Carrying and Manifesting the Name of Jesus: Where Obedience and Worship Collide

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses thirty-six through fifty-two of the second chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find something incredibly unique about the life of a young Jesus. Within the second chapter of the New Testament gospel account of Jesus’ life and ministry you will not only find Him being brought forth in the town of Bethlehem, but you will also find that after eight days had been completed when the child could be conceived, Mary and Jospeh gave Him the name Jesus according to the word which was spoken by the angel Gabriel—first to Mary alone in the town of Nazareth, and second to Joseph in a dream by night when he was considering putting away Mary quietly. What’s interesting and unique is that after this child was given the name Jesus which was spoken by the angel Gabriel, His parents brought Him to the temple in order that He might be consecrated and dedicated as holy unto the Lord. I am absolutely and utterly amazed at the faithfulness and obedience of Mary and Joseph—not only in having the child circumcised according to the law of Moses, but also in presenting him unto the Lord at the temple which was found in the fury of Jerusalem. Within the second chapter we find three distinct levels of obedience which were committed and completed by Mary and Joseph. The first level of obedience is actually heeding the word which was spoken by the angel Gabriel concerning the child and the name which was to be given unto Him. The first level of obedience which was completed by Mary and Joseph was in naming the child according to the name which was given unto Him by the Father in heaven and spoken by the angel Gabriel. Oh, pause for a moment and consider what it must have been like for Gabriel to hear the name Jesus—perhaps for the first time in the halls of heaven. Pause for a moment to think about what it must have been like for Gabriel to hear the name of Jesus mentioned and named for the first time in heaven when the living God declared and decreed that this was to be the name of the Messiah. Consider the tremendous reality of what it might have been like for the angel Gabriel to be dispatched to the earth carrying the name of Jesus to those who would be responsible for raising and looking after Him until the time of His appearing.

CARRYING THE NAME OF JESUS! I have to admit that this first level of obedience by Mary and Joseph is actually perhaps one of the most important areas of obedience, for in all reality they could have chosen to disobey the word and will of the Father and name the child something different. Consider the fact that when the child was born to Zecharias and Elizabeth those around and those closest to them tried to instruct them to name the child Zecharias after his father. When Elizabeth told them that his name was to be John, they tried convincing her otherwise based on the premise that there was no one in their family which bore the name of John. It wasn’t until they called for the father of the child that he wrote on a writing table the name of the child would be John. The reason I mention this is because it would have been very easy for Mary and Joseph to completely disregard the word spoken by the angel Gabriel and name the child whatever they deemed necessary and even desired. It would have been very easy for Mary and Joseph to name the child Joseph after his earthly father, or perhaps even after the name of another family member. Pause for a moment and consider how incredible and popular the name of Jesus truly is. Pause for a moment and consider how precious the name of Jesus is to you, and how precious the name of Jesus has been within and throughout the years. Consider how the name of Jesus has been perhaps the most used and abused name in all of history from the time it was given. Consider the words of the apostle Paul when he wrote and declared that the name of Jesus was exalted above all other names, and that at the name of Jesus every one would bow and every tongue would confess that He is Lord. Consider the fact that there is no other name given unto and among men whereby we can and whereby we must be saved, for all who call upon the name of Jesus, confessing it with their mouths and believing with their hearts will be saved.

