Ponder the Names of Christ
About the Guest
What do a door, a lamb, a lion, and a good shepherd have in common? Everything, when you know that they are all names of the one true King, Jesus Christ. We explore more names of Christ, with special guests Franklin Graham, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Barbara Rainey, and Crawford Loritts.
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We explore more names of Christ, with special guests Franklin Graham, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Barbara Rainey, and Crawford Loritts.
Bob: One of the names for Jesus in the Bible is the Lamb of God, but we shouldn’t think about that as meaning that he is somehow soft and cuddly. Crawford Loritts says, “The meaning is much deeper.”
Crawford: Whenever I read the statement, “the Lamb of God,” I contemplate His name. I just think of every year when they would go up to the temple. The priest would offer this lamb on the altar—but every year—I mean, it’s just a temporary thing—God would write out another IOU/ another IOU. Then, when Jesus died on the cross and He cried out, “It is finished,” all of the IOU’s in history—“Paid in full,”—“Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, December 4th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. The poet asked, “What’s in a name?” When it comes to the name of Jesus, there is a lot there. We’ll explore it today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. I have to admit—it does sometimes take me—it just takes me by surprise when I’m out in the mall and I’m hearing Jesus in the air—you know—songs about Jesus that are being piped in over the PA system. I think, “Do these people really understand what is being said here?”
Dennis: Some do, but some don’t. And that’s why FamilyLife Today is doing what we’re doing this week. We’re talking about the names of Christ because He is the One who ultimately put Christmas on the map—His incarnation—God becoming flesh and dwelling among us. We just want to celebrate that by talking about that on the broadcast. We’re also talking about what Barbara has created to help families pass on the truth about who Jesus Christ is around His names.
Each of His names, Bob, really unpacks a portion of who Almighty God is and what He was like when He came to this planet.
Bob: Yes. It’s an aspect of the character of God that is packed into each of the titles, or the names, of Jesus. And Barbara has taken, now, 21 different names of Christ and made Christmas tree ornaments out of them. She calls them Adorenaments®. This year, there are seven brand-new ornaments, featuring the Savior names of Jesus—Redeemer, Messiah, Mediator, Great High Priest—all of these as names of Christ on crosses that can be hung on Christmas trees.
Dennis: And there is a booklet that comes with these Adorenaments that explains what each of the crosses stands for and what the names mean. When you hang these on the tree, you can take your children, or your grandchildren, and be passing on the truth of who Jesus Christ is and what He came to do. “What’s the purpose of the incarnation?”—it’s so that ultimately He could go to the cross and bear our sins, and defeat death, and give us eternal life and right standing with God.
Bob: Had a lot of listeners, who have been getting in touch with us this week to order these ornaments for Christmas. Before we’re done here today, we’ll get you the information about how you can see what Barbara has been working on and how you can order these, online. We also want to make sure our listeners know about what a significant month of the year this is for ministries, like FamilyLife Today.
Dennis: It is. It’s a time when you, as a listener, vote with your checkbook and say, “I want to keep FamilyLife Today on the air, coming strong on this station, to help keep equipping me and my family.” Maybe, you’re a single person—maybe, you are learning how to have a godly marriage and family in advance. Or you just believe, as I know one man, who recently wrote a check to FamilyLife—he wrote a check and said: “I just believe in what you guys are doing. I’m not married. I stand with you. This is a time in our country,” he said, “when we’ve got to have radio broadcast like yours that are biblical, that are practical, that are facing relevant issues that people face every day—in their lives, their marriage, their family—and equip them to win.”
You know, there’s just not a lot, Bob, that comes alongside a marriage and a family today that says, “Let me show you how to live it out—how to live out the Bible and be successful, as a follower of Christ, in the midst of this culture.”
Bob: Well, one of the reasons why right now is a significant time for you to make a donation to FamilyLife Today is because, between here and the end of the year, we’ve had a group of friends who have agreed that they will match every donation we receive, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, up to a total of $2,000,000. That’s a very generous offer. We hope to take full advantage of that; but if that’s going to happen, we need as many listeners as possible to be as generous as you can possibly be.
Dennis: We do.
Bob: Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper right-hand corner that says, “I Care”; and you can make an online donation. Your donation, again, will be matched, dollar for dollar, when you make it. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY.
You can make a donation over the phone. And of course, you can mail your donation to us. Our mailing address is PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; and our zip code is 72223. And we hope to hear from a lot of our listeners between now and the end of the year.
Dennis: And on today’s broadcast, we’re going to be talking more about the names of Christ and why we’ve been talking about that for—really, Bob—most of the 22 years we’ve been on the radio.
