I’ve been thinking a lot lately about baby names. The first question I ask an expectant mom is if she has picked a name for her baby. I’ve noticed there is more interest in searching the meaning of names in order to select that perfect name. Parents want to give a name that will bring honor to their child. But I wonder… can any child live up to such a name?
There are so many things I love about the name Jesus. I love the way it brings tears to my eyes when I say it. I love the quiver in my heart each time I hear it spoken. I love the strength it brings much like in the movie Narnia when the King called his troops to battle and they chant, “For Narnia! For Narnia!” Even in the movie theater our hearts begin to surge with an unseen but strongly felt power. That’s what I love about His name. When in weak moments, I can say, “Jesus! Jesus!” and His power surges through my entire body rallying me to go on.
I even love the way His enemies cringe at His name. Have you ever been witnessing and instead of saying ‘God’ you begin to use His name Jesus. The resistance level rises and often anger snorts from their nostrils. I think at times I can see fire in their eyes. No other name elicits such a response. No other name is forbidden to be uttered in public places. It is now acceptable to pray publicly to any other god but not in the name of Jesus. All these things assure me of one thing, the name of Jesus is a strong and mighty weapon the enemy hates.
But why? It’s really a common name. Jesus’ proper name derives from the Hebrew “Joshua,” meaning “Yahweh saves” or “salvation is from Yahweh.” Joshua has been a popular baby name in this country for years. I’m looking out my window as I type and I see a Joshua doing yard work three houses down the street while a little boy named Jesus is playing basketball with his cousins in the park across the street. These two carry the same name but something is missing in comparison. Mary was told by Gabriel to give her baby the common name Jesus. God then took what was common and made it divine.
Jesus the Messiah was the only Joshua to live up to the meaning of His name. The angel told Joseph( recorded in Matthew 1:21), “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.” Jesus lived His entire life focused on saving His people. Without His perfect sinless life and sacrifice on the cross we would not have our Christian faith. The person Buddha is not essential to the teaching of Buddhism nor is the person Mohammed essential to the Islamic faith. Yet everything about Christianity rises or falls in the person of Jesus Christ. He did not just carry the name, He became the name.
Because of His obedience to His name, we can live under the protection of that name. John 17:11 Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.” We have been given the most amazing one word prayer, “Jesus.” All the power of the universe is in that name. It is that power that His enemies hate. For centuries they have tried to dishonor and eradicate His name but they will never succeed. His name will endure, for you can not separate Him from His name. He is Yahweh Saves and someday mankind will confess that name.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2:9-11
This Christmas as you look at the manger replica, imagine Mary as she takes the swaddling clothes and wraps them around His body saying, “You are Jesus for you will save us from our sins.” She kisses His sweet head and says, “You are Jesus for you will protect your children.” She lays Him in the manger and declares, “You are Jesus for everyone throughout time will someday bow and confess you as Lord.”