“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
Jesus was born into a Jewish family. His name in Hebrew is yeshua. Its root word means salvation. It is derived from yehoshua—joshua in English—which includes the abbreviation of God’s sacred name—yah (jah in English). Thus, it means God’s salvation.
There is unique verse in Proverbs 30:4 which asks several implicative questions about the names of two magnificent persons:
“Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if you can tell?”
The first four answers are easy. Obviously, they can only refer to jehovah, God the Creator. No one else can hold the wind in His hands, or gather the oceans like a garment, or form the foundations of the earth. The curious question: “What is his son’s Name?” It was apparent that even centuries before prophets like Isaiah, God had already revealed that He would have a Son!
We know who His Son is, and we know His name—jesus! And we are told in Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given unto men whereby we must be saved”—but the name of Jesus! His name was first spoken to Mary by the angel Gabriel when he told her of the glorious child she would conceive by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:25-34). Then Joseph received an angelic dream to confirm to him that he was to marry Mary, because the child she carried was truly the Son of God. He was also told that the child’s name was to be jesus (Matt. 1:18-21). This served as a witness to his heart that Mary had spoken the truth.
The fact is, Jesus—Yeshua was a common name in that time. This is why the Scriptures later often refer to Him as “Jesus of Nazareth” so as to differentiate. But something powerful took place at Calvary that catapulted the name of Jesus the Messiah to the ultimate Author and Perfector of salvation, because Jesus was obedient to the mission His Father sent Him to do:
“He took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:7-11).
The Angel called Him “Jesus”— but we can call Him “Lord!”
The Greatest Mystery in A Name
“Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call his name emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:22-23).
Herein is the greatest Old Testament prophecy revealed in the New: god with us! Isaiah prophesied of emmanuel 700 years before the birth of Jesus (Isa. 7:14). What a glorious promise: God would come down and dwell with men! But the prophets of old never saw the greater mystery unveiled through Apostle Paul:
“Even the mystery which had been hidden from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints. To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:26-27). Jesus is not only “God with us—but God in us!”
The Gospel of John declares: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.” Paul said that Jesus made Himself of no reputation, laid aside His deity, and was made in the likeness of men, and was “…tempted in all points like as we, but without sin, to be a merciful High Priest to us…. able to be touched with the feelings of our infirmities…. able to succor us in our temptations” (Hebrews 2:16-18, 4:15-16).
No wonder Paul exulted: “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh!” (1Tim. 3:16). He is emmanuel—Christ with us!— Christ for us! But the greater glory is Christ in us! The prophets prophesied Messiah would live among us, but they did not know He would live in us by His Spirit. This is the secret of the victorious Christian life. It is our union with Christ that enables us to live holy, without sin and condemnation: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
When Paul stood before the philosophers of Athens, surrounded by their temples to many gods including “the unknown God,” he told them who the unknown God is—the Creator of all living beings: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being…” (Acts 17:22-29).
Perhaps before you were born again, you never thought you could live the Christian life, and this is the case for multitudes living in sin today. When they try to imagine living a godly life and giving up all their sins, they know they can’t do it, so they figure there’s no point in becoming a Christian. But what they do not reckon is the power of the Gospel to transform the sinner (Rom. 1:16). They do not understand they will receive the Spirit of God’s Son into their hearts that gives them the power to live right (John 1:12, Gal.4:6). They do not understand Christ in me! The source of our victory is hidden to the world. Paul wrote in Colossians 3:1-4 of the hidden life of Christians and said:
“For you are dead…” (to the world and sin), “…and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.”
Because it is Christ in us—the hope of glory!