Does Jesus Know My Name?
"For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, who had brought many children into glory, to perfect the author of their salvation, by his passion. For both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one. For which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: I will declare thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the church will I praise thee. And again: I will put my trust in him. And again: Behold I and my children, whom God hath given me. Therefore because the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner hath been partaker of the same: that, through death, he might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil: And might deliver them, who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to servitude. For no where doth he take hold of the angels: but of the seed of Abraham he taketh hold. Wherefore it behoved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful priest before God, that he might be a propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that, wherein he himself hath suffered and been tempted, he is able to succour them also that are tempted." (Hebrews 2:10-18)
In The Old Testament we see prophecy after prophecy of God coming to earth as man to save us from our sins:
Messiah would be born of a woman. Genesis 3:15
Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2
Messiah would be born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14
Messiah would come from the line of Abraham. Genesis 12:3 ,Genesis 22:18
Messiah would be a descendant of Isaac. Genesis 17:19, Genesis 21:12
Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob. Numbers 24:17
Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. Genesis 49:10
Messiah would be heir to King David's throne. 2 Samuel 7:12-13, Isaiah 9:7
Messiah's throne will be anointed and eternal. Psalm 45:6-7, Daniel 2:44
Messiah would be called Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
Messiah would spend a season in Egypt. Hosea 11:1
A massacre of children would happen at Messiah's birthplace. Jeremiah 31:15
A messenger would prepare the way for Messiah. Isaiah 40:3-5
Messiah would be rejected by his own people. Psalm 69:8, Isaiah 53:3
Messiah would be a prophet. Deuteronomy 18:15
Messiah would be preceded by Elijah. Malachi 4:5-6
Messiah would be declared the Son of God. Psalm 2:7
Messiah would be called a Nazarene. Isaiah 11:1
Messiah would bring light to Galilee. Isaiah 9:1-2
Messiah would speak in parables. Psalm 78:2-4, Isaiah 6:9-10
Messiah would be sent to heal the brokenhearted. Isaiah 61:1-2
Messiah would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Psalm 110:4
Messiah would be called King. Psalm 2:6, Zechariah 9:9
Messiah would be praised by little children. Psalm 8:2 25
Messiah would be betrayed. Psalm 41:9, Zechariah 11:12-13
Messiah's price money would be used to buy a potter's field. Zechariah 11:12-13
Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin. Isaiah 53:5-12
There are so many more. Some scholars would say that there are at least 300 references to the Messiah in the Old Testament!
These scripture reference about the Messiah came from the past. Later, we see God coming to Earth as Man in the New Testament. We see:
A decree from Caesar Augustus.
An angel appearing to Mary.
A virgin becoming pregnant.
An angel coming to Joseph in a dream.
A baby who will be called Immanuel.
A mysterious star in the east.
A group of magi showing up in Jerusalem.
Angels appearing to shepherds.
A trip to Bethlehem.
An inn that was full.
A stable that was available.
A babe wrapped in rags and placed in a feeding trough.
A star that led the magi to the right house in Bethlehem.
Gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
A dying king who tried to kill the baby.
A desperate journey to Egypt.
Another journey to Nazareth.
And think of what the Scripture says about this baby:
“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end. ” (Luke 1:32/1:32,33 DRB).
“And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name JESUS. For he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21).
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14).
What are the chances that all of those things that had to happen in exactly the right way would have happened? That a Roman emperor would issue a decree at just the right moment in history, when the Roman Peace, (Pax Romana), was in full force, when the world was yearning for deliverance, that angels would show up to a young man and a young woman, that they would believe the angels, that the virgin would become pregnant, that Joseph would decide not to divorce her, that the star would shine in the east, that the wise men would travel hundreds of miles seeking the baby, and all of it would finally focus on a stable outside an inn in the little town of Bethlehem,where the most incredible event in history took place.
The Incarnation is one of the central doctrines of the Catholic Church! It is a central miracle that God became Man. Every prophecy, In the past, prepared the way for this, the miracle of God coming in the flesh prepares the way for other miracles, or was a result of all other miracles!
