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First Thoughts Blog

Day 10, Tuesday (March 19) - Living into His Name

WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?

Son of Man
Day 10   Tuesday

__________________________________________________

EXPLORE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

DANIEL 7: 13-14
“I saw in the night visions, 
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,        
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.
 
MARK 2: 10-11
But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 
 
MATTHEW 26: 63-64
But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
 
CONSIDER
To the people of Jesus’ day, the title “Son of Man” meant more than just being another human being. Son of Man harked back to the mighty vision of Daniel 7, in which a mysterious figure, who was like us, but more than us, was given all rule and authority.
 
The mystery of Daniel 7 could not be unraveled until the Son of God incarnated as the Son of Man and then, following his redeeming work, was exalted in his ascension as the Son of Man who now rules over all things. 
 
Note how Jesus claims this title for himself before the high priest. Just before he was condemned to die a shameful death, Jesus had faith to predict his coming his ascension and return!

__________________________________________________

PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of Man, at the Father’s right hand 
who reigns in power, I bow to you as Lord this day.

__________________________________________________

LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4

MATTHEW 5: 44-45

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
 
CONSIDER
How does Jesus show us what it means to be truly human? 
 
How does Jesus put the lie to the phrase “I’m only human” as an excuse to act according to animal instinct?
 
How does loving enemies and praying for persecutors particularly elevate us to the image of the Son of Man?
 
Close by singing these verses from the hymn “At the Name of Jesus:”
 
Humbled for a season, to receive a name
From the lips of sinners, unto whom he came,
Faithfully he bore it spotless to the last,
Brought it back victorious when from death he passed.
 
Bore it up triumphant, with its human light,
Through all ranks of creatures, to the central height,
To the throne of Godhead, to the Father’s breast,
Filled it with the glory of that perfect rest.
 
Caroline Noel, At the Name of Jesus. 1861.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

 

Day 9, Monday (March 18) - Living into His Name

WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?

Beloved of the Father
Day 9   Monday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

ISAIAH 42: 1-7
Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.

MARK 1: 9-11
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
 
JOHN 5: 20, JOHN 17: 25-26
For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.
 
O righteous Father . . . I made known to them your name . . . that the love with which you have loved me may be in them.”
 
CONSIDER
We pick up the first verse from the Isaiah passage we studied Saturday. The servant of the LORD is one in whom the LORD delights. He is the beloved. And we discover that he is Jesus. This prophecy of Isaiah was echoed in the baptism of Jesus when the Father spoke, “You are my beloved Son.” 

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PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, beloved Son in whom the Father delights, 
I find his acceptance through you alone.

__________________________________________________

LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7). 

EPHESIANS 1: 3-6 (NEW KING JAMES VERSION)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, having predestined us to adoption as son by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he has made us accepted in the Beloved.
 
EPHESIANS 5: 1-2
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
 
CONSIDER
The Father has made us accepted in his Son, the beloved one! We are beloved in the Beloved. Because the Beloved One has joined himself to us forever. And the Spirit has joined us to the Beloved One through faith.
 
So Paul goes on to show us how knowing the wonderful romance of this truth leads to direct application: be imitators of God the way beloved children imitate the parents who love them.
 
What qualities of the Beloved do you especially wish to show forth this day?
 
Close by making this French baptismal prayer your own, 
 
For you, little child, Jesus Christ has come, 
he has fought, he has suffered. 
For you he entered the shadow of Gethsemane and the horror of Calvary. For you he uttered the cry, “It is finished!” 
For you he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven and there he intercedes — for you, little child, even though you do not know it. 
But in this way the word of the Gospel becomes true. 
“We love him, because he first loved us.” 
 
James Torrance, Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace
Downers Grove: IVP, 1996.

TODAY'S PRAYER

 

Day 8, Sunday (March 17) - Living into His Name

WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?

For thirty years, Jesus lived in relative obscurity in Nazareth, learning the carpenter’s trade from his stepfather Joseph. But as Jesus turned 30, he stepped onto the public stage when he was baptized by his cousin John. He soon called 12 disciples to join him.

 
This week’s image is also from S. Apollinare Nuovo. It comes from a row of mosaics above the procession to the newborn king described last week. This upper row depicts scenes from Christ’s ministry. So today we see Jesus’ calling to the fishermen Peter and John. Their nets have snagged a wondrously large catch of fish. Peter, seeing the miracle, would fall to his knees as he realized that Jesus was indeed God come among us. And Jesus would summon Peter with the mission, “from now on you will be catching men” (Luke 5: 10).
 
