Summary: The name Jesus means, "God Saves." The name declares who Jesus is and what Jesus was born to do. Jesus saves us from our sins, but also for an abundant life.
Luke 2:21-40 “What’s In A Name?”
Names are very important to us. We are often admonished by parents to, “keep the family name,” which is translated, “don’t do anything stupid or illegal.” Some people go through life struggling with the name they were given, like the character in the Johnny Cash song, “A Boy Named Sue.” Other people have a name that fits them like a glove. For example, “The Donald.” Nicknames are common among us. Sometimes they are terms of endearment, while other times they are derogatory. Names often have more affect upon our lives then we give them credit for.
The importance of a name can be no more clearly seen than in the person of Jesus. His name is the gospel itself; it tells who he is and describes his mission in life.
HIS NAME IS JESUS
Jesus officially received his name when he was eight days old, at his circumcision ceremony. This was an ancient custom of the Jews that was adopted by the early Christians. Children were not named until they were baptized. Though Mary and Joseph named Jesus at this ceremony of dedication, the angel had already named Jesus when Mary was told that she would conceive and bear the Son of God.
Jesus’ name can be translated, “God saves.” The name, “Jesus” describes what the man, Jesus came into the world to accomplish. Jesus is our savior. Jesus died and rose again in order to save us from and for.
Most of the time, Christians talk about what Jesus has saved us from. Jesus was the sacrifice for our sinfulness. The penalty for sin is death. Jesus took our place and was crucified so that we would not suffer death—eternal separation from God, and might live. This is the salvation that Simeon and Anna talk about in the gospel story.
Jesus saves us from a life burdened by guilt and shame, and lived in the dark shadow of God’s impending judgment.
It is important to celebrate what Jesus has saved us from, but it is even more important to rejoice in what Jesus has saved us for.
Jesus saved us not only by dying for our sins, but also by being raised from the dead thus breaking the bonds of death and giving us victory and power.
Jesus saves us for a life lived in relationship with God. God invites us to call him father and he calls us his children.
Jesus saves us for a life lived in community. We are made members of God’s family. We become members of a faith community. We are no longer islands in the sea of life, but rather we are God’s people and the body of Christ.
Jesus saves us for a life of purpose and meaning. We no longer need to live make ends meet or to achieve our personal goals. We live to serve God and spread the kingdom of God. We have a purpose that is bigger than ourselves, and one that has eternal dimensions.
What’s in a name? A lot! When we talk about the name of Jesus, we talk about good news. God saves! Because of Jesus, our lives have been forever changed. Because of Jesus this New Year holds endless possibilities.