Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11
What’s in a name?
“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
In Biblical times, much more importance was placed on a name than it is today; a person’s name often defined their character and nature. Sometimes it reflected the hopes, dreams, joys and even disappointments or sadness in the lives of the parents around the time of the person’s birth.
Jesus was not given His name at random. The name ‘Jesus’ sums up who He is and what He came into the world to do. His name personifies and embodies the dreams and longings of the heart of His Father. Yeshua – “God is salvation.”
This alone – this choice of name for His precious son, sent to die in our place – says something about the heart of God towards mankind.
Our English translation ‘Jesus,’ is translated from the Hebrew Yeshua, or Joshua, meaning, literally “God is salvation.” So the angel’s message to Joseph was really, “You shall call His name ’God is salvation,’ for He will save His people from their sins.”
He is also known by other names; “Immanuel”, for example, and He often referred to Himself as “The Son of Man.” But for today, I’m just focusing on the name Jesus.
The name ‘Jesus’, is used in derivative forms even today, and it was used before Jesus of Nazareth was born. So what is it about the name of our Jesus that is so profoundly significant, even today, two thousand years after those events in Bethlehem?
One Incredible life and legacy
The baby boy to whom the name Jesus was given that day in that scruffy animal shed in Bethlehem, grew up to be the single-most polarizing figure in human history. That may seem a strange term to use to describe the Prince of Peace, (Isaiah 9:6) but think about it; His birth scared the living daylights out of the most powerful kings and rulers of His time, so much so that they wanted to kill him! His teaching challenged and shook up the establishment, and it has endured for millennia.
His miracles astounded crowds of people, His loving kindness touched the hearts and lives of people everywhere He went. His ministry attracted thousands – both curiosity seekers and those seeking truth.
Jesus’ call to discipleship promised persecution and tough times, yet He has continued to attract millions of followers over the centuries.
His critics lambasted Him for his ‘unorthodox’ ministry, and eventually saw to it that He was crucified. His lavish mercy in His dealings with people left the religious leaders dumbfounded, and His claims to forgive sin, thus stating His deity, enraged them.
To this day, His empty tomb has been humanly inexplicable – it has been explored by forensic scientists, and sceptics, yet with all their advances in technology not one has been able to disprove the FACT that Jesus rose from the dead, as He had said He would.
There never has been, or will be again, anyone like Him. Do you know Him?
Part 2 to follow soon