering if anybody could help fix what’s wrong. There is Someone — both wonderful and a wise Counselor — in whose image you are made, and from whose wisdom you can draw. He is Jesus.

“The mighty God”
I was heading home on side streets recently and got caught in a traffic jam. Suddenly in the next block a gigantic gusher of water rose a hundred feet in the air. A fire hydrant had broken, and the underground pressure sent water geysers sailing up and bridge-like across the street, making a perfect arch. The sun’s rays cascaded through the mist and created a sensational rainbow.

So there I sat looking incredulously into a perfect rainbow water bridge over the middle of the next street. Cars ahead were turning to avoid the spray. I thought to myself, I’ve never ridden underneath a rainbow before and probably will never get another chance. I drove through and felt a surge of joy.

It is a cleansing, exhilarating moment when we see a positive expression of unleashed power, even in a broken fire hydrant. “The mighty God,” in His refreshing glory, always has a rainbow purposefully designed for those with faith enough to risk a spiritual drenching. It is by faith that we move into the wonders of God’s might and power.

Matthew Henry says that “as He has wisdom so He has strength, He is able to save to the utmost; and such is the work of the Mediator, that no less a power than the Mighty God could accomplish it.”

“The everlasting Father”
The Interpreter’s Bible says that it is Christ’s fatherly care of His people and tenderness toward them that is everlasting. His is a constant care for those who are His!

When my son Lance was 16, I remember him getting his feathers ruffled at the dinner table when I told him to count me out on one of his projects at school. He had missed deadlines, the work was long overdue, he seemed to care less, and by now that was my feeling, too.

“Why do you even expect me to help you at this late date, Lance?” I asked with some frustration. “You’ve goofed off for a whole semester, and now that the heat’s on you want somebody to come through for you.”

We talked some more, and then my son said to me, “I guess the only reason I’m asking is because you’re my dad.”

He could have given me a thousand other reasons that would not have worked, but his appeal hit home. What he needed from me was fatherly care and tenderness toward his needs, not a stubborn resistance.

Our Heavenly Father is perfect in His response of care and tenderness to us. Thankfully, He never shuts His ear to our requests. He is a Friend and Father with a love for us that neither time nor death can destroy.

“The Prince of Peace”
One of the 20th century’s most brilliant theologians, Karl Barth, was once asked what was the most profound theological truth he had ever learned.

“Jesus loves me, this I know,” answered Barth.

The questioner was astonished. “Do you mean to say that the deepest Bible truth you know is ‘Jesus loves me’?” he asked.

“No,” Barth replied. “This I know!”

Real peace comes to the person who has the boldness to see and believe that God has given a confirmation of heaven’s family ties to us through His Son Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

“For he is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14).

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NIV). This I know. The angel told Joseph that Mary would miraculously “give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

His name is something you can count on. His authority, wisdom, power, tenderness and peace are your promise.

T. Ray Rachels is superintendent of the Southern California District of the Assemblies of God.

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