She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:21-23)
In our passage today, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and instructed him to name his stepson “Jesus,” which means “Jehovah is salvation” or “the salvation of Yahweh.” Jesus is not a common name nowadays, at least not in the United States. Many of us rightly see it as a sacred name, but in the ﬁrst century, Jesus was not a rare name. In fact, when Jesus was on trial before His crucifixion, Pilate asked the people whether he should release the robber “Jesus Barabbas” (literally, Jesus, son of the father) or “Jesus, who is called the Messiah” (oddly enough, also, is Jesus, Son of the Father). Our Savior was not the only person on the block named Jesus, but He was the only one who perfectly embodied that name. He manifested the message of His name by saving us, His people, from our sins.
While some people don’t consider the naming process as an important one, God chose to make the naming of His Son central to the mission of the Son. So, He sent an angel to deliver the message. Unlike every other Jesus in the world at the time, Christ alone was miraculously born of a virgin. He alone saved us from our sins. He alone could be called Immanuel, “God with us.” Generation after generation of God’s people waited anxiously for the coming Messiah. Hundreds of years passed between the time when the prophecies were ﬁrst announced and the eventual birth of Christ. We are blessed to be where we are on the timeline, because we know His name and His ministry, as well as the riches of His salvation.
- When was a time when you felt the most alone? What kind of feeling accompanied the loneliness?
- What are some moments in life when you needed to be reminded that Jesus is Immanuel, God with us?