Matthew 1:18-25: What’s in A Name?

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Thanks to Tim Stanton for preaching this morning; he was back home during his Christmas break from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he is currently earning a Master of Divinity.

Outline

  • Jesus: Christ has come so that He may save us
  • Emmanuel: Christ has come so that God may dwell with us

Introduction

In the 2002 film “The Importance of Being Ernest” (which is based on an Oscar Wilde play). The two main characters, Jack and Algy both deliberately use the false name Ernest for social endeavours. It enables Jack to slip under the radar and not have his actions effect his reputation. It enables Algy to pretend to pretend to be adventurous. However, their deception catches up to them when they both fall in love with girls from each other’s families. The problem is intensified when one of the girls declares that she could only love a man called “Ernest.”

Before they are married the women uncover that there are two Ernests, and yet neither of them is Ernest truthfully. The reason that they are disappointed is because they rightly expected that the name Ernest gave them an insight into the character of the men they were interested in. (Earnest means truthful they thought that the men where themselves truthful but they were not). What the girls’ reaction shows is that names are intended to give us an insight into the people that they represent.

We understand this to some degree, as there are in New Zealand certain names that you are not allowed to call your children. You are not allowed to call your child Emperor. Or Lord. Or V8. And you aren’t allowed to call twins Fish and Chips. This is because we recognise that names are not insignificant.

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