Why Call Him “Jesus”?

Photo by Vaishakh pillai on Unsplash

Every year around this time we focus on the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. His birth is unique among the births of all other children from the beginning of time. The birth of Christ Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise God made to the devil in Genesis 3:15. The Lord promised the devil, that old serpent (Revelation 12:9; 20:2):

I will make you, you old serpent, and the woman enemies. Your seed and the seed of the woman will be enemies. The seed of the woman will crush your head – and you shall bruise His heel.” (my paraphrase of Genesis 3:15)

This “Seed of the Woman” is the Lord Jesus Christ. It is He Who was born of a virgin, fulfilling the prophecy of Scripture:

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

As the Christmas story goes, a Jewish Carpenter named Joseph discovered his wife to be Mary was pregnant – and they had not yet come together to consummate their marriage. Joseph decided to put his wife away – to give her a bill of divorce – but to do it privately. He did not want Mary harmed. As Joseph dreamed that night the Angel Gabriel came to him, saying:

Matthew 1:20-25 But while {Joseph} thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

The Apostle Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14 when he refers to the child that the virgin Mary is carrying. The Angel tells Joseph to name the coming Child “Jesus”. But then Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14, telling us that the virgin born Child would be named Immanuel. So why didn’t Joseph name Jesus, “Immanuel”? Is this a discrepancy in the Scripture? No, not at all.

The short answer to the question is “Jesus” is our Lord’s human name, but “Immanuel” is one of our Lord’s
Divine Names.

Immanuel” Is Jesus’ Divine Name, But
“Jesus” Is Immanuel’s Human Name

In the Old Testament God describes Himself with a variety of names, each one meant to explain to us who and how God is.

Humans have only one name, though we may have nicknames by which we are known. God introduces Himself with many different names.

When God called Moses to follow Him, and to go to Pharaoh to present God’s demand, “Let My people go”, Moses asked God:

Genesis 3:13-14 … when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

God is “I AM”, always present, never ending. He has always existed, and will always exist. He is the Great and Eternal “I AM”. But this is not the only name God uses of Himself. God calls Himself:

  • ELOHIM (the Godhead): In the beginning ELOHIM created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1)
  • YAHWEH ELOHIM (the Lord God): … in the day that the LORD GOD made heaven and earth (Genesis 2:4)
  • EL SHADDAY (God Almighty): The Lord appeared to Abram and said unto him, I am EL SHADDAY (Genesis 17:1-2)
  • EL BETEL (the God of Bethel): … God said to me in a dream, Jacob … I am EL BETEL
  • YAHWEH MEKADDESH (the Lord Who Sanctifies): The Lord spoke to Moses … I am YAHWEH QADASH (Exodus 31:12-13)

I could continue on, but you see the point. God uses many different names for Himself to describe His power and authority to us.

The Bible also uses many different names for our
Messiah, Jesus Christ.

In addition to Immanuel (God with us), the Prophet said of Jesus:

  • As we studied this morning in Isaiah 9:6, “His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of peace. Isaiah gave not just Immanuel (God with us) as a Divine name for the Messiah, but four more names in this text. Each name describes the power and authority of our Lord Jesus.
  • When Gabriel went to the virgin Mary to tell her of her pregnancy and future child, he told her in Luke 1:31-32 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest. The Messiah’s human name is JESUS, but His divine name here is SON OF THE HIGHEST.
  • The Prophet Jeremiah saw the Messiah as “a King Who reigns wisely”. He went on to say “and this is the name by which He will be called: The LORD is our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6)
  • When John the Revelator introduces “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth”, Jesus then describes Himself in Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. He uses two names to Divine names to describe Himself to us.

“Jesus” is the human name that our Lord was given, but He has taken to Himself many other Divine Names, each describing an aspect of His power and authority. But this brings me to a second question:

What Is The Significance Of The Name “Jesus”?

God is quite specific on naming the baby “Jesus”. He told Joseph:

Matthew 1:21 … thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

And God tells Mary:

Luke 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

Why is Jesus called “Jesus”? We are told by Gabriel as he speaks to Joseph:

For He shall save His people from their sins”

The name “Jesus” is very interesting, because there is an Old Testament “Jesus” and a New Testament “Jesus”.

The name “Jesus” comes from the Greek Ἰησοῦς Iēsoûs, (pronounced ee-ay-sooce’). This would be the Gentile form of His Name. The same name in Hebrew would be יְהוֹשׁוּעַ Yᵉhôwshûwaʻ, (pronounced yeh-ho-shoo’-ah or the shortened form Yeshua), that is, Joshua (. For all intents and purposes “Jesus” is interchangeable with “Joshua”. To the Hebrew, Jesus would be “Joshua”. To the Gentile, Joshua would be “Jesus”. The names are paralleled. Now you understand why I said there is an Old Testament Jesus, and a New Testament Jesus.

