What’s in a Name?
Reflect on your experience of Jesus. Thank God for all that he means to you. Ask that you might discover him in new ways today.
Read Matthew 1:18–25
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, 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. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectConsider the power and meaning of a name. What does Jesus’ name reveal to you?
A pastor friend of mine always mentions the meaning of the names of children he dedicates. I sometimes feel that the parents, who probably chose the name because they liked it, might be a little surprised. In the ancient world names had more significance. They carried the hopes and dreams of the parents and sometimes had prophetic force. Nowhere is that more true than with the two significant names we find here.
Joseph is naturally confused and concerned. He needs reassurance but he gets far more. He discovers the astonishing truth that the child Mary is carrying is the promised Messiah, the One for whom all Israel has been waiting. God is coming to his people in a far greater way than Isaiah could have foreseen when he spoke about the coming Immanuel (Isa. 7:14). Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew word meaning “savior.” But this Messiah deals not with the occupying Romans as first-century Jews expected, but with the underlying human problem: the sin that cuts us off from God.
This Christmas Eve, let’s reflect again on the significance of these names. How do each of these names impact the way you live?
God, I rejoice in the knowledge that You are indeed with us, and that we can know You because our sin has been dealt with by Jesus.