“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
– Matthew 1:21 NASB
Matthew is reporting here what the angel of the Lord said to Joseph when Joseph learned that Mary was with child by the Holy Spirit while they were engaged – that is, before they were actually married. Joseph thought he should quietly bow out of the marriage, but God wanted him to follow through. In making this point, the angel was telling Joseph that this child was the one that had been repeatedly promised for so long by God’s prophets in what we call the Old Testament. In other words, Mary was going to be the means by which the long-awaited Messiah would be birthed into the world.
Even in the few weeks we’ve been doing these daily devotionals, you’ve already heard some of these Old Testament prophecies of Messiah. He was “the chief corner stone” in Psalm 118:22, “the lamb” in Isaiah 53:7, “the Branch” in Jeremiah 23:5, and the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” all in Isaiah 9:6. And, of course, this has only been a small sampling of Messianic references in the Old Testament. What was about to happen with Mary and Joseph had enormous implications for the whole world, and it justified an angel appearing to Joseph in a dream.
For the previous three days, I’ve emphasized the Lord Jesus being “Savior” and “saving” us and bringing “salvation.” Today I want you to see just how deeply this concept is embedded in the mission of Jesus. It is, in fact, embedded in His name.
The English name “Jesus” comes from the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Joshua.” If you’re thinking in Hebrew terms, therefore, the angel was saying to Joseph, “You shall call His name Joshua, for He will save His people from their sins.” In Hebrew, “Joshua” is a combination of “The Lord” and “saves.” Thus, the name “Joshua” literally means “The Lord saves.”
Therefore, God chose a name for His earthly life that would – in and of itself – communicate His mission to save. He did not come to destroy – He came to repair. Let Him.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Father in heaven, my sins have brought corruption into my life and into the lives of those around me. Forgive me my sins as I forgive those who have sinned against me. Lead me today to live for Your will and not my own…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.