Day 1- Jesus

Although this may seem obvious, I’m beginning this journey with the name given to both Joseph and Mary by an Angel for the baby about to be born to them…

“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  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 1:20-21

“Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, his kingdom will never end.”  Luke 1:30-33

The name given to the One who was promised from long ago, is Jesus.  Having just gone through the naming process for our third son on the way, I can’t imagine the whole thing being dictated to me by an angel of God!  To be told what to name my son and furthermore, what he will be born to do, is incredible.  Right now we can only wonder what our little guy will grow up to be or the person he’ll be, but Mary and Joseph were given some inside info before he even took his first breath just by way of the name God chose for him.  

Jesus is a transliteration of the Hebrew “Joshua” meaning “Jehovah is salvation” or “is the Savior” and was a common name among the Jews.  But at the incarnation, when Jesus (who is the Son of God) was born, it was a name given to him as a personal name in obedience to what the angel told Mary and Joseph.  His name means “God Saves” and that further explains what the angel meant when he told Joseph “he will save his people from their sins” and to Mary, “He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, his kingdom will never end.”  Jesus was born to save and like Joshua before him, he would lead his people into another promised land, conquering their enemies forever.  In the history of Israel, Joshua was a great warrior and leader who led the people out of the wilderness and into the land that God had promised and provided for them.  He took the people into battle and they defeated their strong and powerful enemies because the Lord was faithful and Joshua was obedient.  (Joshua 1:6-9, the whole account is found in the book of Joshua)  The name Jesus would remind the people of their past deliverance, but because this Jesus was the Son of the Most High, he was and is greater than Joshua.  He came not to save his people so they could inherit better land, but to rescue us and deliver us from our greatest enemy of all, sin, and to lead us into our Eternal promised land- Heaven -to dwell with Him forever.  He came to rescue us and to deliver us from an enemy we can’t slay on our own.  

Colossians 1:13 says, “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son He loves.” 

So while the name Jesus may have seemed common to some, it actually held enormous power and promise because of the person of Jesus.  A God who saves, named Jesus, is more powerful than a man who is named after a God who saves (Joshua).  Is that confusing?  I hope not.  Because Jesus is the Son of God, there is power in his name that is not in any other name.  When the name Jesus was given to HIM, it became unlike any other.  He became salvation and His name reflects that.  

The greatest and most obvious thing that He saves us from is sin.  We’re all born with it, we can’t do anything about it, and if we don’t accept his rescue, we will die from it.  But God in his great mercy knew that and He didn’t leave us without an escape plan.  He sent Jesus to be our rescuer, our deliverer, and our Savior.  And he offered himself to every man, woman and child for all time, when he stretched his arms out on the cross and absorbed the wrath of God in our place.  Because our sin demands the penalty of death and only perfection (being without sin) can erase it, He lowered himself to become human like us.  He stood before God the Father- our judge, in His perfection as  the Son of God, representing humanity as the Son of Man, and he took the punishment for us.  His blood would pay the price we couldn’t pay and in that amazing act of love, He exchanged our sin for his righteousness.  He saves us from the eternal punishment that our sin demands.  He declares us innocent and even more than that, He covers us in His righteousness now.  HE DOES ALL OF THAT.  The only part we play?  We have to agree, believe, and accept.  Agree that we are sinners, confessing the offenses we bring before a Holy God, admitting that we can’t get rid of our sin problem alone.  We have to believe that He can get rid of our sin and by dying on the cross and overcoming death in the grave, He did!  We have to accept the gift of salvation that He offers us freely.  We can’t work for it, prove that we deserve it, or kill ourselves not to lose it.  We simply accept it as is, a gift we can’t repay and we don’t deserve.  And then?  We rest in His ability to save and not in ours.  

Do you know what the Bible says about the name of Jesus? 

