Say Who He Is: a prayer reflection on the names of Jesus

“He pressed them, ‘And how about you? Who do you say I am?'” (Matthew 16:15)

Savior. Messiah. Son of the Living God.
More than a book or words upon a page,
You are the Word—creating, sustaining, and naming.

Transcendent One, ineffable in glory, wrapped in light
and shrouded in clouds, upon whom we cannot look.
yet also Immanent One, closer than our thoughts and desires,
incarnate in flesh and bone—Immanuel.

I AM—the One who is—
is the Bread of life, is the Light of the world,
is the Good Shepherd and the Gate for the sheep,
is the Vine, is the Resurrection and the Life,
is the Way, the Truth, and the Life—
the One who makes me who I am, who I was,
and who I am becoming.

Peace-Giver and Contentment-Provider.
Spirit-Sender and Soul-Satisfier.
The Beginning and the Ending.
The Crucified Lamb of God who takes away our sin
and the Victorious King who tramples the serpent’s head.

The Love of our souls with an everlasting love
and the Refiner of our lives with a purifying flame.
The One through whom all things were created
and the One before whom all things will worship.

You are Jesus, the Savior, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.

Family Tree – a new series at Eastbrook

This coming weekend at Eastbrook Church we began a five-week preaching series entitled “Family Tree.” This is the first part of a longer series on the Gospel of Matthew.

As we begin this walk through the Gospel of Matthew, we look at the first two chapters of the gospel to understand who Jesus is and what the message of Jesus as the Christ is all about. More specifically, we will explore Jesus’ genealogy as recorded by Matthew, giving attention to great women and men of faith in His “family tree.”

This series also corresponds to the season of Advent. Watch the video below for a basic introduction to Advent.

You can also join in with a daily devotional for this series here.

Join us each weekend of this series in-person or via Eastbrook at Home.

One: The Being of God in the Life of the Church – a new series at Eastbrook

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This coming weekend at Eastbrook Church we began a five-week preaching series entitled “One: The Being of God in the Life of the Church.”

Unity is one of the most popular words about human relationships, yet one of the most elusive realities of human existence. In this series we will explore unity from both theological and practical angles, beginning with the nature of God before moving into the positional and developmental unity of the church, the place of prayer in unity, and the ultimate vision of unity for the church. Along the way, we will also talk about practical guidance for living in unity.

You can also join in with a daily devotional for this series here.

Join us each weekend of this series in-person or via Eastbrook at Home.

The Kingdom of God: a new series at Eastbrook

 

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This coming weekend at Eastbrook Church we began a five-week preaching series entitled “The Kingdom of God.”

The kingdom of God is one of the greatest themes of the Bible. It weaves throughout the entire Bible, tying the Old and New Testaments together around the reality that God is King. Jesus began his ministry in Mark’s Gospel by proclaiming: “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15). But what does the kingdom of God mean for us today where we live and with what we face? Particularly, how do we navigate being “in the world” but not “of the world” (John 17:14-18) when it comes to living the kingdom in our everyday lives and the world around us?  With our present cultural moment more polarized than ever, we need to regain our footing in the fullness of God’s kingdom that orients us toward God as King, Jesus as Lord, and the Spirit as present in the church.  Join us as we explore the nature of the kingdom of God, including some specific application to faith and the public sphere.

This series will also feature a lecture on “The Political Disciple: A Theology of Public Life” by Dr. Vince Bacote of Wheaton College.

You can also join in with a daily devotional for this series here.

Join us each weekend of this series in-person or via Eastbrook at Home.

Who Is Jesus?: insights from Hebrews 7

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Hebrews 7:26 begins by telling us that Jesus is “a high priest [who] truly meets our need.” What does this tell us about Jesus? Well, the writer continues by telling us that Jesus meets our need in two ways, both of which are directly related to who Jesus is.

That first way that Jesus meets our need is found in the rest of verse 26. Here’s the entire verse:

Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. (Hebrews 7:26)

Who is Jesus? First of all, Jesus is “holy” – that means He is unlike us and He is like God. He is “the holy One of Israel”; the One whom Israel has been looking for throughout all their history. We need someone like this.

Next, Jesus is “blameless, pure, set apart from sinners.” No one could assign any sin or blame to Jesus. He is unstained and undefiled. Nothing has come into Him or gone out from Him that reflects sin or evil. He is, as it says in Hebrews 4:15, “one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet did not sin.” We need someone like that.

Finally, we are told that Jesus is “exalted above the heavens.” He is no ordinary man. He is both the One “through whom [God] also made the universe” while also “the exact representation of [God’s] being.” After His death and resurrection, Jesus is now ascended and given by the Father the name above all other names. Jesus is magnificent and glorious. We need someone like that.

The first answer by the author of this letter to the question, “who is Jesus?”, is that Jesus is unlike us and beyond us. We need someone like that because, as we have seen throughout human history, we cannot bring the answer to all our wrongs merely from our own efforts and abilities. We need the answer to come from beyond us.

Now, the second answer to the question, “who is Jesus?” and how does he meet our need, though familiar to us, comes somewhat unexpectedly. Look at verse 27:

Unlike the other high priests, [Jesus] does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. (Hebrews 7:27)

All that we said before has emphasized how transcendent Jesus is – pure, sinless, holy, exalted – but this verse now emphasizes how earthy and humble Jesus is.

He is a priest offering a sacrifice. But He is not some priest who offers the sacrifice and then washes His hands and goes home. No, Jesus is so earthy, so humble, so in the midst of the muck and mire, that He actually offers Himself as the once-for-all sacrifice. John the Baptist helps us here when he says of Jesus:

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

What does this mean? Well, it means Jesus has entered into humanity’s real need to such a great extent that He has actually Himself become the offering. He has become the sacrificial offering so that God’s true blessing might come into the world. As that Passover Lamb, Jesus took judgment that humanity might live. He entered death’s captivity so we might go free.

As the writer sums up in verse 28, Jesus “has been made perfect forever.”

Who is Jesus?

The writer of the epistle known as Hebrews tells us:

  • He is sinless, even set apart from sinners…yet He is the sin-bearer.
  • He is holy and pure…yet He becomes wholly defiled for our life and salvation.
  • He is exalted…yet He is humble.

Here, the writer of Hebrews gives us a most helpful and essential picture of Jesus: He is perfectly what we need.