I have five grandchildren and one on the way. For the months that lead up to their birth, my wife and I wondered what their name would be or will be. My children and their spouse went through a variety of names for a variety of reasons until they settled on a name they both liked. For some parents they search through a baby book trying to find a name that has a good meaning to it. For others, it is a name that is connected to another family member. For others, they picked a Biblical name. Then there are those like the lady years ago whose last name was Dah who had a son and named him Zippity Do…Yes, that is the truth. My wife and I watched it on the news one night and the reporter asked her why that name. And she said she wanted her baby to be happy and then her and her mother began singing the song, “zippity do dah, zippidy aye….” Hm..I wonder if that baby will be happy now that he is a teenager. Or how about the late Texas Governor Jim Hogg (1895) who named his daughter Ima Hogg? Wikipedia says, “She endeavored to downplay her unusual name by signing her first name illegibly and having her stationery printed with "I. Hogg" or "Miss Hogg".” It’s obvious that some people put great thought into a name while others ..well.. makes one wonder.
But what is it about the name ‘Jesus’ that is so significant? What is it about His Name that is so profound and so inspiring that even today, 2,000 years removed from the events of Bethlehem that we are singing, preaching and praising His name?
When God sent His messenger to Mary declaring that she had found favor in the eyes of the Lord and she would give birth to the Son of God, God also gave instructions as to what name He was to be given. "You are to give Him the name Jesus."
Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, Jeshua or Jehoshua. Each means "God (Yahweh) will save" or "God is salvation." Now that's some name. If that didn't convey to Mary the overarching purpose and fundamental reason for Jesus to be born, her husband-to-be had no doubts. As Joseph wrestled with what to do after finding out Mary was with child, and we are told in scripture that a angel appeared to him in a dream. Joseph was instructed to take Mary as his wife. Then, almost as if to insure both understood the importance of naming Him Jesus, the angel tells Joseph, "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" (Matthew 1:21).
The entire purpose of His coming was that He might save His people from their sins. Separated from God, mankind needed a Savior. We needed someone able to remove our sin once and for all. Jesus Christ was on a mission to save all of humanity by offering Himself on the cross for our sin. The manger may seem sweet and innocent, but the cross was in clear view from that barn on that first Christmas night. He came to us and for us. He loved us so much He gave Himself. He is the most expensive gift and the perfect gift. He's the gift for all people. You might buy me a crossbow for Christmas and that wouldn't quite fit me. For someone else it would be perfect. But Jesus is perfect for all because He died for all. And His name carries that message. He is called Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.
Christmas is a celebration of Jesus. His name is wonderful. His name is great. His name is matchless. His name is above every human philosophy. His name is good. His name is great. His name is majestic. His name is glorious. His name is holy. His name is near. His name is Jesus. "God will save" because God sent His Son Jesus to save us. He was born, lived a perfect life, died for our sin and rose again. And all who "believe in the Lord Jesus Christ" will know the salvation and peace of God.
What should be our response to His name? We should praise His name, honor His name, proclaim his name, trust His name and love His name.
There truly is ‘something about that name.”