What Does the Name of Jesus Mean?

Today we begin a four part series adapted from a December 2022 sermon by Alistair Begg.

When the angel visited Mary and Joseph to announce the birth of the Messiah, he gave clear instructions concerning the child’s name: “You shall call his name Jesus” (Matt. 1:21; Luke 1:31). Christ has many glorious names: King, Creator, Lord, Judge, Son of God, Son of David, Master, I Am, the First and the Last, etc. But the angel commanded that a very specific name be given Him at His birth—and we may wonder at the intention behind that choice. Why “Jesus”?

The name itself was not an unusual name. In fact, it is the Hellenized version of the Old Testament name Joshua. In Hebrew, it is Yeshua, and simply translated, it means “The Lord saves.” So of all the glorious names He might have been given, the name that would mark out the incarnate Son of God would be that which describes Him as Savior. Jesus’ name communicates His purpose: “for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). As Peter would later proclaim, “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

While Jesus’ name and ministry invite people into grace, many do not respond to Jesus Himself with warmth. His name is precious, yet so many treat it as peripheral, or even profane. During this Christmas season, then, we ought to ask ourselves, “What does the name Jesus mean to me?”

This article was adapted from the sermon “The Name of Jesus” by Alistair Begg.

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