His Name

The name Jesus means the salvation of Yahweh for, in him, the salvation and everlasting life promised to Israel has arrived – Matthew 1:18-21. 

Jesus - Photo by Bruno Martins on Unsplash
An angel appeared to Joseph and informed him that Mary was with child “begotten of the Holy Spirit.” He instructed him to name the child “Jesus.” That name is most appropriate. As the angel himself declared, “he will save his people from their sins.” This name links him forever to the saving act that God accomplished for His people in accordance with Scripture - [Photo by Bruno Martins on Unsplash].

When his name is spelled ‘Jesus,’ it is the anglicized form of the Aramaic name ‘Joshua’ or ‘Yeshua,’ which is the shortened and popular form of the older Hebrew name ‘Ye-hoshua.’
  • (Matthew 1:20-21) - “Now, when he had pondered these things, behold, by dream, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David! Fear not to take unto you Mary your wife, for that in her has been begotten is of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, she will bring forth a son, and YOU WILL CALL HIS NAME JESUS, FOR HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.


In the very first verse of Matthew, Jesus is identified as the “son of Abraham.” This was more than just one name among many listed in a genealogy. Not only was he the biological descendant of Abraham, but he also came to fulfill the covenantal promises made to the Patriarch, and this gospel account demonstrates it in several ways.

For example, the announcement to Joseph is conceptually parallel to the prediction made to Abraham about his firstborn son by Sarah, which occurred when he was ninety-nine years old, and Sarah was ninety. Though not a virgin, she was well beyond childbearing age, making her pregnancy a miracle.

And like the angel’s announcement to Joseph, Abraham received his son’s name by divine appointment:
  • (Genesis 17:19) – “And God said, Nay, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son; and you will call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his seed after him.

In the Old Testament, the name ‘Jesus’ or ‘Joshua’ appears first in Exodus - “And Moses said to Joshua, choose for us men and go out, fight with Amalek.” That man’s original name was ‘Hoshea,’ the “son of Nun,” and one of the twelve men sent by Moses to spy out the land of Canaan. Later, his name was changed from ‘Hoshea’ to ‘Joshua’ - (Numbers 13:1-8, Exodus 17:9).

Hoshea’ means “salvation, deliverance, help.” It is derived from the Hebrew verb for “save, help, deliver” or yasha (Strong’s - #H3467). Compare its usage in the following passages:
  • (Exodus 14:30) - “Thus Yahweh saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians.
  • (Deuteronomy 20:4) - “For Yahweh your God is the one who goes with you …to save you.”

Moses changed the name by prefixing the first syllable from the Hebrew name for God or Yahweh to Hoshea, resulting in Ye-hoshua.

In several of the later books of the Hebrew Bible, the second syllable of Ye-hoshua is dropped, and the name is contracted to Yeshua. The change reflects growing Aramaic influences on the Jewish people after the Babylonian Captivity - (Nehemiah 8:17, Ezra 2:2).


Thus, the name ‘Jesus’ means more than simply “savior.” It combines the name Yahweh with the Hebrew word for “save” or “salvation,” and thus it means “Yahweh saves,” or possibly “salvation of Yahweh.” The promised salvation of the One God of Israel came to fruition in his Messiah - ‘Jesus.’

Lighthouse on Beach - Photo by Marian Hahne on Unsplash
[Photo by Marian Hahne on Unsplash]

The announcement that “he would save his people from their sins” echoes key themes from the “Servant’s Song” of Isaiah, and deliberately so:
  • (Isaiah 53:5) – “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our sins; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and WITH HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED.”
  • (Isaiah 53:10-11) – “Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you will make his soul an offering for sin, he will see his seed, he will prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahweh will prosper in his hand. He will see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by the knowledge of himself WILL MY RIGHTEOUS SERVANT JUSTIFY MANY, AND HE WILL CARRY THEIR SINS.”

The genealogy of Jesus presented in Matthew begins with Abraham, the Great Patriarch, and the progenitor of Israel. Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, is the “son of Abraham,” the promised “seed” who fulfills the covenant promises.

Likewise, he is the “son of David,” the prophesied “Messiah” - ‘Jesus’ - the one who brings the “salvation of Yahweh” and removes the stain of sin from his “people.”

And he is the Greater Joshua, the national leader who delivers the saints from bondage to Satan and leads them into the true and greater “Promised Land” in the Kingdom of God.



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