The Wonder of His NameThe Name of Jesus
Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss reminds you, Jesus saves from sin.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Not just from its guilt, not just from its penalty, but He also came to take away your love for sin. He came to give you victory over sin. That is all part of what it means to be saved from your sin.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, March 6.
Yesterday Nancy began a new series called “The Wonder of His Name: 32 Life-Changing Names of Jesus.” Yesterday was an overview of the series. Today, Nancy takes a look at the first name in our study. She recorded this program on the Revive Tour in Fort Worth.
Nancy: Well, I’m very excited about about starting this new series over the next several weeks as we’re seeking the Lord together in these days leading up to Easter. "The Wonder of His Name"—that’s what we’re going to be talking about—thirty-two life-changing names of Jesus.
And they are life changing. They’re life giving. They’re life transforming and today we want to start with that very name—the name of Jesus. It's an amazing name. I read one writer recently who said,
Jesus is a joyous name which has awakened more gladness and promoted more rejoicing throughout the whole world than any other. . . . [The name of] Jesus is more grandly honored and more grievously hated, more acclaimed and more accused than any other.
Well, our purpose here at Revive Our Hearts is to point women not to Nancy Leigh DeMoss, not to some author, not to some speaker,but to point women to JESUS—the name above every name.
- There is life in His name.
- There is peace in His name.
- There is grace in His name.
- There is wholeness in His name.
- There is healing in His name.
In fact, whatever you need is found in the name of Jesus.
The name Jesus itself—that very name—is found over a thousand times in the New Testament. The whole Scripture is all about Jesus. We’ve got to get to Jesus. That’s where we find all that we need.
I want us to look today at a passage, if you have your Bible with you, open it to the gospel of Matthew, first book of the New Testament chapter 1. Here is where we find the first mention of the name of Jesus in the New Testament. The first mention of His name is found in the very first verse of the New Testament—Matthew 1:1. So let me read there:
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ . . .” Now let me, by the way, if you’ve just read through the Old Testament, this is really good news because the last verse of the Old Testament talks about a curse that falls on the earth because of the sin of mankind.
There’s been the Fall, there’s been the threat of God’s judgment, the sense that we cannot live up to the holy law of God. By the end of the Old Testament you are just going, “Help! I need help.” And then there’s four hundred years of silence. People are just lost in their sin, and then we come to the first verse of the New Covenant—the book of the genealogy of Jesus. Jesus. He’s about to change everything.
The genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. . . . and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. . . . . Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit (vv. 1, 2, 16, 18).
Now just keep parked there a moment and let me insert a paragraph from Luke’s account in Luke chapter 1. You don’t need to turn there. But you remember that an angel had appeared to Mary and the angel says to Mary:
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High (Luke 1:31–32).
Now back to Matthew 1:19:
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
Now, again, just a parenthesis here. This was a legal means of dissolving their betrothal. And Joseph was a merciful man. It says he did not want to make her a public example because according to the Old Testament law she could have been stoned if she was found to be unfaithful during their betrothal period. He didn’t want that to happen so he was just going to quietly and legally break off the betrothal.
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son.
And now the angel tells Joseph what he’d already told Mary.
"You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus (vv. 20–21, 24–25).
And again, if I could just skip us over to the gospel of Luke the second chapter verse 21 tells us that,
At the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, [the infant baby] he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb (Luke 2:21).
Now, a moment ago, I asked you to introduce yourself to somebody else in the room and tell them your name and tell them how you got your name. Babies get their names in different ways. I will say I’m kind of always amazed when my young friends today are having babies at some of the names they are coming up with. And I’m thinking, Where did you get that name?Well, I think it’s like “in” to come up with a name that nobody else ever thought of before.
They get their names in different ways—sometimes the name is chosen by mom or a dad. I have a friend who just named her little baby the name that the little three-year-old girl picked for the baby. So sometimes it can be a sibling picking the name. It can be named after a friend or a celebrity. I was named after my mother. My mother is Nancy DeMoss, and so I was always “little Nancy” or “Nancy Junior.” That’s where I got my name.
Well, Jesus’ name was chosen by His heavenly Father. Now you remember that Jesus always was. He didn’t start to be when He was born in Bethlehem. Jesus existed eternally in heaven as the Son of God. But before He came to this earth, before He was ever conceived or born as a baby, an angel announced His name, first to His mother Mary, we read that in Luke 1, and then to His earthly father which we just read in Matthew 1.
Now if you read a bio-sketch for somebody—say, maybe your pastor. Somebody comes to your church and they go to your church website, and there’s a bio-sketch about your pastor. It may include various titles, various designations. For example, Pastor so and so, or he’s an author or a conference speaker or a counselor. These are terms that describe what he does, his functions, his roles.