Peter was always bold in his declarations, for better or worse. So Peter would come to display his great heart of faith the day Jesus asked the question, “Who do you say that I am?” After Christ’s mighty miracles and amazing teaching, everyone was talking about him. Who can speak about the Scriptures as if he wrote them? Who can open the eyes of the blind and raise the dead? Peter spoke aloud what no one had yet dared to say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” (Matt. 16: 16).
 
The question of Jesus’ identity continues to be the question for everyone who encounters him. Jesus does not allow us to stay indifferent to him. He demands a response. This week, we will explore names given to Jesus during his ministry and how we can enter the faith of his earliest followers.
 

Creator Word of God
Day 8   Sunday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

JOHN 1: 1-3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
 
1 CORINTHIANS 8: 5-6
For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”—yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
 
CONSIDER
John 1 starts like Genesis 1: In the beginning. In Genesis a first curtain is pulled back on the stage of the world, and we see that the earth exists because God made it. In John 1, a second curtain is pulled back and we see that God the Father created the world through his Word, Jesus his Son.
 
In the Corinthians passage that we read every day this Lent, we see another astounding insight. It explodes as if Paul had split the atom! Watch:
 
Deuteronomy 6: 4 is the great confession of the Hebrew faith, recited daily by faithful Jews. It is a bedrock affirmation, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” There is no other god. Only the LORD I AM is God and he is one, unique, complete. The phrase “The LORD our God” is a profound assertion of monotheism. There is only one God. In the world where the ancient Hebrews lived, this was the pulling back of the curtain to expose all the local pagan gods as nothing compared to the LORD. 
 
But with the coming of Jesus, another curtain was pulled back. And so Paul splits the atom of Deut. 6: 4. He sees in the phrase “The LORD our God” room for Jesus the Son.  
 
So he says, for us there is one God, the Father from whom are all things. And one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things. The Creator God is the Father and the Son. The world was created by the Father through the Son.
 
Further reflection would reveal that the Spirit is also God. After all, as far back as Genesis 1: 2, we read that the Spirit hovered over the waters, shaping the young world. And so latent in Scripture is the idea that would be developed in the coming years: the one God is three. 
 
Today, let your mind reel with this news! The man who walked among us as Jesus spoke to the wind and the waves as if he had made them. Because he had!
 
__________________________________________________

PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, Word of the Father, through whom all things were made, by a mighty act you have made me new.  

__________________________________________________

LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7). 

COLOSSIANS 1: 15-16, 19-22
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 
 
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 
 
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.
 
CONSIDER
By the Son of God all things were made. This Son came to us as a man. He gave his life to reconcile the world he had made. His very body is the place where God and man meet, the place where God and man are made one again.  
 
If this is true, that Jesus the Creator is Jesus our Reconciler, how will you live today?
 
This prayer can be sung to the tune of “Rejoice, the Lord Is King,”
 
We come, O Christ, to you, true Son of God and man,
By whom all things consist, in whom all life began:
In you alone we live and move, and have our being in your love.
 
Margaret Clarkson. We Come, O Christ, to You. 1957.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

 

Day 7, Saturday (March 16) - Living into His Name

COME, LONG EXPECTED JESUS!

Servant King of the Nations
Day 7   Saturday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

ISAIAH 42: 1-7

Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
 
ROMANS 15: 8-9
For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,  
 
“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
and sing to your name” (2 Sam. 22: 50).
 
CONSIDER
This passage from Isaiah 42 is the first of four “servant” prophecies in which the LORD promises salvation through the work of a faithful redeemer who represents his people in triumph that comes through suffering. What personality qualities of this servant do you find in this passage?
 
What are his activities on behalf of the people?
 
Where do you see the promise of this prophecy extend beyond Israel?
 
How does Paul confirm this world-reaching work of the servant king in our Romans passage? 

__________________________________________________

PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, sent as servant to save the nations, 
reign as king in my heart and throughout this world. 

__________________________________________________

LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7). 

MATTHEW 2: 13
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”
 
MATTHEW 20: 26-28
It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
 
CONSIDER
When the wise men came to worship the newborn king, Herod immediately considered Jesus to be a rival. In what areas of life do you consider Jesus to be a rival to your desires?
 
In Jesus’ words from Matthew 20, we see that our King, the desire of nations, considered himself to be a servant of all. Jesus goes on to liken our mission to his mission as the servant. To what kind of life are we thus called?  
 
In what areas of your daily life might such service play out today?
 
