Last year I started the blog series “Who Is Jesus” (see the Categories list in the righthand column of the blog). In the first post of the series ( “Who Is Jesus? Really”) I said that there are 200 or so names and titles that give us insight into Jesus’ character. Those names include Christ, Alpha and Omega, Son of man, the Lamb of God, Lion of Judah, and others. However In all my writing I have never written about the name Jesus which is the Hebrew name Savior. I wrote that Jesus is our Savior but never what the name itself means.
In my reading today I read this excerpt adapted from J. C. Ryke’s Gospel of Matthew,
What Does the Name of Jesus Mean?
J. C. Ryle
The name Jesus means "Savior." It is the same name as Joshua* in the Old Testament.
It is given to our Lord because "He saves His people from their sins." This is His special role. He saves them from the guilt of sin, by cleansing them in His own atoning blood. He saves them from the dominion of sin by putting in their hearts the sanctifying Spirit. He saves them from the presence of sin, when He takes them out of this world to rest with Him. He will save them from all the consequences of sin, when He shall give them a glorious body at the last day.
Jesus is a very encouraging name to weighted-down sinners. He, who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, might lawfully have taken some more high-sounding title. But He does not do so. The rulers of this world have often called themselves great, conquerors, bold, magnificent, and the like. The Son of God is content to call Himself Savior. Those seeking salvation may draw near to the Father with boldness, and have access with confidence through Christ. It is His role and His delight to show mercy. "For God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him" (John 3:17).
Jesus is a name, which is especially sweet and precious to believers. It has often done them good. It has given them what money cannot buy - that is, inward peace. It has eased their wearied consciences and given rest to their heavy hearts. The Song of Solomon describes the experience of many, when it says, "Your name is oil poured forth" (Song of Solomon 1:3). Happy is the person who trusts not merely in vague notions of God's mercy and goodness, but in "Jesus."
Adapted from The Gospel of Matthew by J.C. Ryle (Chapter 1).
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*Editor’s Note: The English name "Joshua" is a rendering of the Hebrew language "Yehoshua", meaning "Yahweh is salvation".The vocalization of the second name component may be read as Hoshea—the name used in the Torah before Moses added the divine name (Numbers 13:16).
"Jesus" is the English derivative of the Greek transliteration of "Yehoshua" via Latin. In the Septuagint, all instances of the word "Yehoshua" are rendered as "Ἰησοῦς" (Iēsoūs), the closest Greek pronunciation of the Aramaic: ישוע Yeshua, Nehemiah 8:17). Thus, in Greek, Joshua is called "Jesus son of Naue" (τοῦ Ναυή) to differentiate him from Jesus Christ. This is also true in the Slavic languages following the Eastern Orthodox tradition (e.g. "Иисус Навин" (Iisús Navín) in Bulgarian and Russian). From Wikipedia
The Greek name Yehoshua or Ἰησοῦς is mentioned three times in the Septuagint. They are Joshua, Justus (Colossians 4:11 NLT Jesus (the one we call Justus) also sends his greetings. These are the only Jewish believers among my co-workers; they are working with me here for the Kingdom of God. And what a comfort they have been! ), and Jesus Christ.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.