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Psalm 2

 

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us." He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill." I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (ESV)

 

What He is Called

Friday After the Epiphany of our Lord

10 January 2014

Modern Americans generally eschew titles. When we hear someone intone all the titles of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, they are many and high. But, it strikes us as pompous to be a general in the British Army, an Admiral in the British Navy and an Air Marshal in the British Air Force. One has trouble conceiving how so many titles could possibly be deserved. The answer, of course, is that Prince Charles, as the child of a sovereign, is born to such honors and titles. And before we get too low and mighty about ourselves, we have to remember that we Americans have an aristocracy as well, just one organized on different bases; such as the aristocracy of shame that make up the orbits of Hollywood stardom, or our political aristocracy, as arrogant as ever the Sun King was. In any case, we just wonder how anyone can possibly merit a series of high-flown names or titles.

 

Scripture gives Jesus Christ a myriad of names and titles. But unlike British royalty or the mock aristocracy of the modern media, all His names and titles are well deserved and all apply to Him. None of them are mere pompous titles or honorific designations. Germanicus Caesar, who was a brilliant Roman general and in line to become Emperor after his father, Tiberius Caesar, often took his son, Gaius with him on campaign. He became a great favorite of the legions when his father had him dressed up in the legionaries' kit, including a small leather cuirass, skirt, and heavy marching boots, called the calices, in which the little boy marched up and down the camp like he owned the place. The legionaries soon gave little Gaius the affectionate title, "Little Boots." We know him by the same title. However, it no longer evokes affection but revulsion at his towering wickedness and horrible cruelty: "Caligula." There are no such errors of title in the high names attributed to our God and Savior Jesus Christ. For He is what He is called.

 

Some people refuse to attribute all the titles of the Christ to the one person, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. They argue that the same person cannot be Son of Man and Son of God, or God and Savior, as though all the biblical references to God must be attributed only to the Father. Islam, and other western theological heresies, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, all approximate this approach to the Bible. This approach was rejected and refuted by the faithful teachers of the Christian Church centuries before Mohammed was born or anyone even thought of the Watchtower Society. They were defending the biblical truth against the ancient Arians who argued this way beginning in the early fourth century of our era. The names and titles of Christ are intimately tied to our salvation. We call our God Savior because only the divine Son is able to provide a ransom of sufficient value to save us from sin, death, and the devil. They are titles of Christ for us. He doesn't get a title, like Prince Charles for honorific purposes, but that we might know what He has come for: for us. 

 

John Cassian

 

"The Apostle Paul says: 'Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ' (Tit 2:13). Here nothing is lacking as regards the titles of our Lord. You see here God, and the Savior, and Jesus, and Christ. But when you see all these titles, you see that they all belong to God. For you have heard of Him as God, but as Savior as well. You have heard of Him as God, but as Jesus as well. You have heard of Him as God, but as Christ as well. That which the divinity has joined and united together cannot be separated by this diversity of titles. For whichever you may seek for them all, you will find it there. The Savior is God, Jesus is God, Christ is God. In all of this which you hear, though the titles used are many, yet they belong to one person in power. For whereas the Savior is God, and Jesus is God, and Christ is God, it is easy to see that all these, though different appellations, are united as regards the majesty.

 

"When you hear quite plainly that one and the same person is called God in each case, you can surely clearly see that in all these cases there is but one God spoken of. And so you cannot any longer seek to make out a distinction of power from the different names given to the Lord, or to make a difference of person owing to a variety of titles. You cannot say, 'Christ was born of Mary, but God was not." For an Apostle declares that God was. You cannot say, 'Jesus was born of Mary but God was not.' For an Apostle testifies that God was. You cannot say, 'The Savior was born, but God was not.' For an Apostle supports the fact that God was. There is no way of escape for you. Whichever of the titles of the Lord you may take, He is God, of whom you speak. You have nothing to say, nothing to assert, nothing to invent in your wicked falsehood. You can in impious unbelief refuse to believe. You have nothing to deny in the matter of your blasphemy."

 

 

Prayer

Lord Jesus, You are our Savior and God. Grant us Your grace to believe You are what Your Word says. Amen.

 

For Juanita Duffala, that the Lord Jesus would continue to grant her strength and healing

 

For Joyce Burrows, that she would continue to remain in the hands of a gracious God

 

For Lucy Brda, that the Lord would grant her healing and a recovery of strength

 

For the members of the Board of Directors of the Luther Academy, meeting in Houston Friday and Saturday, that their travel would be safe and their meeting fruitful

 

For all those who are being attracted to the holy faith of the church and are being called out of the darkness of paganism, that the Holy Spirit might enlighten them

Art: CORREGGIO Nativity Holy Night (1528-30)

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