Call His Name Jesus

In the first chapter of Matthew, an angel informed Joseph that the child Mary was carrying was “begotten of the Holy Spirit,” and he instructed him to name the child ‘Jesus’ - “Call his name Jesus, for HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.” This name pointed to the saving act of God for His people which he was about to reveal. In the Nazarene, the salvation promised to Israel and the nations had arrived.

The first verse of the Gospel of Matthew identified the child as the “son of Abraham.” This was more than one name among many on a genealogical chart. Not only was he the biological descendant of Abraham, but he also came to fulfill the promises made to the Patriarch, and Matthew’s Gospel demonstrates this in several ways - (Matthew 1:20-21).

Jesus Saves - Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash
[Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash]

For example, the announcement to Joseph is conceptually parallel to the prediction made to Abraham about his firstborn son by Sarah, which occurred when he was ninety-nine years old, and Sarah was ninety. Though not a virgin, she was well beyond childbearing age, making her pregnancy miraculous. Moreover, like the angel’s announcement to Joseph, Abraham received his son’s name by divine appointment:

  • (Genesis 17:19) – “And God said, Nay, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son; and you will call his name Isaac, and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his seed after him.

Just as the angel announced his name to Joseph - “Jesus,” the one who “saves his people from sin” - God commanded Abraham to name his son “Isaac” since through him He established His covenant “for his seed after him.”

In the Hebrew Bible, the name ‘Jesus’ or ‘Joshua’ first appears in the Book of Exodus - “And Moses said to JOSHUA, choose for us men and go out, fight with Amalek.” His original name was ‘Hoshea,’ the “son of Nun,” one of the twelve spies sent by Moses to investigate the land of Canaan. Later, Moses changed it from ‘Hoshea’ to ‘Joshua,’ or more correctly, ‘Ye-hoshua’ - (Numbers 13:1-8, Exodus 17:9).

The name ‘Hoshea’ meant “salvation, deliverance, help.” It was derived from the Hebrew verb for “save, help, deliver,” yasha (Strong’s - #H3467). For example, “Thus Yahweh saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians” - (Exodus 14:30. Compare Deuteronomy 20:4).

By prefixing the first syllable of the Hebrew name of God or Yahweh to Hoshea, the name became Ye-hoshua. In several of the later books of the Hebrew Bible, the second syllable was dropped, and the name was contracted to Yeshua - (Nehemiah 8:17, Ezra 2:2).


‘Jesus’ is the anglicized spelling of ‘Yeshua,’ and it means more than simply “savior.” It is a combination of the name Yahweh and the Hebrew word for “save” or “salvation.” It means “YAHWEH SAVES” or “salvation of Yahweh.” Thus, the promised salvation of the God of Israel came to fruition in Jesus of Nazareth.

Starry Sky - Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash
[Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash]

The angel’s announcement to Joseph that “
he will save his people from their sins” echoes key themes from the so-called ‘Servant’s Song’ recorded in the Book of Isaiah, and deliberately so. For example:

  • (Isaiah 53:10-11) – “Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you will make his soul an offering for sin, he will see his seed, he will prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahweh will prosper in his hand. He will see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by the knowledge of himself will my righteous servant justify many, and he will carry their sins.”

The genealogy of Jesus presented in Matthew begins with Abraham, the Great Patriarch and progenitor of Israel. Jesus is the “Son of Abraham,” the promised “Seed” who brings the covenant promises to fulfillment.

Likewise, he is the “Son of David,” the prophesied Messiah and king who will reign from David’s Throne on Mount Zion, and the one who establishes and dispenses the “Salvation of Yahweh” for his people, and who is now ushering in the Kingdom of God on the Earth.

Jesus of Nazareth is the Greater Joshua, the king and leader of God’s people who delivers them from bondage to Satan and shepherds them to the true and greater ‘Promised Land,’ the Kingdom of God. In the truest sense, he is the one who “saves his people from their sins.”




No Middle Ground

Abraham's Seed