“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (v. 21).
When a baby boy or girl is born, one of the big decisions for the parents is what to name the baby. What were the top Canadian baby names in 2013? The top names for boys were Liam, Jacob, and William, and the top names for girls were Emma, Olivia, and Sofia/Sophia. Babycenter.com has a list of unusual 2013 baby names. Some unusual boy baby names were Kashmere, Legend, and Cheese. Some unusual girl baby names were Oceana, Blip, and Fairy.
Joseph probably would have had enough sense not to name Mary’s son “Cheese,” but neither he nor Mary were permitted to name the baby boy. A name had already been chosen. The angel said to Joseph, “[Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (v. 21). Why was Joseph to give the baby the name “Jesus”?
There is a connection between the name of Jesus and the mission of Jesus.
The Name and Mission of Jesus
“When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but he knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus” (vv. 24-25; cf. Luke 2:21).
1. “Jesus” was a popular name.
“Jesus” was not a unique name. Many Jewish baby boys were given the same name. “Jesus” (Gk. Iesous) is the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Joshua” (Hb. Yeshua). The name means “Yahweh (the Lord) saves.”
2. “Jesus” was a prophetic name.
Mary’s son was to be named “Jesus” because “he [would] save his people from their sins” (v. 21). In Luke’s Gospel, the angel announced to the shepherds, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). As an adult, Jesus declared, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).
Jesus Was Born to Be a Savior
Throughout Jesus’ public ministry, people misunderstood the kind of salvation he came to bring. He was not born to bring political salvation; he was born to save people “from their sins” (v. 21). This is our greatest need.
We can be saved from the consequences of our sins because of Christ’s death and resurrection. He was punished so that we could be forgiven. He died so that we could have eternal life.
There is a big difference between Santa and Jesus. If you’re nice, Santa will bring you presents. But if you’re naughty, he’ll leave a lump of coal in your stocking. Jesus, on the other hand, gives salvation to all who repent of their sin and put their faith in him, whether they’ve been nice or naughty.