Why would God do something like this?
Why would God ever become a man?
Why would the eternal God ever come down to this tiny planet we call Earth whizzing through space, one speck of matter compared to the many other planets in the Universe , one planet in a corner of the Milky Way, one of millions and millions of galaxies? Why would God do a thing like that? Why would he leave heaven to come to place like this?
I. He Came That He Might Lead Many Sons to Glory.
The first answer is given in verse 10 of Hebrews chapter 2 . “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, who had brought many children into glory, to perfect the author of their salvation, by his passion.” The whole earthly life of Jesus is summed up in one phrase. He was made “perfect through His passion. that is his suffering” The word can also mean complete. But wasn’t Jesus perfect when he was born in the manger? And didn’t he live a sinless life? And wasn’t his death the death of an innocent man? Yes. He was morally perfect. That is one kind of perfection or completion.
But there is another kind of perfection or completion. It is that which comes only by experience. Jesus entered fully into the sufferings of this world and emerged victorious over them. He was completed in his experience on the earth by the things he suffered. That is why he may be called the “Author” of our salvation. The word Author, in the Greek language can also mean pioneer or trailblazer. "one that takes the lead in any thing and thus affords an example, a predecessor in a matter, a pioneer" (Strong's Concordance)
He came and suffered on this sin-cursed planet so that by virtue of his sinless life and death, he might blaze the trail for us back to God.
Christ came to blaze the trail so we might follow him on to glory. But the trail is marked with suffering, with tears, with rejection, and it leads to the cross. And anyone who follows Jesus is going to end up where he ended up–outside Jerusalem on a hill shaped like a skull. He is not just leading us to heaven. He is leading us to glory. There is glory at the end of the Christian life. Jesus came from heaven so we might follow him in suffering and like him be made complete through suffering and in the end reach the prize of the glory set before us.
And that explains so much that happens to us. What is God doing in your life and in mine? He is putting us through the lessons of Grace in the School of Suffering. School starts the moment we trust Christ and ends the day we die. How will we ever pass the test and win the degree? By keeping our eyes on Jesus. By following his commandments, by being under the Authority and the Guidance of His Church, His Body. He’s the valedictorian of the class. He never failed a test. He blazed the trail through the School of Suffering that we might follow in his path. He is leading us to glory.
There’s a second reason given in Chapter 2: 11-13.
II. He Came That He Might Be One of Us.
“For both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one. For which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: I will declare thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the church will I praise thee. And again: I will put my trust in him. And again: Behold I and my children, whom God hath given me.’” (vs. 11-13).
Suppose a man went outside one night and looked at the stars. Could he know there is a God? If he went to the Grand Canyon and saw its beauty and then traveled to Yosemite and see its splendor, if he visited the Niagara Falls and then walked among the redwoods, could he be sure there is a God? The answer is yes. If a man looked at nature and saw the intricate design and pattern of creation, he could know for certain this could not happen by chance. It must have happened by design. A man could by careful study conclude there is a God.
How much could he know about God simply by studying nature? He would know about his wisdom and his power. He would know about God’s infinite creative ability. But no one could discover the love of God simply by studying and analyzing His creation. He would never know if God even knew who He was or if God knew his name and cared about him. A God of the stars, moon and sun would be great and powerful, but he would never be personal.
And that explains why Jesus came to the earth. These verses tell us that we share a common humanity with Jesus. That is why he is not ashamed to call us brethren. God has come down where we live and has become one of us. He didn’t yell down “I love you,” and he didn’t mail us a letter we couldn’t read. He took on our nature, was born just as we are born, lived as we live, died as we die. So that when He says, “I love you,” we understand him for in Jesus Christ God has become one of us.
The third reason why God became a man is found in Hebrews 2:14-15.
III. He Came to Free Us From the Bondage of Death.
“Therefore because the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner hath been partaker of the same: that, through death, he might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil: And might deliver them, who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to servitude.” (vs. 14-15).