I absolutely love this first level of obedience which was found within the hearts and lives of Mary and Joseph, for this first level of obedience concerned the name that would be synonymous—not only with salvation, but would also be synonyms with Christianity. The obedience of Mary and Joseph when it pertained to the name of Jesus must be carefully considered, for their obedience to the name which was spoken by the angel Gabriel would have ramifications and effects within and throughout history. In all reality I could not even think about, nor could I even imagine another name for the messiah other than the name of Jesus. You who are reading the words of this writing—try and consider a different name for the one who died upon the cross for your sins and for the exemption of all mankind. Try and consider another name—a different name—for the one who bore your sins and carried your griefs. Try and think about a different name for the one whose name causes demons to shudder n fear, in terror and dread. I am sitting here this morning and I can’t help but think about the tremendous reality of how significant the obedience of Mary and Joseph was concerning the name of Jesus, for unto both of them the angel Gabriel appeared giving them specific instruction and revelation concerning the child which would be conceived within the womb of Mary. I cannot escape the reality of their obedience to the word which was spoken by the angel Gabriel, for their obedience to the word spoken by the angel Gabriel solidified the name given unto the Messiah who was prophesied and spoken of by the ancient prophets, as well as the Law. When the angel Gabriel visited Mary while she was in the town of Nazareth, he not only came and appeared unto her concerning the nature of the child, but he also spoke to her concerning the name of the child which would be born unto her. How absolutely wonderful and amazing it is to think about and consider the fact that when the angel Gabriel appeared—first unto Mary, and secondly unto Joseph—he not only delivered unto them the reality of the nature of the child which would be born unto them, but he would also speak unto them concerning the name of the child which would be born unto Mary. I absolutely love and appreciate the word which the angel Gabriel spoke unto Mary and Joseph—each separately and independent from each other—for the word which the angel Gabriel spoke unto them was a powerful word which would first reveal the nature of the one who would be born and brought forth into the world, as well as the name of the one who would be born into the world. Consider if you will the words which were spoken by the angel Gabriel unto Mary and Joseph concerning the nature and name of the Messiah would once and for all be born and brought forth into the world:

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espouses to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: Blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.l And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elizabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:26-38).

“But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had hidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS” (Matthew 1:20-25).

“And when the eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb” (Luke 2:21).

It is absolutely necessary that we pay close attention to these three passages of Scripture for within both passages we encounter the reality of the angel appearing unto both Mary and Joseph, and revealing the nature of the one who would be born unto her within and upon the earth. It’s interesting and worth noting that no obedience was required on their part when it came to the nature of the one who would be born of them, however, their obedience was required when it came and as it pertained to the name of that one which would be born unto them. The obedience which was asked, and the obedience which was required of Mary and Joseph concerned the name of the child which would be born among them within the earth, for it would be the name of Jesus which would have tremendous significance and impact within and upon the earth throughout the history of mankind. Up until the moment the angel Gabriel first appeared unto Mary in the little town of Nazareth the name of the Messiah was not known, for the Messiah was simply one who was anticipated and expected among men within the earth. The name of the Messiah was not known—only that the Messiah would one day be manifested and brought forth into the earth. For centuries and millennia there would be an expectation and anticipation of the Messiah which would be brought forth within and upon the earth, yet nothing was known concerning the name of the Messiah, for that name was hidden and concealed from the hearts and minds of men. Despite the fact that the ancient Hebrew prophets saw visions and revelations concerning the Messiah, none of them were given any insight, nor were they given any revelation concerning the actual name of the Messiah. At the very most that which was given unto the ancient Hebrew prophets was that the one who would be brought forth into the earth would be the Servant of the Lord, and would be the root of David. The ancient Hebrew prophets, and even the law which was given unto Moses knew nothing of the name of the Messiah, and it wasn’t until the angel Gabriel appeared again in Nazareth that he appeared carrying the name of JESUS in his heart, in his mind, and upon his lips. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if the name of JESUS was known in heaven prior to it being revealed unto the angel Gabriel. I can’t help but wonder if anyone in heaven knew the name of Jesus prior to it being revealed by the angel Gabriel—first unto Mary in the town of Nazareth, and secondly unto Joseph by dream during the night. Was the very first time the name of JESUS was spoken and revealed was when the Father revealed from the throne the name of JESUS to the angel Gabriel as the name which was going to be given unto the child born in Bethlehem.