Whether Joshua (Yeshua) or Jesus (Iēsous), the name means “Yahweh Is Salvation”

In the Old Testament God’s people were called Israel. To Israel came the Law.
When God sent Moses to Israel to secure their release, it was by faith Israel was saved. Israel had to do as God said, acting in faith, if they were to be blessed and released from bondage. The Blood of the Lamb was put on the entryway of their homes. By faith Israel killed the Lamb. By faith Israel marked their homes with Blood. It was the blood of the Lamb that saved Israel.

When Israel left Egypt, it was God’s intent to carry them through the Red Sea, through the Jordan, and into the land of Canaan. God had promised this land to Abraham and his descendants many years before:

Genesis 15:18 In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

The Land of Canaan did not belong to the pagan people known as the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaims, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, or the Jebusites. God owns the land – all the land, regardless as to what human documents may say. The Scripture declares,

Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

God headed Israel toward the Promised Land – but Israel did not have faith in God. They allowed what was going on in the land around them to influence their faith. They did not look up to God. Even Moses failed God in faith. When the Israelis murmured against God at a place called Meribah, Moses asked God what to do. God told Moses:

Numbers 20:8 Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.

Moses was but to speak to the Rock. The Bible tells us “This Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4). The Rock represented our Jesus Christ, resurrected from the Grave. Jesus told the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well:

John 4:14 … whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Our Lord Jesus gives Living Water – the Holy Spirit of God – to all who are thirsty. Jesus said:

John 7:38-39 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Moses was to but speak to the Rock, to speak to Jesus, and living water would flow! Yet Moses struck the Rock, disobeying God. Because of this God told Moses, “You will not enter the Promised Land”.

To Enter The Promised Land, Believer,
You Must Follow Yeshua

When Moses – who represented the Law of God – failed to enter the Promised Land, who was his replacement to lead God’s people? It was Yeshua – Joshua. God made promises to Yeshua. He said:

Joshua 1:2-5 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. 5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

God gave the Old Testament Joshua (Yeshua) a very simple rule for power and victory. Yeshua was told to go forth in faith, knowing by faith three things:

God will be with you,
God will not fail you,
God will not forsake you.

Israel was to follow the Old Testament Yeshua/ Joshua, as the Old Testament Yeshua/ Joshua followed God. God said, “Step out on faith – I am there for you. I will not fail you. I will not forsake you. Just follow Me”. Everywhere the Old Testament Yeshua/ Joshua went, there was victory. There was only one blemish on his record, and that was when sin came into the camp. In Joshua 7:1 God’s people took to themselves that which was forbidden – and the Israelis lost, terribly lost the battle of Ai. Once Joshua uncovered where the sin was, he eradicated the sin, and from that point on Israel was blessed. Every Jew knew the story of the Old Testament Joshua. The Old Testament Joshua/ Yeshua (Yahweh is our Savior) lived a wonderful life, and led Israel (God’s people) into victory after victory.

Joshua/ Yeshua was a national hero to Israel. Every school child learned of Joshua, and the greatness that Israel achieved under his leadership.

Sixty three years before Jesus became incarnate (in the flesh) through the virgin Mary, Jerusalem was put under siege by Roman General Pompey the Great. At the end of the siege Judea (Southern Israel) was incorporated into the Roman Empire. When Joseph discovered his wife Mary was with child, he and all of Israel had been in Roman bondage and occupation for 63+ years.

Imagine this: For your ENTIRE LIFE all you have known of Israel is that it is subjected to the Gentiles. You grew up hearing about Yeshua/ Joshua, and hearing about how Israel had once achieved greatness in Canaan because of faith in God. Joseph’s father Jacob told him all about Israel’s great past. Joseph’s grandfather Matthan told him all about Yeshua, and the wonderful days when Israel was great. Israel was great because Israel followed Yeshua/ Joshua as he followed God.

But now? Israel is under Roman Rule. It has been under Roman rule for 63 years. The Temple was not built by Israel, but was built by Herod, the puppet Governor of Jerusalem . It is a Gentile built and Gentile funded structure.

The days are darkest. Now Joseph discovers that his Mary is pregnant – and they have not even come together yet. Oh, how dark Joseph’s spirit had to be! Then Gabriel comes. In the blackest of night, the light of God shines brightly. Now listen to what the Angel says as if you were Joseph:

Matthew 1:20-25 … Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

What the New Testament, written in the Gentile language called “Greek”, we hear that the Baby to be born of Mary is JESUS. But what Joseph hears is in the Hebrew. God tells him, “You shall call His name YESHUA (Joshua): for He shall save His people from their sins”.

Imagine what Joseph is thinking. “Joshua – my Son is
going to be another Joshua!” This would hit him
like a ton of bricks!