Down deep in the human heart there is a fear of death that Satan uses to keep us in a life time of servitude. Don’t mistake the point. Satan has no independent power to kill you or anyone else. He can do nothing without God’s permission. But he plays upon our fear of death to keep us in the chains of sin. That’s why the Bible says the sting of death is sin (1 Corinthians 15:56). When the Non Christians die, they die with their sins still upon them, like a heavy burden, a weight bearing them down to hell. They die miserable, angry, frustrated and fearful because they don’t know what to do with their sins.
The fear of death is the ultimate fear. Death lasts for a long, long time. So we drive a little faster past a cemetery, we take someone with us to the funeral home, and we hate going to funerals. Death scares us. We don’t know what’s out there. And we’re not sure we’re ready. That kind of fear is slavery. It is something every person has until they come to Jesus Christ. The glory of the cross is that it sets men free from the fear of death.
Sometimes I think about my own death. We all have to think about death now. I’m 54, my father died when he was 55, and I have friends who have died. People talk about living in “heart attack territory” and that sort of thing. And it’s true. Once you reach a certain age you can’t kid yourself about still being young. When my time comes, I’d just as soon die in my sleep peacefully. But I have no control over the time or the place or the manner of my death. All of my days are written in God’s book (Psalm 138:16 DRB/139:16). I will not die one second before the time my Father ordains for me.
Death is hard enough to face if you are a Catholic, but it is intolerable without the Lord. And yet every day countless thousands march into eternity with the leaden weight of sin hanging around their necks.
As I watched my mother die a friend of mine who was with me made the comment that “Death stinks.” Yes, it does, which is why the Bible says that death is the last enemy that shall be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26). Some people claim that death is a “natural” part of life. This is certainly true in the sense that death comes to all of us because we live in a fallen world. Where sin exists, death is indeed “natural.” But that is only part of the picture. Death reigns because of Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12-14). But now through Jesus Christ we have his word that “ Every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever.” (John 11:26).
By the way it takes more than just believing in Jesus. He also said that you must "live in him."
Are you ready for Death? Some will tell us that we as Catholic can not know if we are ready or not. Yet John the beloved says in his Epistle, "These things I write to you, that you may know that you have eternal life, you who believe in the name of the Son of God." (I John 5:13)
Someone may ask you someday, "If you were to die today, where would you go?" Do not be afraid of the question. I can know that I will go to heaven with some time more then likely in purgatory first. But I can know that today if I was to die. I would not be in Hell.
Now if you asked me If I was to die tomorrow, where would I go? I could not be sure. Tomorrow has not come yet. I can only know that today, this minute, if I am right with God. If your not sure. Then why not? We do not know the hour that the angel of death will come. We should always be prepared for death. For it can come on you when you least expect it.
IV. He Came to Free Us From Sin.
One last reason Jesus came to earth is mentioned in this text. He came to free us from sin. Look at verse 17. “Wherefore it behoved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful priest before God, that he might be a propitiation for the sins of the people.” You have the birth of Christ and the death of Christ in the same sentence. He was born as a man that he might be made like us. He died as a propitiation for the sins of the people. To propitiate means to turn away wrath by offering a gift. When Christ died, he voluntarily took upon himself the wrath of God that was meant for you and me. You see, there’s a principle that God is too Just to overlook sin. "God is a just judge, strong and patient: is he angry every day? Except you will be converted, he will brandish his sword: he hath bent his bow and made it ready. And in it he hath prepared the instruments of death, he hath made ready his arrows for them that burn." (Psalm 6:12-14)
If a man sins, he faces the wrath of God. God cannot wink at sin. Before I can have peace with God, my sin must be dealt with. There is no escape from this fact because God is 100% Just and will not clear the guilty. Any solution to the sin problem must face that fact.
But another Biblical principle tells me that God is merciful toward sinners. That means he loves me in spite of my sin. God so loved the world (John 3:16) God commendeth his charity towards us; because when as yet we were sinners, according to the time Christ died for us (Romans 5:8,9 ). Any solution to the sin problem that involves his mercy must also satisfy his Justice.