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

His name is salvation and His name only.  We don’t cry out to any other to save us, only Jesus.  Because His name is so powerful, it’s also divisive.  Since the day He came, people have either hated Him, loved Him, or tried to dismiss Him.  Many will not believe His claims or admit they need saving.  To bring up the name of Jesus is to immediately take a stand that is either for Him or against Him.  And yet, he asks us in Matthew 16:15, “Who do YOU say that I am?”  Because the answer to that question determines everything for us.  If he’s no more than a good person or a historical figure, than our sin has not been atoned for and we stand opposed to God as His enemy.  We will face judgement for our sin and when that day comes, we will not stand as a child of God, saved and purchased forever, but instead as condemned.  He came to save, He did save, and He does save.  Our past, present and future are secure when we turn to HIM for that salvation.  Not when we rely on our morality, or try to rationalize that the good things we do outweigh the bad, or if we come before Him holding on to the coat tails of anyone else.  His name alone demands that we draw a line in the sand.  Either we are for Him or we are against Him.  

So today, on the first day of this study, we are already confronted by the power of His name and given a choice.  Who will YOU say that He is?  Will you believe what His name says, that He is the God who saves??  

He is Jesus...the name above all whom salvation is found...the only name we come to the Father in.  

I think there are helpful questions to consider when thinking about the name of Jesus.  

-Do I really believe that I need saving? 
See Romans 3:23, Romans 5:6-8

-If I do need saving, is Jesus the one I am looking to for salvation? 
See John 14:6, Philippians 3:7-11

-When it comes to sin, why does the salvation that Jesus offers, matter? 
See Romans 8:1-4, Ephesians 2:11-22

-Am I trusting in Jesus alone to save me or am I also trying to work for it?  To be better?  To deserve it more?  To offer God something in exchange for the salvation He’s offered me?  
See Ephesians 2:8-9

-Who do I say that Jesus is? 

Today these questions can be answered for you.  Jesus can answer every single one and you can rest in what He says.  Maybe if you’re like me, you have reconciled who Jesus is and you believe that He came to save YOU just like I believe that He came to save ME.   But I still find myself looking for a savior in other areas of my life.  Maybe in your finances, you’re hoping and looking for some kind of salvation.  Maybe it’s in a struggling marriage that you need someone to step in and save?  Maybe it’s your job (or the lack of a job) that needs saving?  Whatever it is for you, Jesus is still the answer.  Because He is Savior, he took care of your past, he’s secured your future and therefore, you can trust Him in the present with whatever you face.  It’s true that His salvation is complete and sure, but it’s also ongoing.  We can and should look to Him every single day for whatever we need to be saved from because He can deliver.  His Word answers every need we have and the good news of the Gospel brings hope and a rescue to every situation.  

The name given to Jesus is powerful, isn’t it?  
God Saves.  

That’s my prayer for you and for me.  That I’ll look to Him for my salvation.  That I’ll turn to Him for my rescue.  That I’ll equate salvation with no one else, but Jesus.  When I’m tempted to trust in the latest thing out there or to rely on someone I love to be everything I need them to be, I hope I’ll remember that apart from Jesus himself, everything else is a lousy savior.  No one else has a name like His, no one else was born to save His people, and no one else who has ever claimed to be a savior is still alive today like He is.  

So let’s run to Him to be saved.  Let’s examine everything we let into our life and our way of thinking and let’s make sure it’s not taking the rightful place of the only one who can save.  Relationships, retirement plans, fitness lifestyles, great writers and teachers, science claims…

NONE of it holds a candle to the name of Jesus.  NONE.  

With My Kids Today…

Today with my kids, I’m simply reinforcing the truth that the name Jesus means, God saves! I’ve got the perfect opportunity to talk about names because we’ve just named our little guy and we are anticipating his arrival.  You could bring up naming your own child and tell them how you chose their name and then explain how Jesus got his name too.  Obviously the ages of your kids determines how much you want to share or how in depth you want to go, but if you’ve got kids of any age I’m challenging you (and me) to share this one truth with them today.  Bring it up in a conversation, re-read the account of Mary and Joseph, find a great worship song in your i-tunes playlist that talks about this (“Our God Saves” by Paul Baloche would be a great one or "Thank You God For Saving Me" by Chris Tomlin and Phil Wickham is amazing.) This is how we impress God’s word on their hearts.  One conversation, one little choice, one specific action at a time.  Even 5 minutes a day can have eternal implications for our kids!  

Talk to Jesus today and thank Him for being a God who saves.  
Thanks for joining me in this first name of Jesus.  It was a big one!  Have a blessed day! 

**Some of my notes are from and from the book "The Name Above Every Name: 40-Day Spiritual Discovery" from Grace Church, Eden Prairie and various contributors. All scripture is from the NIV translation.** 

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