One of the beauties of the Gospel accounts is that they give us some “back-story” surrounding the birth of our Savior. Luke, for instance, tells us about Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist; as well as the powerful revelation that Mary received from the Angel Gabriel. Matthew, on the other hand, allows us to gain insight into the encounter that Joseph had with an Angelic visitor in a dream; and the very important message that God had for him.
Matthew 1:21 NIV – “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.”
We are in the midst of the Christmas Holiday season. This entire season, both its blessing and controversy, is based upon the name that is in the middle of the Celebration: The Christ. Further, the name of JESUS…This name…THE NAME…was so important that the Angel of the Lord made sure that Joseph got it right. God sent His Messenger to assure that this baby boy, Mary’s son, was given THE NAME…JESUS! As Dr. Jack Hayford points out, throughout the Scriptures, a name is very important…
“In the Bible a name is much more than an identifier, as it tends to be in our culture. Personal names (and even place names) were formed from words that had their own meaning...The people of the Bible…believed there was a vital connection between the name and the person it identified, for a name somehow represented the nature of the person.
This means that the naming of a baby was very important in the Bible. In choosing a name, the parents could reflect the circumstances of the child’s birth, their own feelings, their gratitude to God, their hopes and prayers for the child, and their commitment of the child to God.” --Dr. Jack Hayford
For example, the name “Isaac” reflected the “laughter” at the birth of a son to an elderly couple (Genesis 21:6). Esau was named “hairy” because of his appearance (Genesis 25:25-26). Jacob was named “supplanter” because he grasped his twin brother’s heel at birth (Genesis 25:25-26). Moses received his name because he was “drawn out” of the water (Exodus 2:10). Both Isaiah and Hosea were instructed to give their children particular names because of the circumstances surrounding the nation at the time their children were born, and the manner in which God would deal with Israel.
Therefore, when the Messiah was finally given, His Heavenly Father also was reflecting on all that this child meant to all of Creation. In giving this name to this Child…THE NAME to THE CHILD… God was making a Christmas declaration that not only would travel through the corridors of time, but transcend it, because He gave Salvation a Name.
Romans 10:13 NIV - For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Dr. Tobey Montgomery