Summary: Names tell a story, a message about the story the name Jesus tells.
Thou Shalt Call His Name Jesus
Mt 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
1. Names tell a story
2. The name above all names.
3. Calling on the name of the Lord.
4. His people, their sins.
1. Names tell a story
In Hebrew thought a name tells a story of a person's nature, character and or deeds. When we westerners think of a name it simply means to us a designation by which we can differentiate people, but in Judaism it is much more. Names tell us about people, about their character, the circumstances of their birth, or the destiny God has for them. For example:
Jacob - means supplanter. He used deceptive means to take the first born place and inheritance from his brother. In other words he supplanted him.
Moses - means to draw out. He was used of God to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Nabal - means fool. His wife tells King David, who was so angry with the man he wanted to kill him that: 1Sa 25:25 "Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him...
Barnabas - Son of encouragement. Certainly a description of his character.
Barabbas in the New Testament - Son of the father. Think of the irony of that name. The bible tells us that satan was a liar and a murderer from the beginning. Barabbas was a murderer, so then in some ways we could say he was a son of the devil. The crowd then, on that fateful day had a choice between the son of God (The Son of "THE" Father), of the son of the devil. They chose Barabbas, to their eternal shame.
Think of it this way, here in the U.S. the Indians gave names that were normal words of description that became names: Crazy Horse, Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, etc.. So names are nothing more that ordinary words. Jesus means God is salvation. We read the name Jesus, Jews read God is salvation.
A preacher by the name of Ray Steadman went through the names of Genesis 5 and came up with the following: (Link provided at end of message)
The list begins with Seth, which means "Appointed."
Enosh, his son, means "Mortal;" and
His son, Kenan, means "Sorrow."
His son Mahalalel, means "The Blessed God."
He named his boy Jared which means "Came Down," and
His boy, Enoch, means "Teaching."
Methuselah, as we saw, means "His death shall bring;"
Lamech means "Strength," and
Now put that all together:
God has Appointed that Mortal man shall Sorrow; but The Blessed God, Came Down, Teaching, that His Death Shall Bring, Strength and Comfort.
There are a lot of bible scholars who find fault with this treatment of names, but I wouldn't put it past God to do a such a thing and put the Gospel in the first list of names in Genesis, He already spelled it out subtly in Genesis 3:15. (Bruised heel and crushed head).
Whether true or not, the simple fact is bible names have meanings and they tell a story. Jesus' name tells the story that He will save His people from their sins. More on that in a little while.