If first impressions count for anything, then the personal name God gave His Son is paramount. That’s right. Neither Mary nor Joseph chose the name. In fact, both Mary and Joseph received the same instructions.
After Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, the angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her she will conceive a son by the Holy Spirit and that she shall “name him Jesus” (Luke 1:31). Then, when Joseph learned his bride-to-be was with child, he decided to break the engagement quietly. But an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus” (Matthew 1:20–21).
Of all the prestigious names God could have chosen from the annals of Israel’s history, He chose Jesus—a shortened form of Joshua—which signifies: SAVIOUR
That Jesus came to save is the essence of His message. His first impression! The word of salvation is God’s first word to us through the personal name of His Son. Christ’s first step toward us is not as our Creator and King. It's as our loyal, merciful, fierce, loving Saviour.
We need saving from many things—demons, depression, distress, deceit, death—but the angel specified why Joseph must name Him Jesus, “for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Receiving God’s forgiveness and having God’s favour is the solution of all solutions.
Without God, no other solution truly lasts.
With God, all other problems eventually fade.
Jesus came to save us, first and foremost, from our sin and separation from God. Yet, in saving us from our biggest problem, He satisfies our deepest longings—transferring to us “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:3).
That’s why we celebrate Christmas. Divine love descended. Eternal hope arrived. Endless joy awaits. God took action, and heaven erupted with a new song. Don’t you wish you could have stood among the shepherds to hear the first Christmas concert?
Insight for Living Canada is celebrating the significance of the Christmas season with you. Because of this joyous holiday, many choose to give generously in December. Will you please include us in your monthly giving to help spread the joy of Christmas? Your donations to Insight for Living Canada give wings to Jesus’ saving message. It’s such a privilege to be partakers of the Good News and to work with you in sharing it with others. Day in, day out, we proclaim and teach the only name in which salvation is found.
Because of Him, you can shout with Mary, “How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! ... The Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me” (Luke 1:47, 49). May you find fresh joy in your salvation this season.
Rejoicing in our wonderful, merciful Saviour,
Pastor Charles R. Swindoll