Considering the Names of Jesus: Man of Sorrows

by Hosanna Lovegren

“He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.” Isaiah 53:3

A homeless Stranger amongst us came,
To this land of death and mourning;
He walked in a path of sorrow and shame
Through insult and hate and scorning,

A man of sorrows, of toil and tears,
An outcast man and lonely;
But he looked at me and through endless years,
Him must I love, him only.

+++May Whittle Moody, 1916

I came across this little poem recently while reading a book about Lilias Trotter. I tried to find it online and found that it’s really only the first verse of a hymn which was probably sung at Dwight Moody’s gatherings in the early part of the 20th century.  Lilias Trotter attended these gatherings and was deeply affected by them. It must have been songs and thoughts like these which caused her to make the unlikely decision to turn her back on an artistic career for the very long and unglamorous life that she had ministering to Muslims in Africa.   

This week we too reflect on such things and the meaning they have for us. We remember that the one who saved us and loved us once walked a lonely and excruciating road to the cross, “through insult and hate and scorning.” With loud cries and tears, he cried out to his father in heaven and his father heard him because of his “reverent submission.” He was saved out of the depths of death, and became  “the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:7-9)

Man of sorrows, what a name.

As May Moody wrote so long ago, Him must I love, him only.

Considering the Names of Jesus: Bridegroom

by Noa Lovegren

            Weddings are one of the most wonderful events. Just the idea of having two people love each other so much that they want to share life together is a wonderful thing. But just think about the event itself–the beautiful wedding dress, the lovely bride, and the dashing groom. And the delicious feast at the end. The joyful attitude of a wedding is intoxicating.

              As much fun as earthly weddings are, Jesus promises that His wedding feast will be the best. Why? For He is the Bridegroom and His Church is the bride. What is the wedding dress? The church is clothed in Christ’s righteousness. And to top it all off: this wedding feast will take place in Heaven.

             Jesus loved His church so much, He shared life with her. And he promises the wedding feast will be the best day of our lives, for there we will have no sin. In Revelation it says, “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”

            Jesus is the Bridegroom. And while we wait for His return, He gave us a love letter, His Word, that we might be reminded of Him daily. He has promised His bride (the Church) life with Him forever.  And Jesus never breaks His promises. This wedding feast will come to pass.

Considering the Names of Jesus: Shiloh

by Ben Gibson

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Genesis 49:10

On Sunday, April 6th, 1862 the Union soldiers were still cooking their breakfasts when they heard shots in the distance. Camped out near Shiloh Meeting House, the open field was only supposed to serve as a pit stop on the trek down to the Confederate rail center in Corinth, Mississippi. However, a patrol of Union troops stumbled upon 35,000 Confederate soldiers on the outskirts of the Union camp and one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War ensued. With over 100,000 troops engaged and over 20,000 casualties by the end of the fighting, the Battle at Shiloh was the bloodiest occurrence on American soil up to that point in the country’s history.

At the center of all the fighting stood the small Shiloh Meeting House. The Messianic use of Shiloh, meaning “he to whom it belongs,” is found only once in Scripture, in Jacob’s blessing to his sons in Genesis 49. While Shiloh was also a town in Ephraim, the term is alone used with prophetic connotation by Jacob. In blessing his son Judah, Jacob declares that Judah’s tribe will hold the scepter until “he to whom it belongs” comes.

Christ, we know now, is the one to whom it belongs.

But it is not just the scepter that is Christ’s. We know from Colossians that all the world was created in and through him. Christ is Shiloh, he to whom it all belongs. I am often left wondering, however, whether Christ would still claim it? In a world where the events, such as the one at Shiloh, Tennessee, have become common place, why would a perfect God choose acknowledge ownership over such a messy reality?

In the incarnation, we are given the answer. Christ, in the incarnation, comes and shows, in taking on human flesh and human nature, in taking on our sin through his own suffering and death, that it all belongs to him.

In the incarnation, Christ claimed every moment from Jacob’s death to a spring morning in Tennessee and beyond. In the incarnation, God, in Christ, surveys all of creation and declares “…this is mine.”

Shiloh Battlefield Tennessee

Considering the Names of Jesus: Dayspring

by Pastor Bert Hitchcock

“Through the tender mercy of our God . . .
the dayspring from on high has visited us,
to give light to them that sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,” – Luke 1:78-79

The name of Jesus we consider today is the name ‘Dayspring’. That is a quaint, old-timey word which really simply means “dawn” or “sunrise.” But, what an interesting name for Jesus.

Many of us seldom see the sunrise – especially this time of year. But for others – those who work the night shift, farmers up doing chores before first light, or soldiers standing guard through a long, creepy night – the dawn is a most welcome sight. Everything changes when the sun comes up. It brings warmth from the cold; breadth of understanding for we can see what’s around us; and often, unspeakable beauty spread across the sky. No wonder sunrise is many people’s favorite time of the day.

