“You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
This one verse gives us the reason for the name given to the Son of God and the reason for His incarnation. His coming has other benefits for Christians that flow out of this but they are not the reason for His coming.
In the Bible Jesus is given a number of names and each one describes an aspect of His relationship or ministry to us. In verse 23 Matthew reminds us of a name given to Him in the book of Isaiah. There the name given is Immanuel which Matthew tells us should be understood as “God with us.” This name describes the new relationship believers will have with God through Jesus.
The name Jesus is given by God through the angel. It was not chosen by Joseph, Mary or even the priest. This name means Saviour which the remainder of the verse affirms.
Since this is the name conveyed to Joseph and Mary as the name for this child, notwithstanding all the other names attributed to Him in the Old and New Testaments, it comes with special emphasis and meaning.
The angel goes on to say that Jesus “will save His people from their sins.” The name describes this aspect of His relationship and ministry to us and it is the prime aspect. Without Jesus being our Saviour the other names attributed to Him would be meaningless.
At this time of year it is appropriate to ponder and wonder at the miracle of the virgin birth and the incarnation but we should never separate this from the reason He came. His birth was so that He might be raised up on the cross; His blood shed and that He die in order that we might be saved from our sins.
Let us sing the carols and join with the wise men who “rejoiced with exceedingly great joy” “for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”