Summary: The very name of "Jesus" is God’s promise to deliver his people.
“...and they gave him the name Jesus!” And what a wonderful name it is!
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at
the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:9-11 NIV)
What an AWESOME picture that conjures up in my mind!
What is it about the name Jesus that is so significant, so profound, so inspiring... even today, some 2,000 years removed from those events in Bethlehem? What is it about the name... Jesus?
That infant to whom the name was given those years ago would grow into THE most polarizing figure in human history! His birth would scare the living daylights out of the most powerful of Kings! His miracles would astound crowds of people! His ministry would attract thousands of curiosity seekers as well as seekers of truth! His teachings would challenge the establishment, but would endure for millennia! His call to discipleship would promise nothing but persecution and harsh times, yet would attract millions over the centuries. His critics would blast him for his unorthodox ministry, and eventually take him to the cross for his execution! His claim to deity would confound many, yet would be so unmistakable when the tomb was found empty! And His followers would spread their new religion all over the known world within a generation! Jesus is a remarkable individual... perhaps the greatest of “under-statements!”
So, who IS this Jesus? This morning we’re beginning a new series– we’re going to be taking a look at the
various names given in Scripture to this most remarkable individual! We’ll follow it up in a few weeks with the question, “What will you do with this Jesus?” Once we have encountered Jesus, a decision is
demanded! A verdict is necessary! There can be no hesitation, no ‘straddling the fence’, we simply MUST
decide what we’re going to believe; what we’re going to DO about this Jesus! But, first we must look at
who he is and why we should care in the first place!
What’s the first thing you usually tell someone about yourself when you meet them for the first time? You
tell them your name, right? If you’re like me, you might forget their name– I’m horrible at remembering
names! But its important to know people’s names! Names become a part of our identity– a way of
describing to others who we are. The Bible gives us a larger and clearer picture of who Jesus is through
the rich variety of names attributed to him throughout the Old and New Testaments. He is known as Lord
& Savior. Some call Him the Son of God, but he seemed to prefer the title Son of Man. To the Jews, he
was the long-awaited Messiah or Christ. He is the Word made flesh, the Good Shepherd, the Great High
Priest. This time of year he may best be known as Immanuel, or “God with us.” Yet perhaps the most
meaningful term for us is the Lamb of God because it was his sacrifice of himself on the cross which has
affected our salvation! It is indeed wonderful that the Bible doesn’t just use ONE name to describe Jesus,
because each one adds something more to how we are to understand who he is and what he has done!
So, let’s take a look at his most common name: Jesus. The name has its roots in the Old Testament
Jesus is the Greek form of the O.T. Jewish name Yeshua. In English, most of us know the name better in
its biblical form as Joshua. It was translated into the Greek O.T. as Iesous, from which we get our
The name was a very common name
In the form of Joshua, the name was extremely popular among Jews, probably due to the importance of
Joshua, son of Nun– the fellow God chose to succeed Moses in leading the people of Israel from their
desert wanderings and into the promised land. He was an extremely effective and powerful, Godly leader
of God’s people. The name is found throughout the history of the Mediterranean world. The Jewish
historian Josephus, for example, names nineteen different men who bore the name Jesus. Its also found on numerous grave markers and tombs in and around Jerusalem– sometimes in its Hebrew form and
sometimes in its Greek form. In the N.T., the name appears a number of times to identify persons other
than Christ. There is an ancestor of Christ’s in Lk 3:29 with the same name; there is a certain “Jesus who
is called Justus” who is associated with Paul in Col. 4:11; and there is good reason to believe that the full