What child is this? Whose birthday are we celebrating?
You will find in your bulletin the 56 names and titles of Jesus. I enjoyed preparing my sermon by just going over these names and meditating on them. I hope you can take it home with you. I suggest you keep it in your Bible, go over each name and find its impact on your life.
It is Christmas and we are all going to give and receive gifts. It is a big hassle to shop for the right gift for each person. Each gift has to somehow relate to its owner. Each gift has to be appropriate to the person it is going to.
Today we are going to open the gifts that Baby Jesus received. Are they appropriate? Will Baby Jesus like them?
The first gift is GOLD.
What kind of a gift is that? Will the Baby like it or use it? Gold is a royal gift, a gift appropriate for kings. Let us go over our list and find if there are any royal titles. Yes, we find three such titles: Jesus is called “King of the Jews” and he is called “King of Kings” and “Prince of Peace.”
That day, when the Wise Men looked for the baby, they proclaimed him as king. In fact, the great King Herod was terrified of this “new baby king.” He butchered infant children thinking he would eliminate this newborn king.
From that day, till Palm Sunday, no one recognized Jesus as king. On Palm Sunday when he was riding on a donkey, they shouted "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (Luke 19:38)
A king that rides on a donkey and not a horse is a king who, according to the prophecies of the OT, is coming to bring peace. (Prince of Peace)
"Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt." (John 12:15, Zch. 9:9)
What kind of peace? Any king who enters the city on a donkey symbolized a peace maker. This peace is not a passive peace. Jesus offers an internal peace in each person who comes to him with the heavy burdens of life.
Another “king”, Pilate, was confused about the identity of Jesus and kept asking, “Who are you? Are you the king of the Jews?” (John 18:33)
“You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."(John 18:37)
Jesus answers wisely and gives the reason why this king was born.
“I came into the world to testify to the truth.”
Without his truth there is no real peace. Without knowing and experiencing His truth in our lives, there is no Christmas, and there is no Easter.
Lately we studied the “Triumph of the Lamb.” The imagery of Jesus in Revelation is just victorious. The King of Kings is ruling over the churches. All nations will see the presence of a triumphant lamb on throne. Please gaze at Jesus’ robe: “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”(Rev 19:16).
Jesus is not an ordinary king; he is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
The Second gift is FRANKINCENSE
Is this an appropriate gift for a baby? Is incense any good for a baby? It might even cause a hazard? Will the fire alarms of the stable go off?
Frankincense is a gift symbolizes that Jesus is the “High Priest.” According the Old Testament the priest is the one who mediates between God and humanity. He brings the offerings of the people to God. He is the only one who can enter the Holy of Holies in the temple to offer the prayers of his people.
Therefore, I will take two names from the list: “Mediator” and “High Priest.”
For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,(1 Tim2:5)
We do not have different roads to God. We have only one mediator between God and us, and that is Christ Jesus our Lord. All other earthly priests offered lambs or doves as a sacrifice for the sins of the people. Yet, this Priest, he offered Himself to save us from sin and death.
“Such a high priest meets our need-one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.” (Heb 7:26)
He not only took the place of the sacrifice, he became an advocate for us sitting on the right hand of God:
“The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven.”(Heb 8:1)
In fact, he called us to be a priestly nation; we are all called to be priests, dedicating our lives to God in service.
“Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.” (Heb 3:1)
This is an extraordinary High Priest. We can fix our thoughts on him. We fix our eyes on this King, Mediator, High Priest, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The Third gift is MYRRH
This is a most unusual gift that one can offer to a newborn baby. A gift that symbolizes…death. Can you imagine giving a newborn baby a gift card from a mortuary, or a funeral home? (Cypress Lawn, Colma). Myrrh was used to embalm dead bodies. my-ylnyru gu zm-synk This gift symbolizes that Jesus will die for our sins to give us salvation. Here are the names: Savior, Man of Sorrows, Lamb of God, Redeemer and the name Jesus (yashouh, savior).
The 1st and 2nd chapters of Matthew and Luke record the vent relating to the birth of Jesus. I am not sure anyone will preach from Matthew 2:16-18 verses. It is the story that I don’t want to read. It is the story of the massacre of the innocent children of Bethlehem. It was an order given by King Herod the lunatic.
Jesus was born in a world of violence. As if Jesus were born today. He was also killed in the most vicious way, hanging on the cross for hours. (Was born in a violent world, died in violent world.) His third gift, MYRRH was given to his parents, for him, for us, for the entire world to proclaim that this little child is not an ordinary child. He is our Savior, our Redeemer, he is a Man of Sorrows, he is the Lamb of God who paid the penalty of sin.
I will repeat what Jesus said when he faced the earthly king Pilate:
“…for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.”(John 18:37)
What is our response to this King?
Let me tell you the response of one person:
“The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ).” (John 1:41)
Take a look at the list again. Which name of Jesus speaks to your heart?
What gift are you going to offer him today?
Rev. Nerses Balabanian,
Calvary Armenian Congregational Church, San Francisco