What is the meaning of the name Jesus?

In Luke 1:31, the angel, Gabriel, told Mary she would conceive a son and she should "call his name Jesus." In the original Greek, as transliterated, that name is Iesous which comes from the Hebrew name Yehoshua or Yeshua. In Hebrew, the name comes from two words, Yahweh, meaning the LORD, and yasha, meaning saves. So Jesus's name means "the LORD saves."

He is not the only person in the Bible to have this name. In Numbers 13:16, Moses changed Hoshea his assistant's name to Yehoshua, which in English is rendered as Joshua. Just as Joshua is a common name today, it was common during Jesus's time as well. Because many Israelites were "waiting for the consolation of Israel and . . . the redemption of Jerusalem," parents tended to give their sons the name Yehoshua or Iesous in the hopes that the LORD would bring salvation for them from Roman rule (Luke 2:25, 38).

However, Jesus of Nazareth, God incarnate, is the only one able to live up to His name and bring true salvation. Simeon described baby Jesus during His dedication at the temple like this, "my eyes have seen your [God's] salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel . . . Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many . . . so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:30–35). Gabriel had instructed Mary to name her son Jesus because He is the LORD who brings salvation, not just to the Israelites, but to all people.

Jesus was not the political ruler they were expecting, nor did He free the Israelites from Roman occupation, but He did free us. "For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:3–4). First Peter 1:3 declares, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." Jesus is truly how the LORD (Yahweh) has saved (yasha). "Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9–11).

Related Truth:

What are the names of Jesus Christ? What titles are ascribed to Jesus in the Bible?

What does 'Christ' mean?

If His name was Yeshua, why do we call Him Jesus?

How was Jesus called by the name Immanuel if that wasn't His name?

Who is Jesus Christ?

Return to:
Truth about Jesus Christ

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