Bob: Well, awhile back, you and I had a chance to sit down with somebody who was getting into trouble for using the name of Jesus in public settings.
Dennis: Yes, I remember this.
Bob: This was Franklin Graham. We talked to him about his convictions around the name of Jesus.
Franklin: I have found that anytime you use the name of the Lord Jesus Christ outside of the church, it brings controversy—any kind of public setting. It’s the name that causes the controversy.
The name of the Lord Jesus Christ—it is a lightning rod. And for my generation, I want to do all that I can to lift up this name which is above all names.
When we look at the world in which we are living, there is a moral abyss out there that people have gotten lost in that they don’t know what is right—they don’t know what is wrong.
Franklin: And the human heart has to be changed. The only way the human heart can be changed is through the name—the name of the Lord Jesus Christ—and putting our faith and trust in Him. Our God—the God we worship—has a Son, and His name is Jesus. And every knee is going to bow—
Franklin: —and one day, every tongue will confess Him as Lord.
Dennis: And He says that there is salvation in none other.
Franklin: No other name.
Dennis: No other name, other than Jesus Christ.
One of the stories you tell in your book, The Name, that I believe really is a picture of the gospel is the story from the Middle East about two boys, Muhammad and Abdul.
Franklin: And this is a true story that happened in the southern part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The southern part of Jordan is populated mostly by Bedouin tribe people. They are the ones who still, for the most part, live in goat hair tents; and they have their camels/their sheep.
And there were two boys, in the southern part of Jordan, at a place near Wadi Rum; and they were playing. One of them accidentally killed his friend. In the Muslim culture—especially in that part of the world—it’s an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. They have what they call blood feuds. If you kill someone, then, it’s the responsibility of that person’s family, then, to avenge the blood.
The only way they can avenge that blood is by drawing blood—or taking blood. So, you have these blood laws.
So, when this boy was killed, he ran; and he ran to a tent. He grabbed a hold of the peg of the tent. If you do this in an Arab culture, whoever owns that tent will give you his or her protection if he grants it—he will give his life to protect you. And this little boy grabbed that tent peg, and he screamed and he hollered. The old man at the tent knew this boy. He said, “Go in my tent.” He said, “I’ll give you my protection.”
Within a few minutes, the young men of the village had arrived, ready to kill this young man. The old man stood his ground. He said, “No, I’ve given the boy my protection.” They demanded: “Give him to us. Give us the boy.” “No, I’ve given him my protection. You’ll have to kill me first.” “But you don’t understand. This boy you are protecting—it was your son that he killed!”
The old man quenched, like he had been stabbed; but then, he said: “Well, then, he will become my son. All that I have will be his, and he will carry my name.”
That’s what God has done for us—it was His Son that died. If we put our faith and trust in Him, we become, now, His sons.
Franklin: And He gives us His name. For a person that doesn’t understand or doesn’t know, God loves us. Our sins have separated us from Him; but God, in His love, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth. And when Jesus came to this earth, His only reason for coming was to die for you—to take your guilt / to take your shame.
He went to the cross, and shed His blood, and died on a cross for your sin. He did that so that you could have eternal life.
If you are willing to go to God and confess your sins—to repent/to turn—and by faith believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved. You don’t buy it—it’s not who you are in life—it’s not what you’ve done with your life. It’s by faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dennis: If you haven’t confessed the name of Christ as your Savior and Lord, today is the day to do that—right now.
Dennis: Just grab hold of the tent peg and cry out, “Be merciful, God, to me a sinner”—
Dennis: —“and may the Lord Jesus Christ protect me, and make me His son / His daughter, and give me an imperishable inheritance.” You have the Word of God—this Book right here—
—that promises He will forgive you. He will make you a child of the King of kings, and He will give you eternal life.
Bob: Well, some great thoughts from Franklin Graham about the powerful name of Jesus.
I have to tell you—I’m encouraged as I think about the hundreds of thousands of kids, all around the world, who are going to hear about the name of Jesus through the Operation Christmas Child project that Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse coordinates every year, as they send shoe boxes to kids with Christmas gifts—but also, with tracks that tell them the story of the gospel—the story of the birth of Jesus—because, when you come down to it, Dennis, Christmas, without Jesus, is family traditions and sentiment—it’s warm feelings—
Bob: —but there is something missing. There is something shallow and something lacking substance. It’s a human holiday unless your focus is on what made it a holy day—the incarnation of Christ. I know that’s why your wife, Barbara, has spent so much time working on these Adorenaments that people are putting on their Christmas trees, that have the names of Jesus on them so that Christmas can really proclaim—
Bob: —the transcendent significance of what this season is all about.
