Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here’s an important Christmas message from Nancy Leigh DeMoss. You need a Savior.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: If I go and offer to help save you today, but you’re not drowning, or you’re not in a burning house, or you don’t have something you need to be saved from, you say, “Well, that’s nice of you to offer, but I don’t think I need any salvation today.” Jesus came to offer salvation to those of us who need a Savior—that’s all of us.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, December 5.

Who came to visit Jesus when he was first born? Shepherds and wise men, right? There are actually a couple of people who encountered the baby Jesus before the wise men showed up. Nancy will introduce us to these unsung Christmas characters in a few days as part of a new series called, The King’s Dedication.

Before she does, she has to set the stage in Luke 2.

Nancy: It’s definitely the Christmas season. The signs are everywhere. I have Christmas music playing in my home and Christmas lights up. If you’re like most people I know, this is a really busy time of year.

I got an email from a friend last week who said that every night for the next eleven nights she and her husband have some activity that they were involved in or that they have to participate in—several of those they’re hosting. It’s just a really busy time of year.

I think it’s important—it is something we want to do on Revive Our Hearts over these next days—to take time during this season to ponder; to take time to step away from the busyness and to meditate on what this is all about; to take time to ponder the reality of Christmas—the reason for the season and to meditate on the events of that first Christmas.

Over the next few weeks, we want to do that here on Revive Our Hearts. We want to look at several events that took place shortly after Jesus was born. We are getting ready to celebrate the birth of Christ. But the passage we’re going to be looking at contains some events that took place just after the birth of Christ.

This is going to be a familiar passage—some familiar accounts to most of us. Sometimes these familiar passages are easy for us to gloss over or to read them too quickly. We hear the Christmas story read over and over again—some of us since we were little children. It’s easy to just skip over those passages. But I want us to take some time on one of these passages in Luke 2. You can be turning there while I’m introducing this.

I want us to take some time to just savor, to soak in this passage in Luke chapter 2. We’re going to learn some important things about Jesus—who He is and why He came. We’re going to get some fresh glimpses of the Gospel—what it means, what it’s all about, and how we can receive Christ today as our Savior and Lord.

Throughout the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke, there are scenes that you remember. You see them in the crèches. You see them symbolized. We hear about them at Christmas. Remember how the angel appeared to Mary and said, “You’re going to have a child.”

Then we have the birth of Christ in Bethlehem and the angels who appear to the shepherds who are out in the fields. Remember then how the shepherds go to Bethlehem and see and worship the newborn Savior.

Then in Luke chapter 2, we come to verse 21. We have two scenes we’ll be looking at over the next few weeks. The first scene is in verse 21. That’s what we’re going to look at today. This scene takes place eight days after Jesus was born. The second scene starts in verse 22 and goes through verse 38. That scene takes place when Jesus is about six weeks old.

In the course of these two scenes, we’re going to be introduced to two godly servants of the Lord. One was a man; the other was a woman. These were two people who were on the scene to greet Jesus shortly after His birth and to welcome him here to earth, and we’re going to learn a lot from the lives of those two individuals.

Let me read the first scene beginning in verse 21 of Luke chapter 2. “And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”

That’s all we’re going to look at today and in the next session. I just want to take that one verse, Luke 2:21, and unpack it for us. As I’m preparing to record Revive Our Hearts, I like to take the passage I am preparing to teach and meditate on it. I mull over it. As I began to dwell on that verse, I realized there are several things this verse tells us about Jesus, and that’s what we’re going to look at today and in the next session.

  • It tells us about the humanity of Christ—the fact that He was fully human.
  • It tells us about the deity of Christ—the fact that He was fully God.
  • It tells us about the identity of Christ—who He was and why He was born.
  • It tells us about the humility of Christ. The humanity, the deity, the identity and the humility of Christ—the fact that God humbled Himself when Christ came to earth.

How do we get all of those things out of that verse? Let’s look first, at the humanity of Christ—the fact that He was fully human. According to this verse,

  • Jesus was conceived in the physical womb of a very physical young woman.
  • He was born as a baby in time and space.
  • He was circumcised at eight days.

This verse tells us things about Jesus that indicate that He was fully human.

  • He had a physical body. He took on a physical body. We read this throughout the Scripture. John chapter 1 tells us that the word of God became flesh and dwelt among us—fully human (see verse 14).
  • Galatians 4 tells us that God sent forth His Son born of a woman (verse 4). Fully human.
  • Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus was born in the likeness of men (verse 7). In Luke 2, five times He is called “a child,”—a human child. He had a human body. He experienced growth.
  • We’ll see later in Luke 2 that Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man (see verse 52).
  • He suffered physically.
  • He was physically crucified, and He physically died.
  • His body was physically buried, and His body was physically raised from the dead—the Son of God became fully human.

Now the humanity of Jesus is something that’s crucial to the Gospel. We read in Hebrews 2 that “since the children share in flesh and blood,” since we have flesh and blood bodies, physical bodies, Jesus "Himself likewise partook of the same things" (verse 14). He took on physical flesh and blood.

