Just as Yahweh is God’s personal name revealed in the Old Testament. Jesus is the personal name of the One we call Redeemer, Lord, and Christ. His name is intimately linked to the God of the Hebrew Scriptures because it means “Yahweh is salvation.” Indeed, Jesus is Yahweh come to earth. If you have ever pictured God as a distant, wrathful who is God bending toward us, God becoming one of us, God reaching up from the grave to show us the way home. Jesus, name above all names, beautiful Savior, glorious Lord!
Matthew 1:18-25 – Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.[a] And he called His name Jesus.
Yeshua, my Savior. You are God forever. Thank you for saving me from all my sins. You reached down from on high to rescue me. Help me to live with the continual awareness of my need for your saving grace, now and always. Amen.
Understanding the Name
Luke’s gospel tells us that the infant Christ was given the name “Jesus” at the time of his circumcision, a name given him by the angel Gabriel, who appeared to his mother Mary (Luke 1:31; 2:21).
“Jesus” was a common name in first-century Palestine, and it has been found on various grave markers and tombs in and around Jerusalem. The full name of Barabbas, the insurrectionist Pilate released instead of Jesus, was probably Jesus Barabbas. To distinguish him from others of the same name, Jesus is sometimes referred to in the gospels as Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus the son of Joseph, or Jesus the Nazarene. Later on, particularly in Acts and in the New Testament letters, he is referred to as “Jesus Christ,” as though Christ is his surname. By the second century the name “Jesus” had become so closely associated with Jesus of Nazareth that it nearly disappeared as a name given to either Christians or Jews.
The name “Jesus” (in English) or “Iesous” (in Greek) is the equivalent of the Hebrew “Yeshua,” itself a [missed a word here…sorry ] of the Hebrew name “Yehoshua,” translated “Joshua” in English Bibles. The name Joshua is the oldest name containing Yahweh, the covenant name of God, a name so sacred it was considered too holy to pronounce. Both “Jesus” and “Joshua” mean “Yahweh is help” or “Yahweh is salvation.” Yeshua is also related to the word yesh’ah, which means “salvation.”
“Soter” is the Greek word translated “Savior.” Its Hebrew equivalent is Moshia. In Greek, “Jesus the Savior” is rendered Iesous Soter. Through the centuries, the church has affirmed the belief of the earliest followers of Jesus that “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
What comes to mind when you hear the name “Jesus”? Though “Jesus” was a common name in the first-century Palestine, God sent an angel to announce the name to Joseph. Comment on the significance of this. Why do you think Jesus’ name is linked to the name of Yahweh, the covenant name of God in the Hebrew Scriptures? Describe what salvation means to you.