by Rich Maffeo
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ ....
[Mary] turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" She thought it was the gardener . . . . (John 20:14-15).
I'm such a light sleeper, I need "white-noise" to get a good night's rest. That's why I've slept with a box fan at my side of the bed for years.
As I meditated on today's focus - Jesus Christ - I wondered how often His Name becomes white-noise in my spiritual ears. I hear His Name so often, my subconscious mind sometimes reduces it to just another word in my vocabulary, like "the" or "and."
The early Church recognized something extraordinary about that Name which many of us may have forgotten, or perhaps never learned: There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4); prayers find their answer in that Name (John 14); the sick find healing through that Name (James 5); demons tremble at the sound of that Name (James 2); at his Name every knee will bow and every tongue confess He is Lord (Philippians 2).
The New Testament uses dozens of synonyms to describe Him: Lamb of God, Son of God, Anointed One, Shepherd, Bread of Life, Alpha and Omega, King, Savior, Messiah, Prince of Peace . . . And that Name has inspired men and women for two thousand years to live - and if necessary, die - for love of His Name.
So, why do people use the holy Name of Jesus as the punch line of a joke, or to voice surprise or anger, or to use as a swear word?
I have a theory: Satan understands there is eternal life in no other than Jesus. He knows forgiveness of sin is available through no other than Jesus. There is deliverance from his infernal grasp through no other than Jesus.
If the devil can delude people to believe Jesus Christ is the stuff of jokes and swear words, they won't be so quick to believe He is Son of God, Lamb of God, Great Shepherd, and Light from Light.
When we say Jesus' name in the Creed, and in reverential conversation, we join our hearts with all those in that great Communion of Saints. And we, too, have the same privilege as they: to fall to our knees in homage to Him whose Name is above every name.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, You spoke through the prophets. Speak also to us. Help us recognize Jesus when He calls. Help us hear above the white noise the voice of Him who loves us so much that He took our sins to Calvary's cross. Amen.
Next time: God from God . . . one in being with the Father
These meditations are compiled in Richard Maffeo's book, "We Believe: Forty Meditations on the Nicene Creed." The book is available through bookstores and his website
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