The Meaning of the Name Jesus Christ
By Scott Ashley
What does "Jesus" mean? How did He receive that name? Did Joseph and Mary choose it because they liked the sound of it? Was it the name of a relative or family member? Why was Jesus named "Jesus"?
In Matthew 1 we find that Mary was discovered to be pregnant during her engagement to Joseph. Joseph, not wanting to embarrass this young woman he loved, was considering how to best handle the difficult situation.
"But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins'" (Matthew 1 verses 20, 21).
The New Testament was written in Greek, and the name "Jesus" here means the same in Greek as the Hebrew name "Joshua." "Joshua" means literally God is salvation. So the angel's message to Joseph was "You shall call His name 'God is salvation,' for He will save His people from their sins." That name tells us of Jesus' purpose in God's plan-that it is through Him that God saves humanity.
Excerpted from "The Meaning of the Name Jesus Christ," The Good News January/February 1996, ©1996-2001 United Church of God, an International Association.
Reprinted with permission.
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"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." — Matt 1:23