“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Jesus – the Name above all names – the Name that evokes very different responses in different people. Some people love to hear that Name; some hate it and use it as a curse word. Demons fear and tremble at that Name. What does that Name mean to you? How do you respond to the Name and person of Jesus Christ?
John the Baptist and Elizabeth:
As a baby, in his mother’s womb, John recognized the presence of Jesus and responded by moving in his mother’s belly. The anointing of the Holy Spirit came on Elizabeth and she rejoiced with Mary at what God had done in her, because she, herself, had experienced a great miracle – she was pregnant after many years of barrenness. Elizabeth recognized the Baby in Mary’s womb as the fulfillment of God’s promise to save His people.
And at that time Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country to a town of Judah, 40 And she went to the house of Zachariah and, entering it, saluted Elizabeth. 41 And it occurred that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a loud cry, and then exclaimed, Blessed (favored of God) above all other women are you! And blessed (favored of God) is the Fruit of your womb! Luke 1:39-42 AMP
The shepherds in the field were minding their own business when they had a visitation from angels, which initially scared them out of their wits, but after the angel told them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people. For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord!” they went to see Mary and Joseph and the baby, Jesus. From there, they went out and told everyone what they had seen. They testified about the angels and the baby – born a Savior, the promised Messiah – and people were astounded and they marveled at what the shepherds told them. (Luke 2:8-20)
Simeon and Anna:
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout [cautiously and carefully observing the divine Law], and looking for the Consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been divinely revealed (communicated) to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one). 27 And prompted by the [Holy] Spirit, he came into the temple [enclosure]; and when the parents brought in the little child Jesus to do for Him what was customary according to the Law, 28[Simeon] took Him up in his arms and praised and thanked God and said, 29 And now, Lord, You are releasing Your servant to depart (leave this world) in peace, according to Your word. 30 For with my [own] eyes I have seen Your Salvation, 31 Which You have ordained and prepared before (in the presence of) all peoples, 32 A Light for revelation to the Gentiles [to disclose what was before unknown] and [to bring] praise and honor and glory to Your people Israel. Luke 2:25-32 AMP
Simeon recognized the Messiah because he was looking for Him. When he saw Him, the anointing of the Holy Spirit came on him and he knew this was the Savior of the world! He prophesied to Jesus’ parents what the future would bring and then he told God that he was ready to depart this world in peace, because God’s promise had been fulfilled. Anna, a very old widow woman, who never went out from the temple enclosure, because she worshiped God night and day with fasting and prayer, also saw the baby Jesus and rejoiced with Simeon and gave thanks to God. She told everyone, who was looking for the redemption of Israel, about Jesus. (Luke 2:25-38)
The wise men from the east:
Wise men, from the east, followed a star to find the One born King of the Jews. They obviously knew of God’s promise and sought its fulfillment, unlike the religious leaders of the day, who despised Jesus and sought to destroy Him. When they found the place Jesus was, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy; they were thrilled with ecstatic joy! They fell down and worshipped Him. They gave Him, and His parents, very expensive gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1-12) It does not matter who you are, or what family or what denomination you were born into. It only matters that you have a heart after God and that you recognizes Him when you see Him and that you honor Him for Who He is.
Herod and the religious leaders:
Herod tried to kill Him once; the religious leaders tried a few times – all unsuccessfully – until He laid down His own life. They all saw Him as a threat to their power and their leadership. Because they were arrogant and power-hungry, they missed their own opportunity to receive salvation.
The people mostly came around Jesus to receive things for themselves, but they let Him go to the cross alone. They acted selfishly. What has Jesus done for you? Think about it and then ask yourself this: How much do you love, honor and appreciate Jesus? What does He mean to you and what are you doing for Him?