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, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:6.
The name Jesus is an awesome name! In Hebrew, Jesus is Yeshua or Joshua. His name means to deliver and to rescue. Joshua delivered the children of Israel after Moses died and brought them into the Promised Land. Jesus delivered humankind from our sin and promises us eternal life in the new earth.
Overall, the story of Jesus’ birth is an exciting one! The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, a young teenager and told her that she would have a child. As impossible as it seemed, Mary believed the angel. Would you or I have believed Gabriel? I think not! Jesus rescued an elderly couple even before he was born. Read on!
Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, a considerably older woman. As soon as Elizabeth saw her younger cousin Mary, the baby in her womb jumped and Elizabeth started to pronounce a blessing upon Mary. Then when Mary told her the story of Gabriel’s visit they both rejoiced. Not only did Mary receive the gift of baby Jesus, but so did Elizabeth and the entire world. Even before he was born, Jesus delivered Zacharias and Elizabeth out of childlessness. This couple had a son called John the Baptist in their old age!
John’s story is miraculous. So his parents were old and totally committed to serving the Lord. We often think, and are even taught, that if we dedicate our lives fully to God, that everything we want and desire will be at our finger tips. This did not seem to be the case for Zacharias and Elizabeth. For their part, it seemed, they had given up on ever having children and were content to simply serve God with all their hearts.
Contentment is the operative word here. They were content. Content with being without their hearts’ desires even after they were serving God. That’s deep! Our God is full of love and surprises!
On the day that it was Zacharias’ turn to officiate in the temple (apparently it took years for this to happen) the angel Gabriel also appeared and told him that he and Elizabeth would have a son. He even told him his son’s name. It was not a name that was used in his family. Zacharias could not and did not believe it! Gabriel said for his unbelief he would be unable to speak until his son was born.
His not being able to speak was enough to convince Elizabeth that the birth deemed impossible, improbable…WOULD HAPPEN just as the Gabriel said.
John the Baptist, Zacharias and Elizabeth’s son heralded the birth of Jesus. It is interesting that John was born a little before Christ and was actually a contemporary of Christ. If we follow scripture, then we may have thought that this forerunner would have been an older, gray haired old man. Instead John was a young and powerful speaker who was raised on locusts and honey and spoke out against the injustices of the time. He openly condemned Herod and his relationship with Herodias, his brother’s wife and ended up dying quite young.
At the name of Jesus, deliverance came to the world. At the birth of Jesus, deliverance from childlessness came to Zacharias and Elizabeth. Imagine a God that comes to earth in the form of a baby. He is the Deliver, the Rescuer, but not in the form that anyone envisioned. So what’s in a name? Everything!
At the end of time, at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.