Psalm 24 intones, “who is this king of glory?” And then answers with a resounding, “The Lord of hosts, He is the king of Glory.”
This morning, as we continue celebrate the birth of Christ I want to briefly look at the infant in the manger and see his name and recognize just who is this king of Glory through looking at seven identifications of the baby in the manger in answer to the question: “Who is this king of glory?”
We begin with the name that Gabriel commanded he be given before He was even in the womb.
In the gospel of Luke we read…
“ Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus . ” ( Luke 1:26–31 , NAS)
Afterward Gabriel in turn spoke to Joseph and he commanded that man saying, ““ She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” ” ( Matthew 1:21 , NAS)
When Gabriel first speaks to Mary he calls her “Favored one” That is, “One who has received much grace!” As she pondered the greeting his explanation concludes that she will name Him Jesus.
And coming to Joseph the explanation for the name Jesus is again given, “For he shall save his people from their sins.” And this because the name Jesus, Or in the Hebrew Jehoshua means “Jehovah is salvation [or] Jehova, my salvation; Savior.” 1 The very name of Jesus means that God is my savior.
As Mary pondered how she received much grace the angels answer to her is, “Name your son ‘God is my savior’.” and Joseph is told Name Him, “God is my Savior” Because “He [Jesus] will save His people from their sins.”
The very name given to the infant in the manger tied to it’s reason is evidence that Jesus the baby in the Manger is the God who saves.
He is known as Jesus Christ. But Christ is so much more than a last name. Daniel 9:25-26 contains the first use of the term “Messiah” in the Old Testament. It is embedded in a complicated and amazingly precise prophecy of the timing of Jesus’ first coming and of his subsequent death on the cross bridging ultimately to the destruction of Satan.
““ So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. ” ( Daniel 9:25–26 , NAS)
The Hebrew word Messiah is proclaimed in Greek as “Christ” to the shepherds in Luke’s second chapter,
“ In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. ” ( Luke 2:8–11 , NAS)
More than fifty times He is named either Messiah or Christ in the gospels. The most notable of all is Simon Peter’s declaration in Matthew 16:16 that “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Either way the name means “The anointed one.” The one selected by God to lead and to guide Israel – the King, or as the Angel’s said, “Christ, the Lord.”
His name is Jesus, the Christ. But perhaps no greater clarity is given than that of both Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23 which calls him Emmanuel. There is no need to explain it for we have sung I many times and we have celebrated it time and again but above all he is, as Matthew states it, “God With Us.”
Perhaps the most memorable sequence of the old testament is spurred on in my mind by a portion from Handel’s Messiah taking as it’s principle text Isaiah 9:6:
“ For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. ” ( Isaiah 9:6 , NAS)
The memorable titles taken from that passage form the final four identifiers this morning for the baby in the manger.
Perhaps unfortunately separated by a pause in Handel’s Messiah, he is not merely to be wonderful, nor merely to be a counselor but a wonderful counselor is he. Unfailing in depth of wisdom, having no weakness in grasp of all knowledge, knowing the hearts and minds of both men and God; He alone is the wonderful counselor.
The word wonderful stems from the miraculous and counselor is he who advises, plans and consults with us. Blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ who is our counselor. He bridges the divide between God and men and advises us to draw near to the Almighty in both fear and trembling whereupon God himself draws near to us in love, grace, mercy and sweet sweet forgiveness.
The second name of the baby in the manger listed is for me among them all the most significant. It is name which shreds away the curtains and opens our eyes to the light of His glory. Lest there be any question regarding the full deity of Jesus of whom we’re told in Philippians, “ For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, ” ( Colossians 2:9 , NAS)
The baby in the manger is no mere prophet, no mere king, no mere man – He is the Mighty God. “ to call the Messiah the “Mighty God” is tantamount to identifying the miracle child…as Yahweh Himself.” 2
As Jesus prayed in his great high-priestly prayer in John 17 and as he stated in John 10:30, He and the Father are one. We have here the divine mystery of the trinity and it goes beyond our comprehension to fully understand it. We have not one God who only appears to be Father, Son and Spirit. But we have one God who is Father, Son and Spirit distinctly three and yet specifically one. The inestimable glory of Christ is that in a single human body, in a single location on earth, at a distinct point of time: God became man and dwelt among us.
The term “everlasting father” also points to ownership and identity from the standpoint that Jesus is the master of all eternity.
“ Before all time, before the world was created, the coming Messiah eternally existed, and He Himself is source of all that now is.
Here again we have a title that uncompromisingly affirms the full deity of the Child-Son who was to be born. The deity of the Messiah, the Christ sent by God, is so clearly taught that only those who [are] willfully ignorant could deny it.” 3
And the great glory of the baby in the manger is that we, as John says, “Beheld his glory” (John 1:14)
The Prince of Peace
Finally the seventh of all the terms we look at this morning is the last of Isaiah’s titles in Isaiah 9:6 Prince of peace.
Peace. True peace is coming. Our Lord Jesus Christ has given us peace not as the world gives (John passage) but there is a greater peace coming. The peace of Christ, the forever peace that God has promised to usher in the government of peace prophesied by Isaiah will be a peace indeed but it will be like unto the peace after the storm.
Every year it’s the same as winter gives way to the early warmings of spring and thunderstorms roll across the land sometimes bringing damaging winds, hail even tornadoes. While the storm breaks upon us there is chaos, noise and uncertainty – but after the storm dissipates the clouds break, the wind dies and the steady dripping of water off of the roofs and trees gives way to birds singing and a hushed peace of joy at having survived the storm intact.
In the same way the future coming of our Lord will break upon this earth like the mightiest of thunderstorms with all of the chaos, noise and judgment of the Mighty God’s wrath. But afterward the prince will sheath his sword and take his seat upon the throne and we who have been purchased by his blood will be ushered into the peace that he has prepared for us and we with stunned hearts and swelling love will bow before His throne and shout:
HOLY! HOLY! HOLY! Is the lamb who was slain and WORTHY! WORTHY! WORTHY! Are you our Lord and our God to receive Honor and Glory and endless praise!
1Stelman Smith and Judson Cornwall, The Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible Names (North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos, 1998), 131.
2 Larry Richards, Every Name of God in the Bible, Everything in the Bible series (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, 2001), 101.
3 Larry Richards, Every Name of God in the Bible, Everything in the Bible series (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, 2001), 101-02.