“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.”
Naming a Child
In some cultures, parents put off naming a child for weeks or months after birth. Superstitions and high infant mortality rates lead parents to avoid inviting “bad luck” by naming the baby too soon. In other cultures, the family waits years to see signs of the child’s personality before giving them a permanent name.
But months before he was born, a name had already been chosen for the virgin Mary’s son. An angel from heaven announced it first to Mary and later again to her husband, Joseph. There would be no doubt about his future. The child was destined to die, but not for some time. And there was no doubt about what sort of man he would grow up to be. “You are to give him the name Jesus,” said the angel, “because he will save his people from their sins.”
Unlike Jesus, the perfect Son of God, you and I came into this world with the burden of a sinful nature. And that sinful nature displays itself in all kinds of ugly ways—beginning already in our childhood and lasting all through life. We bring pain on ourselves and others through our selfishness and greed, immoral desires and behaviors, hurtful talk and actions, and so much worse. Our life is full of struggles; our death is unavoidable, and then we will face God’s holy judgment. The human race is a people in desperate need of a Savior.
How comforting to know that the child whose birth we celebrate on Christmas came into this world to be our Savior! His very name means “the Lord saves!” If there was no doubt about his future accomplishments before he was even born, how much more confident can we be now that he has lived, died, and risen again from death! All through his life, Jesus was our Savior, living a sinless life as our substitute. And in his death, Jesus was our Savior, paying the debt that we owed God for our disobedience. Jesus has lived up to his name. The Lord God himself has saved us from our sins.
Lord Jesus, what a joy to know your name and to know that you have saved me!