Name of Jesus

OVERVIEW - The name ‘Jesus’ means “salvation of Yahweh,” In him, the salvation promised to Israel by Yahweh has arrived – Matthew 1:18-21

Jesus - Photo by Eran Menashri on Unsplash
In the opening chapter of
 Matthew, an angel appeared to Joseph and informed him Mary was with child “begotten of the Holy Spirit,” then instructed him to name the child “Jesus.” That name was most appropriate, for, as the angel also declared, “he will save his people from their sins.” His name linked him to the saving act that God was about to accomplish for His people, Israel - [Photo by Eran Menashri on Unsplash].

When spelled ‘Jesus,’ it is the anglicized form of the Aramaic name ‘Joshua,’ or ‘Yeshua,’ which, in turn, is a shortened form of the original Hebrew name ‘Ye-hoshua.’
  • (Matthew 1:20-21) - “Now, when he had pondered these things, behold, by dream, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David! Fear not to take unto you Mary your wife, for that in her has been begotten is of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, she will bring forth a son, and you will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
In the very first verse of his gospel account, Matthew identified Jesus as the “son of Abraham.” This was more than just one name among many listed in a genealogy. Not only was he the biological descendant of Abraham, he came to fulfill the covenant promises made by Yahweh to the patriarch. The Gospel of Matthew demonstrates this in several ways.

For example, the angel’s announcement to Joseph is conceptually parallel to the prediction made to Abraham about his firstborn son by Sarah. This occurred when he was ninety-nine years old, and Sarah was ninety. Though not a virgin, she was well beyond childbearing age, making her pregnancy and the birth of the child miraculous. And like the angel’s announcement to Joseph, Abraham received his son’s name by divine appointment:
  • (Genesis 17:19) – “And God said, Nay, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son; and you will call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his seed after him.
In the Old Testament, the name ‘Jesus,’ or ‘Joshua,’ first appears in the Book of Exodus:
  • And Moses said to Joshua, choose for us men and go out, fight with Amalek.” - (Exodus 17:9).
That man’s original name was ‘Hoshea,’ the “son of Nun,” and one of the twelve men sent to spy out the land of Canaan. Later, Moses changed his name from ‘Hoshea’ to ‘Joshua’:
  • These were the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua” - (Numbers 13:1-8).
The name ‘Hoshea’ means “salvation, deliverance, help,” and is derived from the Hebrew verb for “save, help, deliver” - (yasha – Strong’s - #H3467). Compare the usage of the verb in the following passages:
  • (Exodus 14:30) - “Thus Yahweh saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians.
  • (Deuteronomy 20:4) - “For Yahweh your God is the one who goes with you …to save you.”
Moses changed the name by prefixing the first syllable from the Hebrew name for God, or Yahweh to Hoshea, resulting in Ye-hoshua. In several of the later books of the Old Testament, the second syllable was dropped from the spelling and the name contracted to Yeshua, which reflects Aramaic influences among after the Babylonian Captivity - (Nehemiah 8:17, Ezra 2:2).

Thus, the name ‘Jesus’ means more than “savior.” It combines the name Yahweh with the Hebrew word for “save” or “salvation.” ‘Jesus,’ and therefore, means “Yahweh saves” or “salvation of Yahweh.”
Thus, the promised salvation of the One God of Israel came to fruition in his Messiah - ‘Jesus.’

The angel’s announcement that “he would save his people from their sins” echoed key themes from the “Servant’s Song” found in the Book of Isaiah:
  • (Isaiah 53:5) – “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our sins; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
  • (Isaiah 53:10-11) – “Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you will make his soul an offering for sin, he will see his seed, he will prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahweh will prosper in his hand. He will see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by the knowledge of himself will my righteous servant justify many; and he will carry their sins.”
  • (Matthew 1:21) - “You will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
The genealogy of Jesus presented in Matthew begins with Abraham, the Great Patriarch and the progenitor of Israel. The story of the people of Yahweh is divided into three segments. First, from Abraham to David, “fourteen generations.” Then, from David to the Captivity in Babylon, “fourteen generations.” Finally, from the end of the Babylonian Captivity to the “Messiah,” “fourteen generations.”

In Matthew, he is the “son of Abraham,” the promised “seed” who fulfilled the covenant promises. Likewise, he is the “son of David,” the prophesied “Messiah” - ‘Jesus’ - the one who brought the “salvation of Yahweh” and removed the stain of sin from his “people.”

In the Torah, ‘Joshua’ was one of the greatest leaders of Ancient Israel. Moses was the man who delivered Israel from Egypt, but ‘Joshua’ brought the people into Canaan. Likewise, ‘Jesus,’ the Greater Joshua, has saved his people from their sins, delivered them from bondage to Satan, and led them into the true and greater “Promised Land” in the Kingdom of God.


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