Read Matthew 1:18-25
Do you know how your parents came up with your name? Some parents just like the way that a name sounds. Others choose (or avoid) names based on someone else they knew by that name. I knew a family with the last name “Sweet.” They named two of their daughters “Very” and “Truly.” I guess you could also say, then, that some names are given to intentionally bring a smile or cause a laugh.
Meanwhile, biblical names often carry with them some kind of significance. They can, at times, serve as an identifying statement about the person that bears them.
Through our current devotional series, we are looking at the names for Jesus. Many of the names ascribed to Him give us insight into His character and the nature of His life mission. As Joseph contemplated what to do after learning of his wife’s pregnancy, He was assured by the angel that Mary’s pregnancy was the result of the Holy Spirit’s action…not that of another man. The angel also told Joseph about two names for his step son:
Jesus – In talking about names for Jesus, we may not expect that even that name has significance. It is more than just a random first-century name that sounds nice. It is the Greek equivalent of the Old Testament name Joshua. “Jesus,” you see, means “Jehovah is salvation.” Thus, His very name reminds us of man’s biggest problem and His life purpose …to “save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).
Immanuel – It was just two verses later that the angel also introduced a name that gave insight into the Savior’s identity. He is “Immanuel” or “God with us” (Matt. 1:25). We dare not forget that we worship one God (Deut. 6:4) who is three persons at the same time (Matt. 28:19). Jesus is the Son of God who became human (Jn. 1:1, 14; Phil. 2:5-11). His deity was demonstrated through more than His name. You can see it in His claims (Jn. 8:58), His abilities (Mk. 2:5-12), and His attributes (Jn. 1:48-51).
Both of these names are personal for you. Jesus entered into the world as one who not only knows what it is to be human but also as one who can divinely do something about your needs…even your greatest problem of sin. Jesus can save you! Immanuel is with you!
Questions to consider
- What does this name of Jesus mean to you?
- In what way does the truth of God being with you bring encouragement?
- What are some ways that you can provide encouragement to someone else through this name of Jesus?