What gift can I bring to turn away his wrath?
Money? No, because all the silver and gold comes from him.
Animals? No, because he owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
My possessions? No, because he made all thiings.
What can I bring to turn away his wrath? Nothing. God knew that. He knew I didn’t have anything to offer, so he offered the gift of his one-and-only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for me. That’s the mercy of God. When Jesus died, his death on the cross was the perfect sacrifice for sin. That satisfied the justice of God. His anger was turned away by the offering of his own Son. The Father was propitiated.
The text goes on to say Jesus frees us from sin by helping us when we are tempted. “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (v. 18). The word help comes from two Greek words meaning “To run to give help when someone cries out.” That tells me what kind of God we have in heaven. Jesus walked in my shoes; he knows what I am going through. When I get discouraged and despondent and want to throw in the towel, I cry out and he comes running to help me.
This is the ultimate answer to the answer to the question, “Does Jesus know my name?” In John 10:14 Jesus said, “ I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me.” The last time I saw my father before he died, he was in his bed at home, full of morphine. I walked in and said, “Hi, Dad.” But he didn’t recognize me. He mumbled a bit but he didn’t know who he was talking to. He was so sick that he didn’t know I was in the room.
I know someone who never forgets my name and is never too busy for me. I know someone who knows me through and through, better than I know myself, who knows all my fears and dreams, my motives and hidden thoughts. I know someone who knows me intimately and loves me anyway. His name is Jesus. And when I cry out, he runs to my side.
Do you know him?
Do you know Jesus who came from heaven to live on earth? (Hebrews 2:9)
Do you know the One who is leading his children to glory? (Hebrews 2:10)
Do you know the One who frees us from the fear of death? (Hebrews 2:15)
Do you know Jesus whose death turns away the wrath of God? (Hebrews 2:17)
Do you know Jesus who runs to help us in the hour of our need? (Hebrews 2:18)
Here is the start of getting to know Him:
Realize that you are a sinner-
We inherited Adam’s sinful nature and are sinful from the moment of conception.
"Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned." (Romans 5:12)
What is the consequences of Sin?
"For the wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23A)
Believe on Jesus as the one who bore your sin, died in your place, was buried, and whom God resurrected.
"But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name." (John 1:12)
Repent of your sins.
Repentance is to have such a sorrow for something, that it makes you want to change your mind and your actions toward that thing.
"Be penitent, (repent) therefore, and be converted (turn back or change your mind), that your sins may be blotted out." (Acts 3:19)
You must desire and seek to be baptized.
"Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38)
Again, this is only the beginning to getting to know God. We need to continue in our relationship with Him.
You must be subject to Jesus' Holy Church
"Now you are the body of Christ, and members of member. And God indeed hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors; after that miracles; then the graces of healing, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches." (I Corinthians 12:27-28)
Hear the Word of God.
"And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it." (Luke 11:27-28)
Have a daily life of Prayer and Reading of Scriptures asking the Spirit to teach you truth from its pages with the guidance of the Church to keep you from error.
Let my prayer be directed as incense in thy sight; the lifting up of my hands, as evening sacrifice. (Psalms 140/141:2)
Thy words have I hidden in my heart, that I may not sin against thee. (Psalms 118/119:11)
Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my paths. (Psalms 118/119:105)
Keep your heart right with Christ and his Church through the sacrament of confession.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity. (I John 1:9)
Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much. (James 5:16)
Keep the Commandments of God
"If you love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)
Keep Holy the Lord's Day
"Six days shall you do work: in the seventh day is the sabbath, the rest holy to the Lord. Every one that shall do any work on this day, shall die."(Exodus 31:15)
How far will God go to reach a lost soul? Christmas reminds us that He went so far as to come to Earth as Christ Incarnate. To be like one of us, to live like one of us, and to die for all of us!
How far are you willing to go to know Jesus? Christmas should also remind us that we need to humble ourselves before Him. With the desire to be like Him, to live like Him, and to die like him.