Close by praying this name of Jesus, our Servant King, first through the more literal translation of this O Antiphon, 
 
O King of the nations, and their desire
The cornerstone making both one;
Come and save the human race,
Which you fashioned from clay.
 
And then, by singing this verse of “O Come, O Come, Immanuel,”
 
O come, O King of nations, bind 
In one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease, 
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel 
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
 
O Come, O Come, Immanuel. 
Ancient Latin prayer, trans. 
John Mason Neale. 1851.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

 

Day 6, Friday (March 15) - Living into His Name

COME, LONG EXPECTED JESUS!

The Sunrise
Day 6   Friday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

ISAIAH 60: 1-3
Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising.
 
MALACHI 4: 2
But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.
 
LUKE 1: 76-79
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
 
CONSIDER
Sunrise brings hope. As Psalm 30: 5 so famously says, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” The days of Jesus among us were like a sunrise. What greater day does his dawn promise in these passages?
 
Where in this weary world do you particularly long for light to shine in the darkness?
 
What is it like when the reality of Jesus dawns on us?
 
For which people in the dark do you most ardently pray?

__________________________________________________

PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, radiant light of the Father’s love, dawn in my heart, 
and shine through every word and deed this day.  

__________________________________________________

LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7). 

MATTHEW 2: 1-2
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
 
CONSIDER
What three things did the wise men do when they saw the star of the king?
 
How do they provide a pattern for our conversations and life in Christ today?
 
Close by praying this name of Jesus, first through the more literal translation of this O Antiphon, 
 
O Morning Star, splendor of light eternal
And sun of righteousness;
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness
And the shadow of death.
 
And then, by singing this verse of “O Come, O Come, Immanuel,”
 
O come, thou Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, 
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel 
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
 
O Come, O Come, Immanuel.
Ancient Latin prayer, trans. 
John Mason Neale. 1851.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

 

Day 5, Thursday (March 14) - Living into His Name

COME, LONG EXPECTED JESUS!

The Key of David
Day 5   Thursday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

ISAIAH 9: 6-7
For to 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.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
 
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore. 
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
 
ISAIAH 22: 22
And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
 
REVELATION 3: 7
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.’”
 
CONSIDER
Today’s name continues the theme of David’s everlasting kingship being fulfilled in Jesus. Keys can be symbols of authority. The one who has the key has the authority to open the door. It could be the door to a treasure house, throne room, armory, intimate chamber or secret passage. Having the key means access, including the right and the power to use it.
 
From our passages today, how do you imagine Jesus wielding the power of David’s keys?
 
What doors in particular would you like Christ to unlock or seal shut?

__________________________________________________

PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, Key of David, key to the everlasting promises of God,
open my mind to know you and my heart to receive you.  

__________________________________________________

LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7). 

ACTS 14: 27
And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.
 
1 CORINTHIANS 16: 9
For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 
 
CONSIDER
How have you seen Jesus open doors of faith in your life and in the lives of others?
 
Pray particularly for doors to open for Christ’s work through you today.
 
Close by praying this name of Jesus, first through the more literal translation of this O Antiphon, 
 
O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel,
You open and no one can shut;
You shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house;
Those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
 
And then, as you sing this verse of “O Come, O Come, Immanuel,”
 
O come, thou Key of David, come 
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high, 
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel 
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
 
O Come, O Come, Immanuel.
Ancient Latin prayer, trans. 
John Mason Neale. 1851.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

 

Day 4, Wednesday (March 13) - Living into His Name

COME, LONG EXPECTED JESUS!

Root of Jesse and Son of David
Day 4   Wednesday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

ISAIAH 11: 1-5, 10
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 
And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. 
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, 
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
 
In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
 
LUKE 1: 67-72 (ZECHARIAH)
And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,        
 
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us 
in the house of his servant David,  
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,  
that we should be saved from our enemies 
and from the hand of all who hate us; 
to show the mercy promised to our fathers 
and to remember his holy covenant,
 
CONSIDER
Isaiah 11 is a prophecy of the coming Messiah. In this passage, note how the prophet speaks of both a shoot from Jesse and the root of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David, Israel’s great Shepherd/King. The idea of a shoot from Jesse’s lineage makes sense. The Messiah would be a distant offspring of King David.
But how could a man yet to be born be the root, the source, of Jesse who lived long ago?
 
Only the One who is both God and man could exist before David, yet be born after David. Paradoxically, Jesus is both the Son of God who created the world and then came in a particular time to us as a particular man, born in the lineage of King David himself. 
The LORD had made promises to David of an eternal line of kings (see 2 Sam. 7: 13). When Israel went into exile, it appeared those promises were broken. But then Jesus, David’s long distant heir, entered the world to become king, not only of Israel but of the world. 

