According to a New York Times article, children in many African countries are often named after a famous visitor, special event, or circumstance that was meaningful to the parents. When doctors told the parents of one child that they could not cure the infant’s illness and only God knew if he would live, the parents named their child Godknows. Another man said he was named Enough, because his mother had 13 children and he was the last one! There’s a reason for everyone’s name, and in some cases it also conveys a special meaning.
Before Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord told Joseph, “[Mary] will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, which means “the Lord saves.” In that day and culture, many children would have been named Jesus, but only one came into this world to die so that all who receive Him might live eternally, forgiven and freed from the power of sin.
Charles Wesley wrote these words we often sing as Christmas nears: “Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free; from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee.”
Jesus came to turn our darkness into light, to transform our despair into hope, and to save us from our sins.
Heavenly Father, in Jesus we see Your loving purpose and boundless grace. We humbly acknowledge Your Son as the One who came to save us from our sins.
Jesus’ name and mission are the same—He came to save us.
Joseph is a popular biblical name. The first Joseph in the Bible is Jacob’s son who, after being sold into slavery by his brothers, rose to great influence in Egypt (Gen. 37–50). Two other Josephs are mentioned in the Old Testament period: a musician (1 Chron. 25:2, 9) and one in the lineage of Christ (see Luke 3:24, 30). In the New Testament we begin with the earthly father of Jesus (Luke 2; Matt. 1). Next is Joseph of Arimathea, who assisted in Jesus’ burial (Matt. 27:57). Finally, we read of Joseph Barsabbas (Acts 1:23), who was considered to fill Judas’ vacated apostolic office; and Joseph the encourager, better known as Barnabas (Acts 4:36).