“He had to be made like His brothers,” Hebrews 2 tells us, “in every respect so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (verse 17).

We won’t go into all the meaning of that verse. There is a lot in there. But the Scripture is saying that in order for Jesus to become a sacrifice for our sins, in order for our sins to be forgiven, Jesus had to take on a physical body. He had to be made like one of us so that he could be a merciful and faithful high priest to plead our case before God. We see in this verse that Jesus was fully human. We see the humanity of Christ.

But right alongside the humanity of Christ—the fact that He was fully human, we also see the deity of Christ—that He was fully God. The deity of Christ. It’s seen in some of the details surrounding His birth. We see two evidences of Jesus’ deity in verse 21 of Luke 2.

It says, “And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus.” So far nothing unusual about that—that could have been said about any other newborn. So far nothing real unusual.

But then it goes on to say in this verse, that it was “the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” All of a sudden, you realize this is no ordinary baby. There’s something different about this child.

How do we see the deity of Christ in this verse? The fact that he was conceived in the womb is not so unusual. Isn’t every baby? Every baby is conceived in a womb. But this conception was different. He was conceived in the womb of a virgin. Now that’s supernatural. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. That’s supernatural. His birth was supernatural.

In the previous chapter, Luke 1, you remember how the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, who was a virgin. The angel said, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High” (verse 31-32).

“And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be [Why?], since I am a virgin?’” (verse 34). “I can’t have a child. I’ve never been intimate with a man. How can this be? It’s impossible!” is what she’s saying.

“And the angel answered her, (I’m in Luke 1:35,) ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.’” (verse 35).

When we read that this baby was conceived in a womb, this wasn’t just any ordinary conception. This baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin—that could only happen to the Son of God. This is no ordinary human birth. The fact that he was conceived in the womb of a virgin, points to His deity—the fact that He is God.

Then we read the fact that He was called Jesus. Luke 2:21 tells us, “The name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” Now parents often name their children or choose names for their children before their children are born. But they don’t generally pick a name for their child before the child is conceived.

But Jesus was named before he was even conceived. He’s God. This is no ordinary human that we’re talking about. The name for Jesus was not chosen by His mother. It wasn’t chosen by Joseph, his adopted father. Normally, it is the parents who would pick the name for the child. But Jesus’ name was chosen by whom? It was chosen by God and announced by the angel to Mary His mother.

In fact, Jesus was named centuries before He was born. Remember Isaiah 9:6, a verse we hear a lot during this season of the year? “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, His Father named Him. His Father was God. Jesus was God. “He will be called the Everlasting Father, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace.” We’re told, hundreds of years before He was born, who this child was—that He was God. He was one with the Father, which leads us to the identity of Christ.

We see this here in Luke chapter 2. We’ve seen His humanity. He was fully human. We’ve seen His deity. He was fully God. This was a supernatural birth. Then we see His identity.

Who was this baby born in Bethlehem 2,000-some years ago? Luke 2 tells us that he was called Jesus, the name that was given to him—revealed by the angel before he was conceived. He was called Jesus.

In Luke chapter 1, just the previous chapter, remember how the angel Gabriel came to Mary and said, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus” (verse 31). That’s what this passage is referring back to—that moment when the angel had told Mary, “Here is what you will name this child.”

The angel had also told Joseph—we don’t read that in Luke’s account, but we read it in Matthew’s account, chapter 1. The angel said to Joseph, “[Mary] will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins” (verse 21). 

The angel had told Mary, the mother, that the child was to be named Jesus and the angel had also told Joseph, the earthly adopted father, that the baby’s name was to be Jesus.

Now Jesus is the Greek form of a common Hebrew name. Do you know what that name is? Joshua, the name Joshua. Joshua was a popular boy’s name in those days. It still is today.

It was very popular in those days because all those Jewish moms and dads having children in those days remembered Joshua in the Old Testament. He was a military hero. He was a brave, courageous man. He was a deliverer, and people wanted to name their boys, “Joshua.” That was a popular name.

It’s a name that means, both in the Hebrew form, Joshua, and in the Greek form, Jesus, it means, “Jehovah is salvation.”  So while there were many Joshuas and little boys even named Jesus in Jesus’ day, the Old Testament Joshua pointed to one particular boy who would be born and named Jesus—the one who would be conceived in the womb of a virgin, the Son of God who would be named Jesus.

That Old Testament Joshua pointed us to Jesus, the Savior, the One who would come and deliver His people from their sins. That name, Jesus, tells us who this baby was and why He came to earth and what He came to do. He came to deliver us, to save us. Jehovah is salvation.

What did He come to save us from? The fact that we have a Savior is not precious to us unless we know we need to be saved from something. If I go and offer to help save you today, but you’re not drowning, or you’re not in a burning house, or you don’t have something you need to be saved from, you say, “Well, that’s nice of you to offer, but I don’t think I need any salvation today.”

