Day 2: "What's in a Name?"

Read: Matthew 1:18-25

Naming a child was harder than I thought it would be. My first round pick was “Kirby” oddly enough which was swatted down vehemently. We had our first child in September 2016 and I thought it would be relatively easy to decide on a name; like it would take a day or two. I was wrong. There were never any blowout fights at the Crain house over his name selection but we were well into the third trimester before we nailed it down.

James was the eventual winner because it was a “strong” name (we thought a strong name for a boy or a southern-y cute name for a girl), we like James from the Bible (Jesus’ brother; aka old camel knees according to church history due to his prayer life) and one of our college students named James remarked about how much he loved Jesus and his momma and that resounded with both of us. It took awhile; and not just because we were indecisive but because we loved our unborn son and we knew regardless of if we like it or not our names sometimes influence how people view us. I mean there probably aren’t that many CEO’s that still go by their given first name if they were named “Petey.” Am I right?

Well Jesus’ name is important as well as these other descriptive terms that are given to Him in this short passage. Jesus literally means “Yahweh is Salvation.” It is the Greek Equivalent of Joshua in Hebrew and was a semi-popular name back in the day. So we see God gives the new parents this name for their child born in such a miraculous nature as a way to proclaim His mission. Jesus is to be Savior; and not some metaphorical kind found on your favorite sports team. A real Savior. THE Savior in fact. The angel tells Joseph that Jesus “will save His people from their sins.” Jesus came to save people from their sins. Jesus came to save YOU from your sins.

We also see that Jesus is given a descriptive term with his given name; Christ. Growing up, I assumed that Christ was Jesus’ last name; a way to distinguish Him from the Jesus Horowitz’s or something. But Christ isn’t Joseph’s last name; it is a title. Christ meant to the Jews of the day “the promised King.” The One promised since Abraham, whom Moses said would be a prophet like him but greater, the One David wrote about in the Psalms, the one that Micah said would come from Bethlehem. Matthew is saying that THE ONE whom a large nation of people had been anticipating for ages.. is here! The Promised King is here and those who knew about the coming Christ expected that once the King arrived everything would change. And it would.

Jesus is also described as “Immanuel” which means “God with us.” Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14 (written 700 years before Jesus’ birth) here letting us know that the Christ would be born miraculously by a virgin (check) and would be known as “God with us.”

God with us. We don’t have to wonder “what if God was one of us” like the old song. He was! Jesus came from heaven to earth and became man for our sake. The Gospel of Jesus is not the story of a man who over time became God but in fact the story of God who for our sake became a man.

So Jesus, who is God (Immanuel), came to Earth. Jesus came as the Promised King. Jesus came to save people from their sins. He didn’t come to be just a healer. Or just a teacher. Or just a good man.

He came to save people & to rule people. That is His heart for you. He wants to save you from your sins because He loves you. He also wants to rule your life because He loves you & knows that’s best for you. But we must decide with all of our heart who we believe Jesus to be because the scriptures are clear; He came to be your God, Savior and King. Anything less than that is right for anyone else but Jesus; the name above all names.

 Chasing Jesus Challenge: Write out how Jesus being your Savior, God, and King changes everything for you below. Then thank Him for being a wonderful Savior, a worthy God, and a Perfect King.

  1. Savior: Spend a few minutes thanking Jesus for dying for you and for paying the price for your sins.
  2. God: Spend a few minutes worshipping Jesus. Continue praying, journal about Him or sing a song of worship to Him.
  3. King: Confess any sin to Him today and re-commit to submit to His leadership in that area of your life. It could be something you need to start doing or stop doing. 
  4. Social Media Quote: "Jesus came to be your God, Savior and King. Anything less than that is right for anyone else but Jesus; the name above all name. #chasingJesus"