Holy Name of Jesus (January 1, 2016)
4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
Today is the Eighth Day of Christmas. Yes, on our calendars is also New Year’s Day, but it is also the eighth day after Christmas, and typically a male Jewish child would have been circumcised on the eighth day after they were born. So today we come to this wonderful passage in Galatians – which refers back to the Christmas narrative.
I love the way Paul writes this — at the right time. I’ve done some reading and studying and I’ve seen that several claim that Jesus was born at just the right time in the ancient world. The Roman Empire was at its peak, meaning there were great roads and transportation systems, good systems of communication…even Caesar Augustus played into God’s timing by declaring a census. Jesus’ name means that God saves. Jesus came so that we might no longer be slaves of sin.
It really is amazing to me that God would love us so much – that he would make a way for us – to free us from the chains of sin and the law. He wants us to be His children – he doesn’t desire that anyone on this earth should perish, but to have life.
Even though this is a passage about Jesus, it is also very Trinitarian. Those of us who are the children of God (and God desires that all of us become his children, if we receive him) have the Spirit of Jesus living in our hearts and we can call God “Abba, Father.” This literally means “father, daddy.” Think of what it means that we can call God our daddy. He cares for us — he wants the best for us – he adopted us as his children when we received him — and now we are heirs — which means we have all the rights and privileges of children of God.
I think that is pretty awesome. He calls us to live for him and to live in the Spirit of Jesus — we wear the name of Jesus on our hearts as we begin this new year.