Grow Deep: Jesus, Name Above All - Edition Week 1

Week 1: December 23-29

Jesus, Name Above All: What’s In a Name?

Memory Verse: “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” Philippians 2:9-10

Every time I use the chisel I inherited from my dad, I remember how he hated it when my brothers and I would use it inappropriately to open a can of paint or to scrape rust off a bicycle. But I also remember how much he loved it when we used it correctly to delicately shape and carve a piece of wood. Our loving God has given us His own name to use for good purposes and not for evil.

I’ve found that most Christians are sensitized to the Second Commandment, “Do not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.” We’re quick to repent, when we fail to follow, and to apologize for cursing. In Martin Luther’s “What does this mean?” from the Small Catechism, we’re taught the correct way to use the power of God’s name in our daily lives: “... call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise and give thanks.” Few of us could call the White House and ask to speak with “The Donald.” But we do have a greater Friend who has given us His own name and invited us to call on Him anytime, anyplace, in any circumstance.

This week, with the voices of angels still ringing in our ears, we reflect on various names of our Father in heaven and His Son, our Lord Jesus. We reflect on the marvelous privilege we’ve been given to call upon His name just as the angels do! In this week of wonder and joy, let the names of our Lord guide our prayers and worship as we celebrate Christmas. God has come near, and we know Him by name!

Taking Jesus to the Streets: This week consider using the different names of Jesus in your personal greetings to friends and family. Sign your emails or Facebook posts with the name we study each day, “Follower of the Messiah, Son of David, Lamb of God,” etc., followed by your name. See what reactions you get, both from your friends and from yourself! Talk about what it means to know God on a first-name basis.

Sunday, December 23
Read: Matthew 1:18-25
Reflect: The Old Testament Book of Joshua recounts the miraculous way God delivered His people from their enemies through His servant Joshua. “Jesus” is the name “Joshua.” For what great victory was Jesus born? How does it feel to know that your greatest battle is already won? How will you call upon the name of Jesus today?

Monday, December 24
Read: John 1:35-42
Reflect: In Genesis 22, Abraham told his son, Isaac, that God would provide a lamb for their sacrifice. How interesting that Jesus was born surrounded by little lambs and was visited by shepherds! Why would John the Baptist point to Jesus and call Him, “Lamb of God”? What will be your prayer today to the Lamb of God?

Tuesday, December 25
Read: Isaiah 9:1-7
Reflect: The prophet Isaiah was writing to people in serious trouble. Notice the problems listed in the opening verses. God came near at Christmas. How do the names for God in verse 6 make God seem more near to you? What do you find comforting in calling on Him by those wonderful names? Which name will you call upon in your Christmas prayer today?

Wednesday, December 26
Read: Mark 8:27-30
Reflect: The name “Christ” means “Anointed One,” also translated “Messiah.” Prophets, priests and kings were all anointed ones in the Old Testament. What was Peter confessing about who Jesus is and what He came to do when he called Him “The Christ”? What would it be like to call upon Him today using His middle name also: “Jesus the Christ”?

Thursday, December 27
Read: Luke 18:35-43
Reflect: The genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3 makes it clear that He was descended from a great royal line, a family of kings, but the blind man is the first person in Luke’s Gospel to call Jesus the “Son of David.” He turns out to be the only one seeing clearly! What’s your favorite King David story? How is Jesus even greater? What’s your blind person’s prayer to the Son of David today?

Friday, December 28
Read: John 1:43-51
Reflect: Preconceived notions about people often blind us to their true nature. Nathanael met Jesus, saw the truth, and called Him by wondrous names. How has your Christmas celebration this week helped you to see Jesus more clearly? Begin your prayer today with the names Nathanael called upon.

Saturday, December 29
Read: Hebrews 2:10-18
Reflect: This is a great Christmas Scripture, emphasizing how Jesus became our “brother” (a word used three times). “Incarnation” means “in the flesh.” “Immanuel” means “God with us.” What comfort do you find in having the Lord God as your brother? Could you call upon Him today as you would talk to a brother?