It’s interesting and worth noting that there was no prophetic word, nor was their any Messianic reference in either the law or the prophets concerning the name of the Messiah, for there was no word given under the Old Covenant concerning this name which would be given unto the child which was to be born among men within and upon the earth. There were countless prophetic words which were spoken and revealed concerning the nature and character of the Messiah which was to come, however, there was absolutely no prophetic word which was given unto any of the ancient prophets concerning the Messiah which was and had long been anticipated and expected among men and women within and upon the earth. I find it absolutely interesting and intriguing that it is very possible the name of the Messiah, and the name of the one who would be born of a virgin would be hidden and concealed from the hearts and minds of men until the appointed time when the angel Gabriel would be sent and dispatched from heaven carrying the name of Jesus. It’s worth noting that the first one to carry the name of JESUS was the angel Gabriel as he appeared unto Mary in the town of Nazareth, and then as he appeared unto Joseph by dream during the night. Once the name of Jesus was spoken unto and revealed unto these two individuals who would be responsible for raising the child, Mary and Joseph would then carry the name of the child within their hearts and minds. Consider the fact that for nine months Mary and Joseph knew the name of the child which was to be born within and born upon the earth, and yet undoubtedly neither one of them mentioned the name of the child. I cannot help but be absolutely convinced that neither Mary nor Joseph mentioned the name of the child among others until eight days had been completed for the child to be circumcised. I am absolutely and utterly convinced that Mary and Joseph carried the name of JESUS in their hearts and in their minds throughout and during the entire term Jesus was carried within the womb of Mary, and undoubtedly they only spoke the name to each other in secret and in private. There is not a doubt in my mind that the name of JESUS was first revealed in secret and in private to Mary when the angel Gabriel appeared unto Mary, and then again when the angel appeared unto Joseph by dream during the name. What we must consider and what we must recognize concerning the name of JESUS was that before it was ever revealed publicly, it was first revealed privately unto Mary and Joseph who would be responsible for raising, looking after, and caring for the child until the time of His appearing, and the time of His manifestation among men within the earth. The name of JESUS was first revealed in secret unto Mary and Joseph, and for a period of nine months was spoken of in secret and in private between the two of them as they undoubtedly talked about and discussed the name of the one who would save the people from their sins.

I can’t help but consider the tremendous fact that both Mary and Joseph not only knew the name of the one who would be born unto them, but they also knew the nature of the one who would be born among them within and upon the earth. For nine months Mary and Joseph knew the very name and nature of the one who would be born among men, and they knew and understood that the one who was born unto Mary in the town of Bethlehem would be that one who would sit upon the throne of His father David, and of the increase of His government there would be no end. For nine months Mary and Joseph carried the name of JESUS within their hearts and within their souls until the time came for the name of Jesus to be revealed unto the world. Oh, I can’t help but wonder what it was like for the name of JESUS to be revealed unto Mary and Joseph—each according to its own means and method—as well as what it was like for the name of JESUS to be given unto the child after eight days were completed for his circumcision, and the name was actually given. What was it like when Mary and Joseph came to the end of those eight days and finally spoke and revealed the name of JESUS publicly among men as they emphatically declared the name of the child would in fact be JESUS. I can’t help but wonder if Mary and Joseph ever revealed unto others that the name given unto the child was foreordained and spoken of by the angel Gabriel, and that the name of the child was not even something they themselves had any control or any authority over. I wonder if when Mary and Joseph revealed the name of Jesus unto those before and those around them, they didn’t reveal unto them that the name which was given unto the child would be given by the angel of the Lord himself, and would come directly from the throne of God which was present in heaven. WHEN THE NAME JESUS IS FINALLY REVEALED! WHEN THE NAME OF JESUS IS FINALLY REVEALED PUBLICLY! Oh, I really can’t get over the fact that the first one to carry the name of Jesus within his heart and upon his lips was the angel Gabriel who appeared unto Mary and unto Joseph, and how the second ones to carry the name of Jesus were Mary and Joseph—both of whom the angel appeared and revealed unto them the name which was to be given unto the child. The angel Gabriel was the first to carry and speak the name of Jesus in the earth, as the angel Gabriel first spoke the name of Jesus unto Mary, and would later speak the name of Jesus unto Joseph by dream during the night. For nine months that name—the name of JESUS—would be hidden, would be concealed, and would abide in secret until the appointed time came when that name would be manifested and revealed in the earth. After nine months had been completed for the child to be be brought forth the child was finally brought forth into the earth, and what’s more—after eight days the name of the child was finally given. Even after the child was brought forth into the earth, the name of the child would not be revealed until eight days had been completed for the circumcision of the child. It would be on the eighth day that the name of the child would finally be given, and the world would finally know the name of the Messiah who had been long spoken of and long anticipated and expected. Consider if you will the words which the apostle Paul wrote concerning the name of Jesus, as well as that which was spoken by the apostle Peter in the days of the early church:

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11).

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:8-12).

I have to admit that I am incredibly thankful for the obedience of Mary and Joseph to the word which was spoken by the angel Gabriel, for their obedience brought forth the name of JESUS, which has been used within and throughout the world for centuries. While the name JESUS was given by the Father who sits upon the throne in heaven and revealed unto Mary and Joseph each in their own manner, it was Mary and Joseph who chose to obey the word and command of the angel Gabriel concerning the child, and giving the child the name of JESUS. Their obedience concerning the name of JESUS would make possible the words which the apostle Peter spoke concerning the name of Jesus, and how there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Their obedience to the word and command of the angel Gabriel would bring forth that which the apostle Paul wrote and spoke of when he declared that Jesus was given a name that is above all other names, and that at the name of JESUS ever knee would bow, and every tongue would confess that Jesus is Lord—a reality which the apostle Peter first experienced and expressed in Caesera Philippi when Jesus asked them who they said that He the Son of man was. It was the apostle Peter who emphatically declared and proclaimed that He was the Christ the Son of the living God, and it was unto the apostle Peter whom Jesus declared that flesh and blood had not revealed it unto Him, but His Father which was in heaven. This is actually worth noting and considering, for flesh and blood did not reveal the name of JESUS unto Mary and Joseph, but rather the name JESUS was revealed unto them by the angel Gabriel who appeared unto them from before the throne of God in heaven. Just as the name of JESUS was not revealed unto Mary and Joseph by flesh and blood, so also the reality that Jesus was indeed the Christ the Son of the living God was not revealed unto the apostle Peter by flesh and blood. It would be the Father in heaven who alone would reveal this reality within the heart and spirit of Simon Peter. It would not be flesh and blood that revealed the name of JESUS within the earth, and it would not be flesh and blood that would reveal unto Simon that Jesus was in fact the Christ, and the Son of the living God. Oh that we would recognize and understand this, for once the child was brought forth into the earth, and once eight days were completed for the child to be circumcised according to the law, Mary and Joseph not only gave him the name spoken of and revealed by the angel Gabriel, but also the name which was given by the Father who sits upon the throne in heaven. I thank God for the obedience of this couple, for their obedience helped bring forth the name which is given that men might be saved, and the name which upon being mentioned—every knee shall bow, and every tongue would confess that He is Lord. Consider if you will the words which were spoken by the apostle Paul when writing unto the congregation of the Romans—words which are written and recorded in the tenth chapter of the epistle written unto the Roman congregation:

“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not hearts? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:8-15).