Jesus came to offer salvation to those of us who needs a Savior—that’s all of us. We needed to be saved from our sin. We needed to be saved from the wrath of God. We needed to be saved from the judgment of God. Jesus was God's Savior, God’s lifeline, God’s life preserver, the Deliverer, the Savior, the One who came to save us from our sins.

That name of Jesus is a precious name, and I think those of us who have been around the things of God for a long time can tend to take it for granted. It just slips so easily off our lips. It’s something that I’ve always been exposed to. Since I was in the womb, my parents were talking about Jesus.

But as I was studying this passage, I found that God was reminding me afresh how precious that name is. Let me just mention four things about that name. First of all, the name Jesus is the source of salvation.

The book of Acts tells us that “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (verse 12). The name of Jesus is the only source of salvation.

Muhammad cannot save you. Buddha cannot save you. Confucius cannot save you. Your pastor or your priest cannot save you. Your denomination cannot save you. Your church membership cannot save you. Your Christian parents cannot save you.

There is only one name that can save you. That is the name of Jesus. “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

I talked this past week with a woman whose husband is in a horrible, sinful bondage right now. I’ve been meditating on this passage. I encouraged her, and I reminded her. I said, “Remember that Jesus came to save your husband from his sins.” The name of Jesus is the source of salvation.

Then the name of Jesus is supreme. It’s the name above all names. It’s the sovereign name. Philippians 2 tells us, “Therefore God has highly exalted [Jesus] and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (verse 9-10).

The name of Jesus cannot be compared with any other name. It can’t be compared with any other person in history. His name is above every name—above all earthly kings and rulers. His name is above the wealthiest, the brightest, and the most famous. His name is above all religious leaders, all political leaders, and all human leaders. His name is supreme above every name.

Then His name is strong and secure. His name is strong and secure. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower,” Proverbs 18 tells us. “The righteous man runs into it and is safe” (verse 10).

I don’t know what fears you may be facing at this time of year, but I want to tell you that the name of the Lord is a strong tower. It is your place of safety. It is your place of security, and you can run to His name and be safe and secure.

Finally, the name of Jesus is sweet. It’s our source of salvation. His name is supreme and sovereign. His name is strong and secure. But his name is sweet. I love that verse in the Song of Solomon that says, “Your name is like perfume poured out” (1:3).

Remember those words of that great hymn by John Newton.

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.
Dear name, the Rock on which I build,
My Shield and Hiding Place,
My never failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace!
Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
O Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.1

Let’s pray.

Father, we do want to lift up praise to You this day, praise for the name of Jesus. We give You thanks. We worship You for the name that is above every name.

Father, I pray that some listening today will believe and be saved as they run to the name of Jesus and place their trust in Him and Him alone. Lord, I pray for many listening who are in a place of hardship, a place of trials, and of struggling. May they run to the name of Jesus and find safety and security.

Lord, may all of us during this season worship and praise You for that sweet name, the name of Jesus. We pray in that name, amen.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She’s been unpacking a couple of names you hear all the time—Jesus and Savior. She’s been helping us understand how incredibly powerful those names really are.

Today’s program launches a new series called The King’s Dedication. It will introduce you to a moving event usually ignored by Christmas tradition. But listening to this message about the incredible promise of the Savior could become part of your holiday tradition.

You can order the series on CD or MP3 CD when you visit ReviveOurHearts.com. There are exciting things happening at Revive Our Hearts and exciting things ahead. Nancy’s here to explain.

Nancy: Leslie, I’m thinking of one listener who wrote to say that she came upon Revive Our Hearts at one point and now has become a daily listener. She expressed how thankful she is for the teaching on biblical womanhood and she said, “My friends have told me that I’m just stupid to think that way,” but Revive Our Hearts encourages her to serve her family as if she were serving Christ Himself. She concluded her note by saying, “Keep up the good work. It’s helping millions—I am sure.”

Our vision for 2008 is to speak to women just like her who want to serve God in uniquely feminine ways and who need encouragement in a culture that considers it foolish.

We are calling 2008, The Year of the True Woman. As we go into that year we need your help. We need your prayers, and we need your financial support. Nearly half of our annual donations arrive during the month of December. It’s those donations that will enable us to continue reaching out to hundreds of thousands of women across this country during 2008.

If God used this ministry to be a help in your walk with Christ, I want to encourage you to partner with us during this month. Help us to end the year on solid financial footing and to be ready to proclaim biblical truth to women in 2008.

This year some friends of the ministry have come together and said, “We’d like to extend a matching challenge to the Revive Our Hearts listeners.” Here’s how it works: Every dollar that you give to this ministry between now and December 31 will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to a cap of $450,000. That’s a significant challenge, but we’re asking the Lord to provide that amount and beyond to help us as we move into ’08.

Would you just take a moment and say, “Lord, do You want me to have a part in helping to meet that challenge?” You can make your donation by calling 1-800-569-5959, or you can donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

I hope you’ll help us to meet that challenge by making your donation between now and December 31.

Leslie: You can see the marks of humility in Jesus even as a baby. Find out how tomorrow, on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

1John Newton. How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds. Newton and Reinagle.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.