I had the privilege of preaching at the nursing home again this week. It’s a wonderful ministry our church has – every Monday at 3:30, one of our church’s pastors is at the nursing home leading singing and preaching. You would think that the residents were the ones who are invaluably blessed, but most of the time, it’s us. It is such an honor to sing and preach the Word of God to those delightful people. I often walk away filled with joy, comfort, and encouragement just from the 45 minutes or so that I’m around these friends. They bless my heart. This week was our Christmas service. I had the privilege of speaking on the name of Jesus… what does it mean, and why is it important?…
‘Tis the season, so they say. The “Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” as the familiar song goes. We have been – and will be over the next few days – singing familiar Christmas carols, gracing the doors of shopping malls and specialty stores, sending and receiving Christmas cards, wearing the clothes/jewelry we only get to wear once a year, decorating our houses with Christmas cheer, and visiting with family and friends. We’ll experience the Christmas story a hundred times this year via many different mediums: songs, decorations, church services, family Bible reading, you name it. It is the greatest story ever told. There’s a song that says, “Love came down at Christmas.” Exactly.
You know the story of the manger. You know the story of the shepherds, the angels, the wise men, the trip to Bethlehem, and the shining star (“But do you recall the most famous…” – kidding. Hahaha). But do you know the story of the Name? That’s right – the story of the Name – the name, Jesus.
God hatched the plan and carried it through. The Angel’s job was to deliver the news. The Holy Spirit’s job was to conceive the Boy. It was Mary’s job to birth Him. It was the shepherds’ job to announce His birth. It would be Jesus’ job to do the saving. What was Joseph’s job? Where did he fit in? He had only one job. A very important one, at that. It was Joseph’s job to name the Boy, “Jesus.”
Why “Jesus?” Ever thought about that? Why not Jeremiah, Josiah, Jairus, Jacob, or Jehosaphat? We know that in scripture, Jesus has many names: Emmanuel, Prince of Peace, the Christ/Messiah, Son of David, Son of God, Lord, Master, etc. Why was Joseph to name Him “Jesus” instead of one of these others?
The three names above are a progression. The first name is written in Hebrew, the second in Greek, and the third in English. Our English word “Jesus” is basically a transliteration of the Greek name written before it. And that Greek name is basically a transliteration of the Hebrew name before it. Go ahead and pronounce the Hebrew name out loud, woth a soft “o” for the fourth letter (the pronunciation is in italics below it). What does this name sound like? Yep, you guessed it… Joshua. Jesus’ name is the same name we translate “Joshua” from the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament. Why is this important? Well, the name Joshua has a very special meaning itself…
The name יְהוֹשׁוּעַ means “Yahweh saves,” or “Yahweh is salvation.” Who is Yahweh? Yahweh is the name God chose for Himself. Jesus’ name literally means, “God saves.” Now read the Matthew 1:21 text again…
Simple leading questions:
1. Who will do the saving in Matthew 1:21?
2. Who does the saving in the meaning of the name “Jesus?”
3. What does this imply about the relationship between Yahweh and Jesus?
As we used to say in Middle School… “Winner, winner, chicken dinner.” You guessed it. Jesus is God. When referring to the Old Testament Joshua, never does the Bible say that he would “save his people from their sins.” Only Jesus can do that. Only Yahweh can do that.
WHAT YOU NEED TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS:
From eternity passed and especially in the birth of Jesus, we can see God’s plan for salvation through Jesus. You may see a Baby in a manger on a hundred different lawns in your neighborhood this week. But whenever you do, you need to know that without the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, it would just be a pretty picture. Without the propitiatory work of Christ in the reconciliation of mankind with God through blood sacrifice, that Baby in a manger would be nothing more than a yard decoration.
You will hear the name “Jesus” countless times this Christmas season. What does it mean? Why is it important? Yahweh saves. This baby in a manger is God’s wonderful plan to reconcile you to Himself. When you hear the name “JESUS” this season, think… “Yahweh saves.”
Grace and Peace,