day 10: Christ, Jesus

Readings: Matthew 1:18-25, Acts 4:1-12, Philippians 2:9-11


At last—a name we speak often. The name “Jesus” is household language in America, for better or for worse. For some, it’s the name in which they pray. For others, it refers to a famous, ancient, somewhat irrelevant prophet. For still more, it’s a flippantly used expletive—meaningless except as an expression of frustration.

The name Jesus is an English transliteration of the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua. Joshua is a common Israelite name in the Old Testament, with its most famous bearer undoubtedly being the Joshua who succeeded Moses as head of Israel and led the conquering of the Promised Land. It is a combination of the proper name of God—Yahweh, or Jehovah—and the verb yasha, which means “to save.”

Jesus, then, means “Yahweh saves” - or, since the name Yahweh simply means "He is" - He is salvation.

[Mary] will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21

Yahweh saves. 

He is salvation.

This is the Christ: Jesus - not given this name in mere tribute to God’s work or even as a symbol of it, but because He would be the living, dying, and alive-again act of the salvation of God.

The One called "Yahweh saves" stretched Himself out on a cross to make it so.

There is nothing meaningless, irrelevant, or common about this name. It is “above every name” (Philippians 2:9); it is the name “by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Every time we speak it or call on its authority in prayer, we call on the same power and faithfulness that brought us salvation. Jesus—Yahweh Saves—came to be God’s promise-keeping and soul-saving, incarnate.

Hallie Liening

Olympia, WA

Hallie grew up on a small farm in rural eastern Washington. At 18, she moved across the country to go to Bible school, and then married the Boy Next Door at 20. Now 22, she is a graduate of Great Commission Bible Institute with a Certificate in Biblical Studies and resides in Olympia with her husband and her two cats. She survives the claustrophobia of living near the city by making frequent trips back home to visit her family and her horse, writing sentimental blog posts about the countryside, and by filling her house with photographs of Mt. Adams sunsets.