Perhaps there’s a Dr. next to his name and then where he went to school and what kind of doctor he is. That will tell you something about his education or about his training. But none of those titles or descriptors is his actual name. You don’t call him “Counselor” or “Conference Speaker.” You may call him “Doctor” but his actual name is not any of those things.
There are many titles and descriptors of Jesus that we’ll talk about throughout this series, things that talk about His functions—Christ, Lord, Savior—but the name that we’re talking about today, “Jesus,” is His proper name. That’s His real name. That’s an important name.
Now, "Jesus" was a common name in the New Testament era. Many Jewish parents named their baby boy "Jesus." And in fact, Jesus, as you read through the New Testament, you’ll often see Him called "Jesus of Nazareth." That was a way of distinguishing this young man, this baby, this teenager—distinguishing Him from other boys that were named "Jesus." Nazareth was a small town. There weren’t many young men his age there. And so when Jesus would be in another town they would call Him "Jesus of Nazareth," that would be a way of distinguishing Him from other boys or men named "Jesus."
So the fact that He had an ordinary name like other little boys—other young men, other grown men—points to the fact that Jesus was human. But this common name became an uncommon name in the annals of history. It was utterly unique because of the amazing meaning that the angel attached to it. “You shall call his name Jesus,” a common ordinary name, “because he will save his people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). Utterly extraordinary—no other “Jesus” like this.
Author Warren Wiersbe says it this way:
The name that you give to your child may not determine his or her destiny, but the name that was given to our Lord was a part of his destiny.
Jesus. That name reveals us why He came to this earth. It sums up His mission, His purpose, His destiny.
Now to understand the significance and the meaning of this name, we have to go back to the Old Testament. The name "Jesus" was the Greek equivalent of Old Testament Jewish name "Joshua." That name “Joshua” comes from two shorter Hebrew words. The first is the name “Jehovah” and then the other is the verb that means “to save.” So the name “Joshua” means “Jehovah saves, Jehovah delivers,” or “Jehovah is salvation.” That’s the meaning of this Hebrew word “Joshua.”
Now you may remember that there were two Joshua’s in the Old Testament. The first is the better known one—the one who was Moses’ assistant and successor—the one that the sixth book of the Old Testament was named after.
Joshua was a conqueror. He fought Israel’s battles. He was the one that God used to deliver His people from their enemies. Joshua led the children of Israel from the wilderness into the Promised Land—the place of abundance and peace and rest that God had given them as their inheritance.
This Joshua was a prototype of Jesus—our Joshua, our Savior, our rescuer, our deliverer. Our Joshua, our Jesus fights our battles. He has conquered every enemy including death. (see 1 Cor. 15:26) And it’s our Joshua—Jesus—who enables us to be victorious over temptation and over sin. Our Joshua—Jesus—leads us into the spiritual inheritance that God has promised us. And our Joshua—Jesus—has far surpassed and transcended Joshua’s work of salvation.
Now there was a second Joshua in the Old Testament who may not be as familiar to you. He was a high priest during the era when a remnant of Jews who had been exiled in Babylon, returned to Israel to rebuild the temple. This was in the days of Ezra, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. In the book of Zechariah chapter 6, God says to the prophet, “Make a crown [of silver and gold].” Now crowns were worn by kings, so this was a sign of royalty. And God says, "Make a crown [of silver and gold], and set it on the head of Joshua . . . the high priest” (Zech. 6:11).
Now this is interesting if you stop and think about it because in the Old Testament there was a strict division of powers between priests and kings. This had never been done before to set a kingly crown on the head of a priest. These two roles had always been kept totally separate. But those two roles of king and priest were symbolically combined in one person named “Joshua”—clearly a picture of “Jesus” – Jehovah saves, Jehovah delivers. It's a picture of our Jesus who was both king and priest—two names by the way that we’ll be talking about later in this series.
Well, these two Old Testament Joshua’s foreshadowed the One who would ultimately fulfill this great name. Jehovah saves! Jesus—our “Joshua.” And almost every time in the Old Testament that you see the word salvation, it’s the same word that is the root of the Hebrew name “Joshua” and Greek name “Jesus.” So those three words go together: “Joshua,” “Jesus,” and “salvation.”
Now when you see that word salvation in the Old Testament, it often refers to physical deliverance—salvation from enemies, from physical harm, catastrophes, natural disasters, famines, plagues, sickness, salvation, deliverance from physical issues. But remember that God is concerned about far more than our physical well-being. He cares about the salvation of our souls—about delivering us from our greatest enemy, the root of every other issue ultimately, which is our sin. That’s the deliverance, the salvation we most need.
