Yeshua (ישוע) – Deliverer
In Judaism names have meanings. A name does more than merely identify someone. It speaks to their character, to their calling, and to the blessing that God has placed upon them. Abram was renamed by God so that he became Abraham, the father of many nations. Jacob became Israel because he had wrestled with God and had prevailed. Simon became Peter, the rock upon whom God would build His church.
The Son of God was named Jesus or, in Hebrew, “Yeshua” – which means God saves. In today’s Gospel we read:
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:18-21)
It was customary in Judaism to dedicate each male child to God on the eighth day after his birth. This was the time that the child was circumcised and was also given his name. This was true for Jesus. From Luke we read:
After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21)
God the Father wants to place us on the same footing as Jesus. Jesus received his name on the eighth day and the blessing of the Father. We are to receive that same blessing as well if we come under the name of Jesus. God does this through an adoption which occurs when we embrace Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Paul wrote in today’s Epistle:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. (Galatians 4:4-7)
God has always desired to bless His people and place His name on them. During the time of Moses He instructed His priests how to do this:
The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
“The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:27-28)
We are so blessed to have the name of our Lord placed upon us. We are called Christian because Jesus is making us into His image.
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)
When we receive the name of our Lord with humility and thanksgiving, God the Father places upon us the character and nature of Jesus.