An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, [Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, which means the Lord saves] because he will save his people from their sins.” ~ Matthew 1:20-21
Naming a baby can be quite exciting. Some parents debate for months on what they will call their child. In an effort to find the perfect name, they may even consult books that are full of baby names or do an extensive online search. Parents are getting more creative all the time. Some parents pick a name to be different. Some pick a family name. Some pick biblical names.
God had a unique purpose in naming his Son. In giving him the name Jesus (the Lord saves), God was not trying to be trendy or creative. Rather, he was giving his one and only Son an important title and job description. You see, God had taken a look at his world and he didn’t like what he saw. He saw his perfect creation ruined by sin. He saw the entire human race terribly lost in sin and on the way to destruction and condemnation. As he looked from heaven at all of us, perhaps a few different names came to mind: sinners…unrighteous…wicked…evil.
As the holy God that he is, the Lord had every right to leave us lost in sin and to go his own way. But that’s not the kind of God we have! Instead, God in love sent his Son to be our Savior. Jesus lived up to his name. He came into this world and lived a perfect life in our place, earning the righteousness that we sorely lacked in our own lives. Then he went on to the cross and died an innocent death in our place, paying for all sins. Jesus saved us just like his name describes.
As a result of his work for us, we are saved from sin and death and hell. Our sins are forgiven. And now, through faith in Jesus, when God the Father looks from heaven and sees us, a few different names come to mind: saints…a chosen people…holy…righteous…children of God.
This Christmas—and always—thank God for the wonderful gift of his Son, Jesus, and learn to praise his name always. It is the only name by which we are saved.
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, we are humbled by the tremendous gift of your Son, whose name is Jesus. Lead us to thank and praise and love him all the days of our lives. Amen.