And I don’t know how many of our listeners have stopped to consider this, but Joseph and Mary did not sit down with a baby name book to try to figure out what to name the baby. They had very clear instruction on what this child’s name should be, given to them by an angel. In fact, your wife, Barbara, had a chance, not long ago, to sit down with Nancy Leigh DeMoss and talk about the incarnation—the power of that story and about the naming of the baby.
Barbara: When we pull back and we look at the wonder of how the name, Jesus, was given, it was the angel, Gabriel, who announced what His name would be. I just think it’s stunning—it’s just amazing to pull back and think, “What must that have been like for Mary and for Joseph to have had a visit from the angel; and then, he tells them what the name of this child would be?”
Nancy: And how it ties back to the Old Testament—
Barbara: That’s right.
Nancy: —name, Joshua—
Barbara: Joshua—that’s right.
Nancy: —who was an Old Testament deliverer and military leader—and how Jesus would come and would deliver His people / save them—
Barbara: That’s right.
Nancy: —from the enemy of sin and Satan.
Nancy: It ties together the Scripture in a beautiful way to step back and look at the meaning of that name.
Barbara: And I think what’s important is—that we communicate this truth to our children.
It’s one of the first names that children learn is—Jesus. They know how to say it from the time they are toddlers; but, as a family, if you’ll read the story about that name, it leads us to worship because it reminds us of the truth of who He is, and why God sent Him, and why we need Him. That’s what Christmas should be about—it should be about adoring Him and worshiping Him because He was willing to come and be born as a baby. It’s such a stunning, overwhelming, amazing, incomprehensible thing that He did for us—that He would come. So, by focusing on His names—each of the names—it leads us to worship, which will make the Christmas season much more meaningful.
Nancy: And I’ve watched some of my friends, who have small children—how those children’s hearts—if the parents have been praying and teaching their children the ways of God, some of those children’s hearts are so tender, so sensitive, and so receptive.
I have a little six-year-old friend, who stopped me in the driveway the other day and said, “Ms. Nancy, would you pray for me about…”
Barbara: Oh, isn’t she sweet.
Nancy: And then, she starts telling what she’s afraid of—something that’s coming up. We stopped, right there in the driveway, and prayed. Oh, she came up to me, again, just a few days ago—same child—and said: “Oh, Ms. Nancy! I prayed the other night, and I asked Jesus to forgive me for my sins and to help me love my little sister.” I’m looking at this child and saying, “The Spirit of God is working in her heart.” What a tender, sensitive time before the—
Barbara: It is.
Nancy: —kids are disinterested and wanting to get out of church—but to just capitalize on the wonder those little ones have.
And by the way, maybe, you are a grandmom—
Nancy: —and maybe, your children are not raising their children in the faith—but you have opportunities, during the holiday season, to be with those little ones. Or you are a single mom, or you are a big sister friend to somebody else’s children—
—lots of ways we can be speaking into the lives of these little ones. Then, reminding our own hearts about who Jesus is—
Nancy: —and why He came, and the wonder of it all. Looking at these names with fresh eyes, I think, rekindles that wonder.
Bob: Well, again, that’s a portion of a conversation we’ve been listening to between your wife, Barbara, and Nancy Leigh DeMoss, talking about Joseph and Mary giving Jesus His name—Jesus—and the significance of that name.
And I’ll just mention, here, if our listeners are interested in seeing the ornaments that Barbara has created—what we call Adorenaments—that are all about the names of Jesus—different titles used for Him—they can go to her website, which is EverThineHome.com—EverThineHome.com. You can see all of the ornaments on display there and order a set if you’d like to have them for your Christmas tree this year.
You know, we had a conversation, a while back, with our friend, Crawford Loritts, about different titles / different descriptions of Jesus because, really, each name for Jesus that Barbara uses in her ornaments—each name is a different descriptor of something about who He is, or about His ministry, or about His mission.
Bob: And we talked with Crawford about the fact that Jesus is both the Great Shepherd and also the Lamb of God.
Dennis: The imagery is something that we are not used to today in our technological culture / our modern culture that’s no longer, really, dealing with livestock; but a good shepherd was an important aspect of Jewish culture.
Crawford: Absolutely. He contrasts His motivation, right here in John, Chapter 10—this verse 11 falls within a context in which Jesus is contrasting His motivation for the flock with that of a hireling—
—someone that has no vested interest in the flock but just wants to use it as a job. Jesus says, “As the Good Shepherd, I lay down my life for the sheep.” What a marvelous word picture of Jesus’ heart for us—that He is giving His life because He cares about us.
