The power of a name

Richard Burgess, 23.12.2021

Words are containers carrying the freight of ideas. Some large, some small, many in between. Naming in Biblical times was no small thing. Names carried freight. They meant something, said something, about the child they were being given to.

You shall name him Jesus.

For Mary and Joseph it was not a matter of deliberation and discussion, looking at family traditions, they had received instructions from an angel, from above – this was God’s Son.

You shall name him Jesus.

This name, Jesus, would be the most important name a child had ever been given. It would carry meaning not only for him and his parents, but for the nation Israel, and the nations – the Gentiles.

This name simply but powerfully means, Yahweh-saves.

Humanities predicament was dire. God had created us in his image, to know him, relate to him, to reflect him, but sin had entered in and it had all become corrupted. The image was marred, the knowledge distorted, the relationship destroyed, the reflection was but a glimmer. Not only that, it not only corrupted our relationship with God, it also corrupted our relationship with one another.

Yahweh-saves. Not us. Not us trying harder. Not us trying to fulfill the Ten Commandments, attempting to be good. Not us being religious, trying to feel better about ourselves. Etc. It was impossible, we were too far gone. Improvement was not a possibility. Out of the question. The Fall was not partial, but complete. Redemption and rescue was required. Something, or rather Someone, from outside ourselves and our predicament. Someone greater, someone untainted by our sin.

You shall name him Jesus – Yahweh-saves.

Yahweh. The personal name of God. God himself must save us, not Confucious, Mohammed, or anyone else, however wise or holy they may appear to be. God, and God alone.

But he couldn’t do it from the outside. He had to come and take on the reality of human flesh, the very likeness of sinful flesh, not something that looked it, but in reality it wasn’t. He had to redeem and rescue us from the inside.

Yahweh-saves. Yes He saves, not you or me or some other, He saves. He doesn’t do a bit and you do the rest. He saves. He does it all.

Jesus – Yahweh-saves. There is no other name by which anyone can be saved, only Jesus. Do you know him? Do you know his saving and reconciling power?

This Christmas why not take some time to ponder on his name, Jesus – Yahweh saves, and all that it means.

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