Saturday, July 28, 2012


The Point of it All

Grandma, a friend at school said that Jesus' last name was Christ. Is that true?”

“No, Jeffrey, it was a title. 'Christ' is from the Greek word 'christos' which means 'the anointed one.' It comes from the Hebrew word 'Messiah.' That was the term given to the Redeemer who is spoken of by the prophets of the Old Testament. He was expected to be the great and wonderful leader or king whom God promised would save the Jewish people and the whole world..”

Since that was Jesus' title, what was His last name then?”

“People didn't have surnames in those early times in history.”

In the Bible I see only first names of people. How could anyone tell who was who when there were so many similar names?

“People were usually identified by who their father was or the place where they were born or what they did for a living, or their birth order, or some characteristic about them. Like James and John the sons of Zebedee, and Simon the Zealot, or Alexander the coppersmith, or Saul of Tarsus.”

When did people start using last names?”

“The earliest time was in China way back in 2852 B.C. A Chinese person had three names: their family name, their generational name, and their given name. It is the same even today in China. And the family name is written first. It wasn't until the 10th or 11th century that it became the custom in Europe to have a surname so that the government could tell who was who for written records, taxes, and military service. In some countries it didn't happen until the 15th or 16th century. In Scandinavia it was as late as the 19th century, and in Turkey not until 1933.”

Why didn't Jesus take the name of his father Joseph then?”

“Jesus is the only person who did not have a human father. Mary was the mother of Jesus and Joseph was her husband but not Jesus' biological father. God chose Joseph to be the legal guardian or foster father of Jesus and care for Him during His growing years.”

Then who was Jesus' real father?”

“God was His father so Jesus was His son. Here is a mystery again—Jesus is God, a part of the Trinity. He became man, became human like us but still remained God. He has the same divine nature as His father, God. Jesus is man because He was born from the body of Mary so He has a body like ours. Mary was the only human parent of Jesus.”

So is Jesus more than one Person?”

“No, Jesus is only one Person. We say that He is the second Person of the Trinity—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. But Jesus has two natures: the nature of God and the nature of man.”

I don't quite know the difference between nature and person.”

“A nature is what someone is: Jesus is God and man—two natures. A person is who someone is: Jesus is Jesus the Christ—one person.”

Well I have to think hard to understand that.”

“Here is an important word for you to learn: Incarnation. The Son of God always existed. He was with God the Father from the very beginning of Eternity. The first chapter of the gospel of John explains that. Then at one point in history He came to earth and took on a human nature, a body like ours. That's what “Incarnation” means. Jesus became man but He still remained God. The Bible calls it 'becoming flesh'.”

How did He do that?”

“We can't really understand or explain it but the Bible said that's how it happened and we accept it by faith. After the angel Gabriel announced God's plan of Incarnation to her, Mary said yes. She agreed to have the Son of God born through her body. He was conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit and developed there and was born like all infants.”

Why did Jesus want to become a man?”

Well, that's the point of it all! God loved the people of the world so much that He sent His Son into the world to save whoever would believe in Him. He didn't want anyone to perish because of their sins. That includes all of us because we have all sinned. God had a plan whereby we could be forgiven by what Jesus did to take away our sins. He wanted everyone to have eternal life and be forever with Him.”

Hey, that sounds like from the gospel of John 3:16!”

“That's right! Do you remember when Adam disobeyed God and caused all mankind to be inclined to sin and listen to the devil? As a result Heaven was closed to all mankind. But God promised Adam that He would one day send someone to fix the situation. That was the promise of the Incarnation! We should have been punished for our sins, but Jesus came to earth and became man and died in our place to take our punishment. Jesus Christ opened Heaven for us again!”

Oh, that's double awesome! It all makes sense. Now Heaven is open to anyone who believes in Jesus and is born of water and the spirit like He told Nicodemus in the gospel of John.”

And that's the point of it all!”

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