Bob: You know, when Jesus said that, He knew what was ahead. In fact, He knew that, in addition to being the Good Shepherd, He was the Lamb of God, who was slain from the foundation of the world.
Crawford: That’s right. Well, Jesus knew, on the other hand, that He would rise again from the dead.
Bob: That’s right.
Crawford: So, He died on that cross in our place, and for our sin, to infuse in us the goodness, if you will, the righteousness, the forgiveness, the grace, the love, the mercy of God.
Bob: You know, again, Jesus’ description of Himself as the Good Shepherd is juxtaposed with His description, elsewhere in the Scriptures, as a sheep, Himself—as the Lamb of God, who has come to take away the sins of the world. That was John the Baptist when He saw Jesus coming; right?
Crawford: Yes, when he saw Him coming, ready to be baptized, he said, “Look at Him, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
Bob: Crawford, we have a nativity set at home. One of the things we have, as a part of that nativity set, are some of the animals who are around the manger in the stable, where Jesus was born. There are some sheep that we place around that manger scene. It’s awesome to think that those sheep were gathered in the presence of the Lamb of God.
Bob: And we don’t know if those sheep might have been sacrificial sheep later on that year—might have been taken and presented at the altar as an offering—but we do know that the Lamb of God, who was in that manger, 33 years later, was brought by His accusers to the cross and was slain for our sin.
Crawford: Yes, and whenever I read the statement, “The Lamb of God,” I contemplate His name. I just think of every year, when they would go up to the temple, the priest would offer up this lamb on the altar—symbolizing, for another year, that the sins of Israel had been covered. But every year—I mean, it’s just a temporary thing—God would write out another IOU, another IOU, and another IOU. Then, when Jesus died on the cross and He cried out, “It is finished,” all of the IOU’s in history— “Paid in full,”—a perfect sacrifice—“Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.”
Bob: The One whose birth we celebrate came to be our guilt offering / came to be the payment for our sin. As we worship and celebrate His birthday, we cannot lose sight of the cross in the process.
Dennis: This Christmas needs to be focused in on, not the trappings, but the message—not the gifts, but the Giver—not all the work it takes to get ready for Christmas, but the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Bob: Well, again, we’ve been listening to Franklin Graham, and your wife, along with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and Crawford Loritts—all reflecting on the name of Christ and why it ought to be in the forefront of our thinking at Christmas.
Dennis: And families, who profess follow Christ, I think, need to be on the cutting edge in calling one another to be faithful to do that practically as the Bible spells out. That’s what we do, here every day, Bob, on FamilyLife Today. We’re calling people to be obedient to the Scriptures as we help them apply them in relevant practical ways to their lives—their marriage/their family.
Let’s face it—we all need all the coaching, encouragement, and help that we can get.
Bob: Yes, I thought it was interesting that we said that, when you look at the manger, you ought to see the cross because the ornaments that your wife has created this year—the Adorenaments, she calls them—are all in the shape of a cross.
And again, let me encourage listeners—they can go, online, at her website, which is EverThineHome.com—all one word. You can see this year’s collection of Adorenaments from Barbara Rainey, along with the Christmas names of Jesus and the [royal] names of Jesus that she has already created in previous years. You can order, online, if you’d like; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY if you’d like to order a set of any of these ornaments for your home use for your Christmas tree. EverThineHome.com is the website.
And I also want to point you to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the top left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER.”
You’ll find out about “The Twelve Names of Christmas™”—the set of ornaments we’ve created for preschool-aged kids, along with the ornaments that Barbara Rainey has put together.
And we mentioned this earlier, but I again want to encourage you: “If you are able to help FamilyLife Today with a yearend donation to support the ministry, this is a great time to do that.” We have some friends of the ministry who have come together and agreed to match every donation we receive, during the month of December, on a dollar- for-dollar basis, up to a total of$2,000,000. So, we’re trying to get the word out and asking you to consider making as generous a yearend contribution as you can possibly make.
Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage that says, “I Care.” You can make an online donation that way. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Make your donation over the phone. Or you can mail a donation to us at FamilyLife Today.
Our mailing address is PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR: and our zip code is 72223. Again, those donations are being matched, dollar for dollar. And we are grateful for your support. We really appreciate you and hope to hear from you.
And we hope you can join us back tomorrow when we are going to continue to look at the name that is above all names—the name of Jesus—and how that can be an essential part of our Christmas celebration. Hope you can join us tomorrow.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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