And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 (NASB)
“What’s in a name?” A famous quote from a very famous William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. What IS in a name? A tradition carried down through generations becomes a good family name. Ernest becomes Ernest Jr. becomes Ernest lll (nicknamed Trey) and so on. Some where though the years that name may even get moved to the middle just to keep it in the family lineage.
It’s interesting in my family that my grandpa’s name is William Sidney and he went by Sid, my dad’s name is Sidney Richard and he goes by Rick, my brother’s name is Rikki Timothy and he goes by Tim. A tradition in our family. Picking out the names for my own two children I flipped their names at the last minute on the birth certificate and their already chosen middle names became their first names. I was so nervous to pick out what they would be called forever! Jarrod Andrew became Andrew Jarrod and Colleen Michele became Michele Colleen.
Picking out a baby’s name has become an industry. There are many books written on the subject, even websites. What does the name mean? What is it’s origin? When a new pop star comes on the horizon you will see an upsurge of babies named after that star. Remember Axel Rose from Guns’N Roses? During their popularity we had little boys named Axl running around my preschool.
Joseph was to give Jesus a simple and common name. It was an everyday name that was easy to say. Can you imagine if the angel told Joseph “and his name shall be Maher-shalal-hash-baz”? That was the name given to the second son of Isaiah. It means “hurry to spoil” or “he has made way to the plunder”. What would our hymns and Christmas songs sound like? Different that’s for sure!
The name Jesus means “Savior”. It is the same as the name Joshua in the old testament. It is a sweet precious name and the only name by which we must be saved. In Acts 4:12 we read “and there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (NASB) It is not politically correct these days to say there is no other way to heaven but it is biblically true. I would much rather be biblically true than politically correct!
Watching an old episode of the TV sitcom Maude this morning I was quite surprised to hear the topic of conversation between outspoken Maude and her next door neighbor Arthur. He was incredulous that the boy sitting on Maude’s couch had the name Jesus. She let him know the boy was from Venezuela and it was an honored tradition to name your boy after Jesus. It was a strong solid name. She pondered why we in America did not take up that tradition. She said we would have been better off for it. This was extreme dialogue coming from a politically incorrect for it’s time sitcom! There is no other name like Jesus. Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace. Just saying the name bring power, peace, calm and joy. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and tongue will confess that He is Lord.
It always breaks my heart to hear the name of Jesus taken in vain. When people do that they have no idea what they are doing and how they are maligning the greatest name ever uttered. Jesus is an exalted name. Even when we hear people pray in any given foreign language we can usually pick out the name Jesus. Jezuz, Isus, Isa, Yesu, Xesus, Gesu, Iosa, Yeshua all the honored name of Jesus. It is unmistakeable.
I will leave you with the lyrics of one of the sweetest songs composed about that name. Written by Bill & Gloria Gaither in 1970 this simple chorus has been my theme song.
Jesus Jesus Jesus there’s just something about that name. Master Savior Jesus like the fragrance after the rain. Jesus Jesus Jesus let all heaven and earth proclaim. Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away but there’s something about that name.