Summary: The Meaning of Jesus' Name

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Christmas Day


Bruce B. Miller


It is Christmas morning! Welcome families. Merry Christmas! We are delighted to have the children with us today! What a joy to be worshipping together in English and Spanish. Jaime and I are happy to be sharing the Word together in both languages.

How was Christmas morning? I hope you have already had a good time with your family. Congratulations for being here this morning. You are standing against the cultural tide. Most of our country is at home. Even a number of churches are closed today. But not this one, not you, you are here to worship Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Thank you for honoring God with your presence!

Kids, whose birthday are we celebrating this morning? Jesus! That’s right. This is Jesus’ birthday. Christmas is Jesus’ birthday celebration.

Have you ever wondered how he got his name? Where did the name “Jesus” come from? Names often give clues to who we are. They have special meaning. What is your name? Shout out your name. If you do not know the meaning of your name, ask your parents. Research the meaning of your name.

Why did Jesus’ mom and dad call him Jesus? Where did the name come from? He was not the first one to have the name Jesus. In the Old Testament several people have that name. In Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament, Jesus is yeshua. Yeshua means “God, is salvation.” Can you say the name “Yeshua.” Let’s speak some Hebrew. Let’s say it together: “Yeshua.” In English, Yeshua is Joshua or Jesus. There was a famous Joshua in the Old Testament.

Why did Mary and Joseph name their son, Jesus? The name “Jesus” was common at the time. Jesus was known as “Jesus of Nazareth” to distinguish him from all the other men who were named “Jesus”. Mary and Joseph did not name their son after the Old Testament hero. In fact, they did not come up with his name. The name, “Jesus” came from heaven.

One day Mary was going about her normal life in her town of Nazareth: maybe cooking, or playing games with her friends, when an angel appeared to her. In Luke chapter one and verse 28 we read:

28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:26-33.

I can hardly imagine how Mary felt. Ladies who have felt a young life grow in your womb, what would have been happening inside Mary’s heart? When you know a name in advance it adds to the anticipation. Although she did not choose the name, Mary knew her baby’s name before she conceived. If you are pregnant, have you already named your baby?

But what about Joseph, her finance? He loves Mary. What did Joseph want to call his son? We find Joseph’s story in Matthew chapter 1:

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.” Matthew 1:18-21

Mary and Joseph did not fight over what to name their son. The angel gave Joseph the same name he gave to Mary. “You will name him, Jesus.” Although the angel gave the name Jesus to Mary and Joseph, only Joseph hears the reason for the name. The angel tells Joseph, “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins “.

This is the meaning behind Jesus’ name. He will save his people from their sins. Kids, what are sins? Right. Sins are bad things we do. Things God does not want us to do.

Jesus will save his people from their sins. Who are the people? Everyone. Jesus came for all people. This includes you. If you are a human, you are included. Jesus came for you.

The word “save” generally means to deliver from trouble. Jesus meets our greatest need, salvation from sin. He came to save us from our greatest danger, the eternal judgment of God.

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