John A. Broadus
And thou shalt call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
It is familiar fact that
Hebrew names were commolily significant, a natural and pleasing custom. This being no
longer a usage with us, we often give names of great and good men who have lived in other
days. Sometimes heroes of fiction. This too is beautiful. Names often make an impression
upon those who bear them. So with many Who have borne the names of warriors, orators;
sometimes of preachers, and other good men. But names have often been falsified; and more
often, there are those who dishonor some renowned and venerable name which has been given
to them. These things are not wholly unimportant. And especially might we observe that one
name, not individual, but of a party, is often borne in vain-the name Christian. Truly it
is many times "a word and nothing more."
But the name here directed to be given was not in vain. The word Jesus means Saviour. And truly did he become a Saviour. He is Jesus Christ, the Saviour anointed-he ever lives to save. In the reasons assigned for giving him this name, there are taught great and glorious truths. Let us attend to them.
I. He shall save. Emphatic in the original.
1. He, and not we ourselves, save us. We could not have accomplished the work. And it is not a joint affair, by the union of his merit and ours. He alone saves.
2. He is the Saviour, and not our faith in him. Danger of exalting faith into an agency, and giving it credit for our salvation, while it is but a relation to him Faith ought not to be regarded as a meritorious work, "paying part of our debt." Such an expression is most unfortunate. He is the author of eternal salvation. Let us not think there is merit in ordinances, nor in exercises, but Jesus is the Saviour. Let us look to him, receive him, submit to him, make him our all and in all.
3. He is to be seen, not as exalted, but as humbled-not as living a life of splendor, but as dying a death of shame. The expectations of his earthly friends were to be disappointed; his cherished, even strengthening hopes to be blasted, but when the sword of acutest suffering was piercing his soul, then would he be accomplishing his great work, thus becoming the author of salvation. Jesus Christ, and him crucified-the climax of his life, the center of his work.
Of his death alone did he appoint a memorial-not of his miracles, not of his brief hour of seeming earthly triumph, but his disciples in all ages must meet and eat bread and drink wine to "show forth the Lord's death." Yes, it is our dying Lord that is the Saviour-yet not dead, for he rose again, he burst the bars of death, he is alive forevermore.
He then shall save. In his own discourses we observe what with reverence may be called a sublime and holy egotism. Fitly does he speak of himself, for he is the Lord and with beginning and end, author and finisher. In him be our trust, to him the glory-yea, his beloved name shall be in the chorus of the everlasting song.
II. He shall save his people.
No longer in a national sense, as the Jews would have supposed. "He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify etc. a peculiar people," etc. All that receive him, that believe on his name become his people-"power to become the sons of God." What an honor, what a happiness, to be of the people of Jesus! The Queen of Sheba thought that Solomon's servants were blessed. How much more are they happy who belong to the people of God, heirs apparent to thrones and crowns in heaven, joint heirs with Jesus Christ, and already blessed with angels as ministering spirits. So angels as they come on their missions of love, with what interest may we suppose them to gaze on those here and there whom they know to be heirs of salvation. They are sadly few, yet found in every rank and condition-in kings' palaces, and wandering in the wilderness-rich like Abraham, or poor like him whom the angels bore to Abraham's bosom-learned and ignorant, master and servant-yea, now in every quarter of the globe-with their diverse languages and customs, etc., yet they love Jesus and serve him, they are his people, greatly blessed now, and to be greatly exalted hereafter.
Who of you would not be of his people? Then come to Jesus; turn, quickly now, unto the Lord, receive Christ as your Saviour.
III. From their sins.
1. From the penalty of their sins. It is well to reflect upon and seek to realize the awful truth that we deserve to die, to suffer eternal damnation. Suppose we should reflect upon it, each for himself. "I have sinned against God-I know I have." Excuse and extenuate as I may, I know I am a sinner. I deserve to suffer the penalty-to be consigned forever to the damnation of hell. I do not fully know what that will be; but remorse itself will be terrible-remorse, etc. And then positive punishment-something as bad as an undying worm, and quenchless fire. And I cannot cease to sin-and if I could, what shall make amends for my past sin? Ah yes, my friends, we all deserve to perish-but Jesus! he died to save us from perdition. Let us flee to him.
2. From the dominion of sin.m Ye shall die in your sins, a most terrible doom. It were a very inadequate salvation merely to be delivered from positive punishment, and be left sinful. If we have right ideas of sin, we must greatly desire to be saved from our sins. And this Jesus came to accomplish. (a) If we love him, we have new motives to resist our sinful tendencies. (b) Jesus has procured for them that believe on him the special indwelling of the Holy Spirit the Sanctifier. For his gracious influences we may pray, and hope to become more and more holy-to gain more and more the mastery over our sinful dispositions, till the hour of death shall be the hour of perfect deliverance, and we enter upon an eternal existence of sinlessness, of purity. That, that will be heaven.
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