It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the obedience of Mary and Joseph and that we would allow the Holy Spirit to highlight their obedience, for their obedience first began with the very name of JESUS, which would be the name given unto the child by the angel Gabriel. Their obedience would be demonstrated and manifested within the earth when after eight days they would not only circumcise the child, but would also give the child the name of JESUS, which was according to the word spoken and given by the angel Gabriel. I mentioned that the obedience of Mary and Joseph took place on three fronts, and on three different levels, and the first front concerns the name of Jesus. In all reality, I am convinced that all obedience must begin with the name of JESUS, and all obedience begins with and around the name of JESUS, and if we fail and/or fall short on this front—all other obedience might very well crumble like a house made of cards, or a house built upon the sand. I absolutely love how their obedience first began with the name of JESUS, for all our obedience must begin with and surrounding the very name of JESUS. Our obedience must always begin with the name of JESUS, and all our obedience must center upon the name of JESUS which was given among men that they might be saved. With that being said, their obedience concerning and surrounding the name of Jesus would continue and carry on with their obedience to the law of Moses concerning the child being circumcised after eight days. If you read this passage of Scripture you will find that their obedience began with the name of JESUS, but their obedience would continue with the circumcision of the child, which would be according to the law of Moses. What’s more, is that their obedience would continue even more when they would bring the child unto the Temple—also according to that which was spoken in and through the law of Moses—for Luke records the following words: “And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:22-24). Their obedience would not only bring about the circumcision of the child according to that which was written and that which was spoken in the law of Moses, but their obedience would also bring the child unto the Temple according to that which was prescribed by the Lord through the law given unto Moses. It would be their obedience to that which was written within the law of Moses that would bring the very Word of God—the very glory and presence of God incarnate and in the flesh—into the Temple.

We dare not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and remarkable reality, for not only do we find within this passage the obedience of Mary and Joseph to the law of Moses, as well as to the word and command of the angel Gabriel, but we also find their faithfulness in worship of the living God, for twice within this passage we find Mary and Joseph bringing the child into and unto the Temple of God which stood in the midst of Jerusalem. I absolutely love what is found and written in this particular chapter within the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, for within this passage we find the very glory and presence of the living God in the flesh being manifested within the very Temple of the living God. Within this passage of Scripture we find the very glory and presence of the living God being brought unto the Temple—first according to that which was prescribed according to the law of Moses—and second surrounding worship which was performed at the Temple. With that being said, it’s ‘important that we recognize that when the glory and presence of the living God in the flesh was brought into and unto the Temple there were only two who recognized and were sensitive enough to acknowledge it. As you read this passage of Scripture you will notice that only Simeon and Anna were sensitive enough to the glory and presence of the living God in the flesh being present in the Temple, for the beloved physician Luke acknowledges their response to the presence of salvation, the presence of glory, the presence of majesty, and the presence of God in the flesh within the Temple. It is absolutely necessary that we pay close attention to this particular reality, for it was obedience which first brought the manifestation of the glory and presence of God in the flesh into the Temple—a reality which was recognized by two individuals, and two individuals alone. What’s more, is that you will find that it was worship which brought this very same embodiment of the presence and glory of the living God into the Temple once more. What would begin with carrying the life and nature of the Messiah within the womb would eventually transition to carrying the manifestation of the presence and glory of God into and unto the Temple according to the law of Moses. What’s more, is that it would be faithfulness in worship to the living God that would bring the manifestation of this presence of the living God once more into the Temple, for you will find that every year at the feast of the Passover Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to celebrate it. When the child was twelve years old they brought him with them unto Jerusalem as they had normally done in order that they might celebrate the feast. Oh that we would recognize and understand this, for it brings us face to face with the obedience of Mary and Joseph to the law of Moses and the word of the angel Gabriel, as well as their faithfulness in worship—both of which brought the very presence of the living God in the flesh unto the Temple which stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Oh that we would allow the very Spirit of the living God to highlight the name of JESUS which was given in order that men might be saved, and that the Holy Spirit would highlight obedience to the commands and statutes of the Lord, as well as faithfulness in worship. It is our obedience to the words and commands of the Lord, and it is our faithfulness in worship that more often than not carries and brings forth the very glory and presence of the living God which has been manifested and brought forth within our lives.

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