Once You Understand The Significance Of The Name Of “Jesus/ Joshua”, You Understand More Of The Significance Of The Scripture

The Angel told Joseph:

Matthew 1:21 … thou shalt call his name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.

Those who followed Joshua in the Old Testament were blessed. Those who stood against Joshua in the Old Testament were cursed. Those who follow Jesus, the New Testament Joshua, are blessed. Those who do not follow Jesus, the New Testament Joshua, are cursed. Our nation will never be blessed while we follow the ways of the “Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites”. We must follow Jesus, the New Testament Joshua. We must rest in Him.

To Be Blessed, You Must Follow Yeshua.
This Is Not Optional!

The Old Testament Joshua gave the people of God a limited blessing, a limited rest. Why? Because even though Joshua led Israel to successfully take the land of Canaan, Joshua could not change the hearts of the people. Joshua’s leadership – just like every politician that has ever existed – can only do so much with broken people. God must change the hearts. It was the hardened hearts of Israel that led them from victory to Roman captivity. It is the hardened heart of a people that keeps them from the blessings of God.

When Jesus began His ministry, and as God the Holy Spirit healed people through Jesus, excitement built up around Him. So many people saw Jesus – Yeshua – as another Joshua. They thought that Jesus came to lead them from Roman rule an into Israeli independence. In John 6, when Jesus fed above 5000 people with five barley loaves and 2 small fish (John 6:9), the Bible says:

John 6:14-15 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. 15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

Yeshua – the New Testament Joshua – fed above 5000 people with very little provisions. He would make a great King. So the crowd thought they could force Him to be their King, and as a mighty King, Yeshua could free Israel from Roman bondage. They thought that Jesus could bring peace into Israel just as they were. Beloved, the problem of humanity is not the environment. It is the human heart. It is the heart enslaved to sin.

It is the heart enslaved to sin that led Israel away from God time and time again. Our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed the King of Kings and Lord of Lords:

1 Timothy 6:13-16 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; 14 that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: 15 which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.

Our Jesus – Yeshua – is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There will come a day when He will rule on this earth. But Jesus did not come the first time to conquer our enemies. When Pilate asked Jesus, “Are You a King?”, Jesus said:

John 18:36-37 … My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Jesus Christ – Yeshua – was born into humanity to lead us from the devil’s lie, and into the truth and the Light of God our Savior. He came to save a people, that, whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). Jesus came preaching the Kingdom. The Old Testament Joshua led a broken people into a Promised Land. The New Testament people came to change hearts, to turn us from the darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

Turn with me in your Bibles to Hebrews 4. The Book of Hebrews is very interesting, because it shows how the Old Testament shadows are fulfilled in the New Testament Jesus. In Hebrews 4 the Author warns against doing what the Old Testament Jew did under Joshua’s leadership. God tells us:

Hebrews 4:8-12 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. 12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The word “Jesus” in verse 8 is a reference to the Old Testament Yeshua/ Joshua. Joshua could lead Israel to a temporary rest, a taking of the land of Canaan for a time. But after a time, Israel (God’s people), lost this rest because of sin in their hearts. They departed from God in their faith, and lost the blessings of Canaan. Israel lost the Promised Land because of sin. Yet the Hebrews text tells us,

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God

Israel’s bondage under Rome was because of Israel’s sin. But this does not mean that God has abandoned His people. Absolutely not! There remains a rest for the people of God. That “rest” is in the New Testament Joshua – Jesus Christ our Lord. We “rest” in His Word. We trust in His provision. We know that He has conquered the world, and do not fear. How do we attain this rest? The Bible says:

Hebrews 4:11 Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief

We LABOR to enter into THAT REST. We struggle against ourselves, forcing ourselves to dwell on what Jesus has said, to do as the Master has commanded. This is the REST we LABOR to go into – our REST in Jesus. It is often a struggle. Even among the saved, there is a struggle. The devil, through media, television, and Internet, tells us to forsake the way of the Master and to follow the popular path. Beloved I tell you,

Matthew 7:13 … wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

It was the “wide gate” of public opinion that caused Israel to lose the Promised Land. But, as Jesus said:

Matthew 7:14 … strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

How do we govern our lives? Where do we place our minds? We place them on the Word of God. We both HEAR and DO what our God has told us. We must get back to the Word of God.

Hebrews 4:12 … the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword

God loves us, and wants only the best for us. If we will be victorious, let us give our hearts and minds to Jesus. Let us trust in what He said. Let us both HEAR and DO His good pleasure. This is the way to reclaim our land. This is the way we as God’s Church will lead America out of the horrid hole it has gotten itself into.

We need Jesus, and His Word, as Lord over our lives. Let us follow Him with all that we have. For Christ’s sake I pray. Amen and amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Christmas Sermons, Matthew, Sermons Preached and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.