Today’s word is “JESUS” which is a pretty important advent word. Like THE word right!

Let’s look under the linguistic hood a little bit. Here’s the “syntactical note” from the NET Bible (New English Translation) on Matthew 1:21:

The Greek form of the name Ieœsous, which was translated into Latin as Jesus, is the same as the Hebrew Yeshua(Joshua), which means “Yahweh saves” (Yahweh is typically rendered as “Lord” in the OT). It was a fairly common name among Jews in first century Palestine, as references to a number of people by this name in the LXX and Josephus indicate.

So the angel says to a man who is wrestling with breaking off his engagement (in those days this required a divorce) with his beloved who’s trying to sell this story of her being pregnant with “God’s son”.

It appears to me at least that one of the confirmations that gave Joseph the faith to move forward was the NAME. Maybe Mary shared the name with him as a part of her story of the angel coming to her (See Luke 1:31). Maybe she didn’t share that part of the story and after Joseph was told what he was to name this child (after all the father was the one who had the right to name the child) there was a moment of confirmation. However it worked out, Joseph named him Jesus and never looked back.

But God didn’t choose a unique or even an unusual name. It was a common name, but in the commonness there was core meaning: The LORD (Yahweh – the covenant name of God) is Salvation or The LORD Saves. It’s like God is saying, “it’s all in the Name”. Of the hundreds of pages in Bible before Jesus, when the ULTIMATE revelation of God appears, the name is JESUS, Iesou, Ya-shuah, Joshua … the LORD saves.

There’s this old song, “there’s just something about that name”. That something is more than a magic arrangement of sounds because that varies in the three languages around in Jesus’ day and the many languages that speak his name today. It’s that God says, “yes, I will save you. And by the way, you definitely need saving. And if you wonder if you’ve gone to far, well saving isn’t just what I do, it’s WHO I AM… IT’S MY NAME.”

Sometimes we don’t have words to pray and in those times, maybe we can only manage one word: “Jesus”. His name is our prayer and guess what, we can count on God saying YES to that prayer!


— Ed Noble, Lead Pastor