Have you ever wondered about names and what they mean? In some cultures a name is very significant and tells a lot about a person. That is true with names in the Bible. ‘Abram’ (‘father of high places) had his name changed to ‘Abraham’ (‘father of many nations’) when God promised the Jewish nation would come from him. ‘Sari’ (‘contentions’) was changed to ‘Sarah’ (‘princess, sweet gentle’) when she let God change her. Names in the Bible are important because they reveal truths about the character of the person. This is true of God as well (Exodus 3:13) and explains why He has so many and varied names (Exodus 6:2-3).
Before Jesus was born God chose His name to be ‘Jesus’ (Luke 1:29-33; Matthew 1:20-25). ‘Jesus’ was a common name because it was the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew name ‘Joshua.’ Many parents wanted their son to grow up to be a courageous leader for God like Joshua so it was a common name. Like Joshua, Jesus led those who follow Him to victory. The word ‘Jesus/Joshua’ basically means “Jehovah saves” and speaks of Him as our deliverer. That’s why God chose that name for His son.
In addition to the Joshua who led the Jews into the land there was a high priest named ‘Jeshua’ which is another form of the same name (Ezra 3:1-9). He was a high priest following the Jews’ return from captivity in Babylon. The high priest carried the guilt for the people’s sins in a symbolic way, Jesus did it in a real way as our sin-bearer (Hebrews 4:14-16; 9:6-28).
The same name appears as ‘Hosea’ in English, which also means ‘Jehovah saves.’ Hosea is a perfect picture of God’s love for us in that his wife left him for others but despite her unfaithfulness He paid the price to buy her back and restore her as his wife (book of Hosea). That, too, is a picture of Jesus who redeemed us, who bought us back from our sin (Galatians 3:10-14).
Jesus is the most common and familiar name used of God in human form in the Old Testament of the more than 300 names and titles, it is the most common, used about 550 times. It is truly a very significant name because it is a saving name (John 20:31). There is no other name we can call upon for salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). We can’t call upon Mohammed or Buddha to save us. We can’t call upon our good works to earn our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is only the name ‘Jesus’ that brings salvation.
The name ‘Jesus’ is a satisfying name (John 14:1-14). How many people in the last 2,000 years have called upon that name to help them in a time of sorrow? Also it is a strengthening name (Acts 3:6, 16). Strength for healing, for daily life, for whatever we face comes through Jesus. That’s because ‘Jesus’ is above all a supreme name (Philippians 2:9-10; Acts 16:18). Satan and demons must yield and submit to the name of Jesus.
Personally, I know it is a sweet name, the sweetest name ever (John 9:11). What thoughts and emotions come to you when you think of the name ‘Jesus’? How many times have you used that name in worship or prayer? It is sweet to all God’s people, that’s why there have been thousands of songs written about that name. ‘Jesus.’ There isn’t a better word in any language than ‘Jesus.’
‘Jesus’ means ‘deliverer, savior.’ Make a list of as many things as you can think from which Jesus has delivered you. Pray and thank Him for each one individually.
BIBLE STUDY ASSIGNMENT
One of the best ways to get more out of a Bible passage you study is to put yourself in the place of the person who first read the passage, the ones it was written for. For example, Luke wrote Acts 16:16-18 to a man named Theopholis. He was a Christian living in Paul’s time who wanted to know more about Jesus. What would he have thought about Paul casting out a demon in Jesus’ name? If you were him and could have asked Luke questions about what he wrote, what would you have asked? I would have asked Paul why he didn’t cast out the demon right away? What was he feeling when he was ‘troubled’ – sorrow for the girl, anger at Satan, frustrated at the interruptions or what? Did the girl know it was a demon speaking through her or was she surprised when Paul talked to her in this way? Did the demon ever try to return? Where did the demon go when he left her? What did Paul do to help you afterwards? We may not know the answer to these questions, but asking them helps the passage come alive and give us greater insight into what the Scripture says.
Before reading the next blog read Luke 9:18-27 and put yourself in the place of the person who read this – also written by Luke to Theopholis. What questions do you have about this passage? What would you have liked to ask Luke if he were there?
For more blogs and Bible articles go to http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. If you have questions or comments you can email Jerry at email@example.com.