So, when the old Jewish priest Zechariah was told by an angel that he would have a son (John the Baptist), he sees in that announcement an even greater good news. If God was giving him a son as a forerunner; that meant the full sunrise of God’s plan was about to dawn. Actually, Zechariah didn’t make this up; he was referring to God’s ancient promise
of a Messiah, given through Isaiah:

“The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light; on those living
in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.” – Isaiah 9:2

And Jesus’ coming has proven to be nothing less than a new dawn: suddenly, the Old Testament prophecies make more sense; God’s unfolding plans are more obvious, and the beauty of God’s grace suddenly shines everywhere. Suddenly there is hope where there was only despair; understanding where confusion had reigned; and good news of God’s grace that eclipses all the rigors of the law. Surely a new dawn has come, for Jesus, the Light of the World, has dawned upon those sitting in darkness and despair.

May you feel the warmth and see the beauty of God’s Sunrise, during these days of Holy Week.

Considering the Names of Jesus: Bread of Life

by Noa Lovegren

 The essence of childhood is being hungry. Most people won’t admit to it, but have you ever stopped to think how many times you told your mother, “Mom, but I’m starving!” As children, we need those nutrients to help us grow, and as we grow, we need food. That’s why many memories of places are, “I remember being really hungry there.”

  In our spiritual life as children of God, much of our story is being hungry, too. But not for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but for Christ and His Word. As we grow in our faith, we grow hungry for fulfillment. Jesus tells us that those who don’t know Him are starving for want of food–Him–the Bread of Life.

   This is why Jesus is everything we need. He is our food, our life, our hope in the face of starvation. He can satisfy any need with Himself and He will give it. He says, “Anyone who comes to Me, I will in no wise cast out.”  Those who try to satisfied there hunger with things of this world are never satisfied. And if they don’t go to Him, they will die of spiritual starvation. This is why we so desperately need our Savior for He is our Bread of Life, always there to fill us, if we just go to Him. Praise His name!

 “I hunger and I thirst; Jesus my Manna be,
Ye living waters burst, out of the rock for me.
Thou bruised and broken Bread; my lifelong needs supply,
As living souls are fed, O feed me, or I die.”

Considering the Names of Jesus: King

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:

15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
    see, your king is coming,
    seated on a donkey’s colt.”
John 12: 14-15

by Emily Gibson

Today, Palm Sunday, is a day of dissonance and dichotomy in the church year, very much like the donkey who figured as a central character that day.  Sadly, a donkey gets no respect, then or now– for his plain and awkward looks, for his loud and inharmonious voice, for his apparent lack of strength — yet he was the chosen mode of transportation for a King riding to His death.

There was a motley parade to Jerusalem: cloaks and palms laid at the feet of the donkey bearing Jesus,  the disorderly shouts of adoration and blessings, the rebuke of the Pharisees to quiet the people, His response that “even the stones will cry out” knowing what is to come.

But the welcoming crowd waving palm branches, shouting sweet hosannas and laying down their cloaks did not understand the fierce transformation to come – from King to common criminal – did not know within days they would be a mob shouting words of derision and rejection and condemnation.

The donkey knew because he had been derided, rejected and condemned himself, yet still kept serving.  Just as he was given voice and understanding centuries before to protect Balaam from going the wrong way, he could have opened his mouth to tell them, suffering beatings for his effort.  Instead, just as he bore the unborn Jesus to Bethlehem and stood over Him sleeping in the manger,  just as he bore a mother and child all the way to Egypt to hide from Herod,  the donkey would keep his secret well.   Who, after all,  would ever listen to a mere donkey when everyone was looking for their preferred image of a King?

We would do well to pay attention to this braying wisdom.  The donkey knows.   He bears the burden we have shirked.  He treads with heavy heart over the palms and cloaks we lay down as our meaningless symbols of honor.   He is servant to the Servant King.

A day of dichotomy — of honor and glory laid underfoot only to be stepped on.   Of blessings and praise turning to curses.  Of the beginning of the end becoming a new beginning for us all.

And so He wept, knowing all this.  I suspect the donkey bearing Him wept as well, in his own simple, plain and honest way, and I’m quite sure he kept it as his special secret.


Considering the Names of Jesus: Emmanuel

by Emily Gibson

God’s covenant with His people is recorded early in history:

-the rainbow as a sign of His promise not to destroy the earth again, 
-a promise to Abraham to infinitely increase his descendants,
-the renewal of the broken bond of fellowship with His idolatrous people,
-a descendant of David would rule His people, including all nations.

So Isaiah’s announcement that a virgin would bear a son whose name, Emmanuel, meaning “God with us” must have perplexed God’s people.  God had already promised to be with His people, many times in many ways, and had proven His faithfulness over and over again.

Yet generations later, when a teenager is told she is with child by the Holy Spirit, and her betrothed husband plans to quietly divorce himself from their planned marriage,  he is assured by the Lord in a dream about the true nature of this pregnancy. 

Matthew reminds us of the Old Testament promise of a son to come, and suddenly it becomes clear: 

God will be living with us, as a man, born of woman. 

There is no greater covenant than God walking alongside us, knowing us as son, brother, friend, teacher and in the ultimate bond with His people, dying in our place. 

God with us, God in our place, God fulfilling His promises–always.

Isaiah 7:14  and Matthew 1:23