Summary: An examination of the name "Jesus" geared to help the audience understand the huge significance of the saving work of Jesus on the cross and embrace His work as our Savior

What does your name mean? If you’re not sure, you can probably look it up on the internet and find out pretty quickly. Surnames in particular often meant something about a person’s ancestors -

Many names tell us about a person’s parentage, like O’brien, Anderson, Erickson, MacDonald. Some names are a reference to where a person is from, like Hill or Stone. Some names come from a person’s disposition – like Lovejoy or Jolly.

Some names are from a person’s occupation. They help us to sort out what people are supposed to do in life – Porter, Cooper, Smith, Baker, Carpenter, Cook, Taylor, Fowler, Inman, Sawyer, Wagner, Fischer, Mason, Miller, and Ottman

Names often mean something. The first place we get this idea is from Adam in Genesis 2. Adam said she shall be “woman” for she was taken from “man” (the Hebrew is isha and ish). As God interacts with man very early on, we read how He often changes or assigns names because they mean something – Abram, “Exalted Father,” gets his name changed to Abraham, “Father of a multitude.”

Some of the names or titles of Jesus that we’ve been looking at in this series come with some sort of an explanation – He’s called the “Son of God” because His conception and birth are God-enacted. He’s called “Immanuel,” because the miraculous nature of His birth assures us that God, through this person, is “with us.”

This morning, we’re in Matthew 1, where the angel Gabriel is helping Joseph deal with the thought of taking Mary as his wife, even though she is inexplicably pregnant. Joseph’s plan is to quietly end the whole marriage, to back away from his love and try to pick up the pieces of his shattered life.

Matthew 1:20-25 (NIV)

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. 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." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us." When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

The name Jesus was a common name.  is the Greek form of the Jewish name Yeshua - Joshua. It means, “Jehovah is salvation.” The angel says that’s the name this baby is to have. It’s His “first name,” if you will. It’s what He’ll be rightly known as, because it encompasses the whole reason for His entrance into the world. To save His people.

This name – Jesus – tells us some important truths we all need to understand this morning…

I. Mankind Has Fallen

I’m sure that in pulpits all across the country today much is being said about Friday’s school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 20 children and 6 adults were senselessly shot. If it doesn’t tear your heart, you need to have an exam to see if you have one. We want to learn from the whole thing. We want to learn why it happened, because we want to figure out how to stop it from ever happening again. We want to learn how to stop the hurt, and how to save lives in the future. We want to come up with answers that will help people. I’m afraid that a lot of those answers will continue to elude us, or we would have had them many years ago.

But there’s this fact that we can’t avoid learning from it all, if we’ll listen. That is, that we’re living in a fallen world – that our lives are impacted daily by the presence of evil. The Bible puts it to us this way:

Romans 5:12b (ESV)

… sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…

Romans 3:23 (ESV)

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Just in case you were among those who thinks that if people would just follow their hearts we could all get along…

Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Last Friday, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy said, “Evil visited this community today.”

He’s right. While others may spin and speculate, these words are true. Evil visited that community openly and harshly. Satan is all about ruining human life. There is no age restriction, no sacred ground where he will not tread.

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