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PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, father of David and son of David, 
you are the eternal promise come true. 
Extend your steadfast love and faithfulness to all the earth.  

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Live into the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7). 

REVELATION 22: 16-17
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” 
 
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
 
CONSIDER
The last chapter of the Bible records Jesus himself taking up the title of both the root and descendant of David. There follows the longing of Christ’s bride, the church, for this new David to return. And there follows an invitation for all who thirst to drink from the deep roots of the true David, to be grafted into his family tree.
 
Take some time today to acknowledge the eternal story of Jesus and invite him to graft your life’s story into his great redeeming plan.  
 
Close by praying this name of Jesus, first through the more literal translation of this O Antiphon, 
 
O Immanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Savior:
Come and save us, O Lord our God. 
 
And then sing this verse of “O Come, O Come, Immanuel,”
 
O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem, 
Unto your own and rescue them;
From depths of hell thy people save, 
And give them victory over the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel 
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
 
O Come, O Come, Immanuel.
Ancient Latin prayer, trans. 
John Mason Neale. 1851.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

 

Day 3, Tuesday (March 12) - Living into His Name

COME, LONG EXPECTED JESUS!

Son of God
Day 3   Tuesday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

ISAIAH 9: 6
For to 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.

LUKE 1: 30-33 (MARY)
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

CONSIDER
Imagine how strange this news was to Mary. The God who made her would be born from within her! The one who fashioned her being would be fashioned inside her womb. The God who spoke the world into being would humble himself to speak only infant cries against her breast.

When we confess that Jesus is the Son of God, we do simply mean that he was a child of God like any created human being. We mean that he is the eternal Son of the Father, through whom all things were made, stepping into our world in flesh and blood as Mary’s son. That same person would, when his work was done, return to his Father as the ascended King of all.

Let your mind stagger at such joyful paradox today!

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PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, eternal Son of the Father, 
who came in time as Mary’s son, include me in your Sonship. 

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LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7). 

GALATIANS 3: 26-27
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

1 JOHN 3: 2-3
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

CONSIDER
Jesus the Son of God became one of us in order to include us in his Sonship!

He took up our humanity so that he could adopt us into his eternal relationship with his Father as he gives us to share in his own Spirit.

Jesus is far, far more than a good man who showed us a good way to live and so came to be called a son of God. He is the eternal one opening up his Triune family to us. We are God’s children through Jesus his Son: right now!

Close by praying (and singing!) this verse from “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” 

Christ, by highest heaven adored';
Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Immanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King.”

Charles Wesley. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing. 1739.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

Day 2, Monday (March 11) - Living into His Name

COME, LONG EXPECTED JESUS!

Immanuel: God with Us
Day 2   Monday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

 
ISAIAH 7: 14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
 
MATTHEW 1: 22-25 
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
         
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel
 
(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
 
CONSIDER
In what way were Joseph’s circumstances the fulfillment of a prophecy made seven centuries earlier?
 
The name Immanuel means that God is with us. What would change if the meaning of Jesus’ name was “God is beyond us?” Or, “God is against us?” Or, “God is within us?”  
 
Try finishing this sentence several ways, “Because God is with us in Jesus. . . .”
 
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PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
 
Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another.
 
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
 
Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!
 
Lord Jesus Christ, God in flesh, who simply would not be without us, 
draw near to me today.  
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LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
 
He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine nature . . .
For this very reason, supplement your faith with virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7).
 
2 PETER 1: 3-8
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
CONSIDER
This passage contains the fuller context of the verses we pray every day in this section. According to Peter, for what purpose has God given us his precious and great promises?
 
Based on God’s gift in Christ of “all things that pertain to life and godliness,” what are we to do now, according to this passage?
 
Which one of this list of qualities would you like to focus on doing today?
 
Several days this week, we will close using the ancient Latin prayers called the “O Antiphons.” An antiphon is a type of short prayer used in worship. They each begin with “O” and they each speak of one of the prophecies about Jesus in Isaiah. The first paragraph below is the O Antiphon literally translated to English. The second is the way the O Antiphon was set to music in the Advent carol, “O Come, O Come, Immanuel” if you wish to sing your prayers!
 
O Immanuel, our King and lawgiver
Expected of the nations, and their Savior,
Come to save us, O Lord our God!
 
O come, O come, Immanuel, 
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here, 
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
 
O Come, O Come, Immanuel.
Ancient Latin prayer, trans. 
John Mason Neale. 1851.