Jesus is one of the most well-known figures in human history, but there are many questions surrounding his origins and identity. One such question is: who gave Jesus his name? Let’s explore this topic in more detail.
The Meaning Behind the Name ‘Jesus’
In Hebrew, the name ‘Jesus’ is ‘Yeshua’ or ‘Yehoshua’, meaning ‘Yahweh is salvation’ or ‘Yahweh delivers’. It was a common name among Jews during the time of Jesus’ birth. The Greek form of the name is ‘Iesous’. In English, it became ‘Jesus’.
So the name Jesus/Yeshua communicates that God (Yahweh) is the source of salvation and deliverance. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and revealed she would give birth to the Messiah, he specified she was to name her child Jesus:
“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus” (Luke 1:31).
Likewise, an angel instructed Joseph in a dream to name Mary’s child ‘Jesus’ (Matthew 1:21). So God himself gave Jesus his name, which indicates the purpose and mission of Christ’s coming – to bring salvation.
Jewish Customs Regarding Names
In Jewish culture of the 1st century, naming a child was the father’s responsibility. Eight days after birth, a baby boy would be circumcised and formally named during a religious ceremony called brit milah.
Normally, Jewish boys were given names from the Hebrew Scriptures, often a name shared by an ancestor or other biblical figure. Common names included Yochanan (John), Ya’akov (James), Yosef (Joseph), Moshe (Moses) etc.
Naming a child was seen as a prophetic act, declaring the child’s identity and purpose. This is evident in Jesus’ name, which proclaims his mission of salvation.
Jesus’ Name Announced Before His Birth
Jesus’ name was not decided post-birth by Mary and Joseph. It had been foretold by the angel Gabriel around 6 months prior, when he visited Mary to announce she would miraculously conceive despite being a virgin.
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus” (Luke 1:30-31).
So even before conceiving, Mary knew her child’s name and the meaning behind it. This name had been chosen and bestowed by God.
Fulfilling Isaiah’s Prophecy
The name ‘Jesus’ fulfilled a prophecy given 700 years prior by Isaiah:
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Immanuel means “God with us”. While this was not the name Mary called her son at birth, Jesus embodies the meaning of Immanuel – he is God come in human flesh to dwell among us.
Isaiah’s prophecy said the Messiah would be called Immanuel, meaning he would reveal God’s presence. The name ‘Jesus’ encompasses a similar idea – God is salvation. So in his very name, Jesus fulfills Isaiah’s messianic prophecy.
The Significance of Jesus’ Name
Jesus’ name has great theological significance. It reveals his identity and very purpose. Below are some key implications of his name:
- Jesus is the human name given to the Son of God
- The name points to God as the source of all salvation
- It signifies Jesus is the Savior who delivers people from sin and death
- The name conveys Jesus’ divinity – Yahweh is salvation
- It alludes to Jesus’ mission to make God known to humans
In summary, the name ‘Jesus’ encompasses his divine nature, messianic role as Savior, and purpose to make God accessible to people. This important name was specifically chosen by God.
Names Reveal Nature and Purpose
Names in biblical times were very significant, encapsulating something of a person’s nature, character, or purpose. Some examples include:
- Adam – Man
- Abraham – Father of Many
- Eve – Life or Living One
- Noah – Rest or Comfort
Likewise, the name Jesus expresses the nature and mission of the Messiah. God himself chose this meaningful name for his Son before he was conceived, denoting from the outset that he came to be the Savior of the world.
In conclusion, the name ‘Jesus’ was specifically chosen by God and given by angels prior to Christ’s birth. It indicates that Jesus is the divine Son sent to be the source of salvation. The name fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming of Immanuel. It encapsulates Jesus’ identity, nature, and saving purpose. Through his distinctive name, Jesus reveals that he is the promised Messiah who makes God’s presence and deliverance available to all.
|God (Yahweh)||Chose the name ‘Jesus’ for his Son and sent angels to tell Mary and Joseph the name to use|
|Angel Gabriel||Visited Mary and Joseph separately to tell them to name the baby ‘Jesus’|
|Mary & Joseph||Obeyed the angel’s instructions and gave the name ‘Jesus’ at his circumcision|
|The name ‘Jesus’||Reveals Christ’s identity as Savior and God’s presence with humanity|
|Fulfilled prophecy||The name ‘Jesus’ fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy about Immanuel meaning ‘God with us’|
Jesus’ Names and Titles Reveal His Identity
Jesus is referred to by many names and titles throughout the Bible, each revealing an aspect of his nature and identity. Here are some key ones:
Son of God
This title affirms Jesus’ divine nature and unique relationship to God the Father (Matthew 16:16; John 3:16)
Son of Man
An affirmation of Jesus’ humanity and messianic role (Daniel 7:13-14)
“God with us”, a title confirming Jesus as God incarnate (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)
Declares Jesus as God’s anointed king and deliverer promised in the Old Testament (John 1:41)
A name for God that indicates Jesus’ divinity when applied to him (Luke 2:11)
Lamb of God
Suggests Jesus’ sacrificial death on behalf of humanity (John 1:29)
Emphasizes Jesus’ role as redeemer and rescuer from sin (Luke 2:11; John 4:42)
So the many names ascribed to Jesus in the Bible progressively reveal his true nature and identity. His very given name ‘Jesus’ points to his fundamental mission – to save people from their sins.
Jesus’ Name Has Significant Power and Authority
According to Scripture, the name of Jesus has great power and authority:
- Demons are cast out and exorcisms performed in Jesus’ name (Luke 10:17, Acts 16:18)
- Prayers are to be offered in Jesus’ name (John 14:13-14)
- Miracles and healings are performed in Jesus’ name (Acts 3:6, 16)
- Baptism is to be administered in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38, 8:16, 19:5)
- Forgiveness of sins comes through Jesus’ name (1 John 2:12)
- God the Father is glorified through use of Jesus’ name (John 12:28)
His name is more than just a label of identification. It conveys his divine authority and all that he accomplished through his sinless life, sacrificial death and powerful resurrection.
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.
This passage poetically describes Jesus being given the name above all other names. One day, everyone will bow their knee to exalt the name of Jesus.
Using Jesus’ Name Reverently
Because Jesus’ name carries such authority, power and glorifies God the Father, it should be used carefully and reverently, not as a swear word or in a casual exclamation. Exodus 20:7 warns against misusing God’s name.
When we use the mighty name of Jesus in prayer or worship, we should reflect on what that name represents – the sinless life, atoning death and resurrection power of the Son of God. Calling on Jesus’ name by faith connects us to God’s salvation and deliverance.
Jesus’ very name was divinely chosen by God to encapsulate his saving mission on earth. It was foretold by an angel prior to his birth, then given at his circumcision according to Jewish custom. The name ‘Jesus’ means ‘God saves’ or ‘God delivers’, denoting his identity as Savior. It aligns with the prophecy of him being called ‘Immanuel’, meaning ‘God with us’. The name reveals Jesus’ nature, identity and purpose. It carries authority and power which is available to those who believe in Christ. This important name should be used respectfully in prayer and praise.