Advent 3 Midweek 2022 (Mt 3)

Photo by Miryam León on Unsplash

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᛭ INI ᛭

The Lord shows up. That’s Advent. “He comes.” The Lord Jesus comes. That’s what the true God does. He comes to His people. He shows up to be with His people. He comes because He is their God and they are His people. And He comes with His name!

THE LORD JESUS COMES WITH HIS NAME TO SAVE.

“O Lord, save me by Your name,” the Psalmist says, “and declare me innocent by Your might.” We should expect that the Lord’s name saves. His name means, “Yahweh is salvation” or “Yahweh saves.” “You will call His name Jesus,” the angel told Joseph. The LORD who saved His people of Israel “was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary” in Bethlehem and named Jesus “because He will save His people from their sins.”

The Lord Jesus comes with His name to save also means that He reveals His name, too. It is “the name that is above every name,” Paul says, “so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow.” (This is why there’s an ancient practice of bowing the head whenever Jesus’ name is spoken.) But I don’t mean that He just shows up and says, “Hi! My Name is Jesus.” No, Jesus reveals the whole name of God by His coming “to the Jordon to John to be baptized by him.”

At the Jordan we see who God is. He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is revealed to us clearly at the Baptism of Jesus, and it is also revealed to us clearly at our own Baptism when we were baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” At the Baptism of Jesus we see and believe that the God of the Bible is One God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that is, the Holy Trinity. His Name, who He is, is revealed at Baptism.

In Baptism we see that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit saves us. The Son is beloved by the Father because He came, conceived by the Holy Spirit and anointed with the Holy Spirit, to “fulfill all righteousness,” to save sinners from their sins. He came to bear our sins, to bear them to His cross where He would die for them. The Baptism of Jesus doesn’t just reveal God’s Triune name (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), but it shows us that God gives His name.

The Lord Jesus comes with His name to save also means that He gives and delivers His name. That also happens at Holy Baptism. In Holy Baptism we were marked with God’s name, given His name through the water and the word. The Baptism of Jesus is a picture of what Baptism does for you when we are baptized “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” as Jesus instituted it in Matthew 28. Baptized “in” means baptized into, which means we have God’s name, He’s claimed us as His own, that He’s given His name to us.

(He gave His name to the Israelites, too, through the Benediction we now use at the end of church when there’s Communion: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” “THE LORD” is spoken three times—Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

Anyway, why does God, why does the Lord Jesus give His name to His people? Well, the Second Commandment makes that pretty clear. “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God. What does this mean? We fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie or deceive by His name, but call upon it every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.” We can put this another way. In Psalm 50 the Lord says, “Call up Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” He gives us His name so that we use it in prayer in our time of need, and He’ll save us!

But what we do with God’s name instead? Well, all sorts of other things. We use it to curse, to damn things or people. We use it to swear to the truth of tall tales, exaggerated stories, or half truths. We don’t use it for the benefit of the Gospel or our neighbor. We’re indifferent in prayer. We neglect His Word—more on that next week—and so we can’t actually talk accurately about who God is. Our life is characterized more by complaining and worry rather than praise and thanksgiving. We’d rather talk about “god” rather than using the names He reveals to us: Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.

“The LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” (Just look at that guy from Leviticus 24…) “The wages of sin is death.” You and I deserve death and hell for how we use, misuse, or don’t use the name of God that He gifted to us in Holy Baptism.

This is exactly why the Lord shows up. Why it’s Advent. “He comes.” The Lord Jesus comes. That’s what the true God does. He comes to His people. He shows up to be with His people. He comes because He is their God and they are His people. And He comes with His name! That’s how He marks us as His people and He our God.

THE LORD JESUS COMES WITH HIS NAME TO SAVE.

That means He also saves us from the misuse of His name. He makes us holy with His name in Baptism. He gifted His name to us to call upon Him. We don’t need to be afraid to use it. Fearing His name won’t make up for our past misuse. He redeems us from our misuse. Forgives it. We don’t have to go to our works to make use of it properly. We don’t have to think, “Well, I just misused it, so how I can I just turn around and use it the right way? That doesn’t seem right.” Well, the misuse wasn’t right. But how can an another misuse by not using it make up for the previous misuses? (It won’t!) “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

The Lord who says, “The LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” Also says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me.” So, take Him up on the offer! “Pray, praise, give thanks!” Pray a fervent Our Father. “Pray without ceasing.” Use the Congregation at prayer. “Everything,”—even you!—”is made holy through the word of God and prayer.” Fumble through prayer. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness for we don’t know what to pray for as we ought.”

The Lord shows up. That’s Advent. “He comes.” The Lord Jesus comes. That’s what the true God does. He comes to His people. He shows up to be with His people. He comes because He is their God and they are His people. And He comes with His name!

THE LORD JESUS COMES WITH HIS NAME TO SAVE.

He comes to redeem. To reveal His name to you, to give His name to you, to save you by His name. As it is written, “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2) “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4) “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Yahweh, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2)

᛭ INI ᛭

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