“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

William Shakespeare once penned the question: “What’s in a name?” This seems an appropriate question to ask as we begin a new year with the celebration of the name of Jesus. Around this time each year the Church commemorates the giving of the name of our Savior.

So what is in the name “Jesus”? Well, to understand that we must begin with Moses’ question to God concerning His name:

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” Exodus 3:13-14

From that time on God was known by the name “Yahweh”, which is Hebrew for “I AM”. The significance of His name is that God is eternal and never changing, i.e. He was, He is, and He will be (cp. Revelation 1:8).

In the Gospel according to Matthew, we learn that Yahweh sent His angel to instruct Joseph to give the son born to Mary the name, “Jesus”, for He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). The name “Jesus” is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew name “Joshua”. Both names in their own language mean “Yahweh saves”, an appropriate name for the baby who is God in human flesh. Yes, this name is a wonderful expression of the incarnation of our Lord, for we know that Yahweh and Jesus are one. Yahweh once saved His people from bondage in Egypt, now through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, Yahweh saves His people from their sins.

So what’s in a name? In the name of Jesus we have God’s plan for our salvation, for He has come in human flesh to be our Savior. Today, remember that you were baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, and as you begin this New Year remember:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

Have a great New Year in the Lord!

originally published at www.LCMSYoungAdultMinistry.org