Holy Name of Jesus | January 1, 2019

Numbers 6:22-27  • Psalm 8  •  Galatians 4:4-7 • Luke 2:15-21

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.

Luke 2:15-21 New Living Translation (NLT)

Today we have a short passage that includes part of the traditional nativity narrative, but includes one extra verse. We pick up this narrative, just as the angels leave the shepherds in the field. The shepherds talk to each other and decide to go find the baby. I can only imagine the commotion that the shepherds cause as they head to Bethlehem to find the baby. The must have knocked on several doors to find the baby – and they finally find him. Almost as quickly as they come, they leave, but as they leave they tell the people that Jesus is born – the Savior of the world is born – the Messiah is here!

The people who heard the shepherd’s story were quite astonished and amazed. They shepherd’s excitedly hurried back to their fields – but they were praising God for what they had seen – what they had heard. The shepherds became the first proclaimers of the Gospel. Jesus is born – the Savior of the world.

Eight days later, his parents – who were Jewish – had Jesus circumcised. This would have probably been done locally rather than traveling the six miles to Jerusalem. That trip would have to wait. During the circumcision, the procedure was to name the baby. Joseph and Mary named him Jesus – which means “God saves.” This was the name that the angel told Joseph to name him. Matthew records the angel’s words this way:

“…And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:21

Today we remember that the baby born in Bethlehem was given the name Jesus – for He will save his people from their sins!

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