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Strange questions about Cinco de Mayo: The power of the name of Jesus

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Strange questions about Cinco de Mayo: The power of the name of Jesus
A man dressed as a French soldier, left, and one dressed as a Mexican soldier, sword fight during a reenactment of The Battle of Puebla between the Zacapoaztlas and French army as part of Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the Penon de los Banos neighborhood of Mexico City, Sunday, May 5, 2019.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Five years later, Mexican troops drove France from the country.

Now that we know what this day is, let’s discuss what it is not.

It is not Mexico’s Independence Day, which falls on September 16 and commemorates the Grito de Dolores, a priest’s ringing of a church bell in 1810 that triggered Mexico’s War for Independence from Spain. Nor is it the Day of the Dead, a three-day holiday in which families gather to remember deceased friends and family members.

CNN has an article today on actual questions people asked Google about this day: “When is Cinco de Mayo?” “What is Cinco de Mayo in Spanish?” “When is Cinco de Mayo celebrated in Mexico?” “When is Cinco de Mayo celebrated in the US?” “When is Cinco de Mayo in Portland, Oregon?”

For each, the name itself is the answer, of course.

The power of the name of Jesus

Let’s consider that fact in light of this statement from an angel of the Lord to Joseph: “Do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20–21).

Many people think “Jesus Christ” was our Savior’s first and last name in the same way “James Denison” is mine. But “Christ” is the English version of Christos, the Greek word for “Messiah.” And “Jesus” is the English version of Iesous, the Greek word for “Yeshua,” which means “the Lord saves.”

The Father named his Son “Jesus” for the reason that “he will save his people from their sins.” Just as Mexico needed her troops to liberate her from France, so we need our Savior to liberate us from sin and death.

This fact is made even more apparent during the coronavirus pandemic.

Americans don’t like to speak of death as death. We refer to those who die has having “departed” or “gone to a better place.” We seldom hold memorial services in the presence of the body, having conducted the burial beforehand.

But as deaths from COVID-19 continue to climb, we are forced to face the fact of our mortality. The death rate has not changed from a year ago, but it has become much more personal. And our need of a Savior has become much more obvious.

Have you asked Jesus to forgive your sins and become your Savior? If not, trust in him today since tomorrow is promised to no one. If you have, are you praying by name for those you know who may not know him? Are you asking God to use your witness to draw them to himself?

We are all hoping for a vaccine that protects us from death due to coronavirus. But the only vaccine that protects us from eternal death is faith in “Jesus.”

How is that fact relevant to you and those you know today?

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