The source of that salvation is always someone outside ourselves. We cannot save ourselves. We need a Rescuer. We need a Deliverer. We need a Savior. That’s why the angel said, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Jehovah saves. Jehovah is salvation. He will deliver His people from their greatest enemy, which is sin.
Jesus, our Joshua, saves us from the penalty of sin, from its punishment, from the wrath of God that we rightly deserve for our sins. (see Rom. 5:9) He also saves us from the power of sin. Sin shall no more have dominion over you, the apostle Paul says in Romans chapter 6. And one day, thank Jesus, God will deliver us from the very presence of sin. Who makes all that possible? Jesus. Joshua. Our Jesus. Jehovah saves.
How did Jesus save us from our sin? You remember that when Jesus was crucified there was a sign on the cross that said “Jesus of Nazareth.” “Jesus,” that common name from the Hebrew “Joshua”—“Jehovah saves.” Now not only was this name common, it was also a highly respected name. People respected “Joshua” in the Old Testament—Jehovah saves. But now, here is Jesus hanging on cross, dying as a common criminal. This is why people said, “If He truly saves, let Him save Himself.”
Jesus, our Joshua, saved us there on the cross, by refusing to save Himself. On the cross, bore our sins as His own. That’s how “Jehovah saved” us, rescued us from our sin. Remember, only God can save. And when the angel said of this baby, “He will save his people from their sins,” he was saying that Jesus would do for us what only God could do. Yahweh saves! Yahweh—Jehovah is salvation. That is exactly what God has done for us in Jesus. Jesus is God saving us from our sins.
Now, what does that mean for us? I want to give you three takeaways about the name of Jesus. Number one: There is pardon in that great name. He came to save us from our sin. In Acts chapter 4 the apostle Peter said, “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). We may believe on the name of Jesus and be saved. That means to be pardoned from our sin.
I remember in Mark 10 when blind Bartimaeus cried out, “Jesus of Nazareth, have mercy on me.” He knew that “salvation”—Jesus—Jehovah saves—Joshua—Jehovah is salvation—was passing by that day.
When that thief on the cross saw sign "Jesus of Nazareth," that name gave him hope. H e trusted Jesus, Jehovah, to save him. And that thief at that moment was pardoned from all his sin and given entrance into Paradise. Because you see, sinners cannot get into heaven. And that thief wanted to be in Paradise with the Heavenly Father. And Jesus, Jehovah, saved him that day.
Now, there is pardon in that name. That means that if you’re a child of God, Jesus did not save you so that you could continue to enjoy your sin, so that you could flirt with sin, love sin, be addicted to sin. Jesus came to save you from your sin—not just from its guilt, not just from its penalty, but also He came to take away your love for sin. He came to give you victory over sin. That is all part of what it means to be saved from your sin. So there is pardon in His name.
Then, there is power in His Name. We could do a whole session on this. Just go through the book of Acts and see all the things that happened in the name of Jesus—miracles that were done, lives that were changed, prayers that were answered in the name of Jesus. This name is the name that gives us access to God’s greatest treasures. There is “life in his name” John 20 tells us (see v. 20). Of course we know that the power is not in the name itself, but in the Person who bears that name. There is pardon in that name. There is power in His name.
Then I want to just remind us of what you already know but sometimes we lose sight of, and that is that His name is precious. It is precious. It is of great value. What was a common name in the New Testament era became “the name above every name” (see Phil. 2:9). It’s a name to be treated with great reverence.
Sadly, we will often hear the name of Jesus used as profanity by those who do not know Him, and if they did know Him they wouldn’t think of using His name in that way. But I think what is maybe even more sad is how many of us who claim to know Jesus and maybe do know Him, often use His name carelessly or casually. Maybe when we’re singing about His name as we did a few moments ago, instead of offering sincere worship, we’re just giving lip service—just singing mindlessly. That’s treating the precious name of Jesus casually.
Do you love His name? Do you respect it? Do you honor it? Philippians 2 tells us that,
God has . . .bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of [say it with me] Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (vv. 9–11).
Leslie: It’s easy to get used to the name, “Jesus.” A lot of us hear that name all the time and forget why it’s so meaningful. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing us the rich meaning in that name. “Jesus” is the first name in our series, “The Wonder of His Name: 32 Life-Changing Names of Jesus.”
I hope you’ll join us for the other thirty-one names. Knowing Jesus is the most important thing in life. By studying His names, you’ll get to know Him deeper and fall in love with Him all over again.
To help you get even more out of this series, I hope you’ll get the new devotional book by Nancy, also called, The Wonder of His Name. When you go through this book, you’ll read a devotional for each of these names. It’s a way to daily pause and reflect on Jesus and all He’s done for you.
We’ll send you a copy when you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Ask for The Wonder of His Name when you call with your donation. The number is 1-800-569-5959, or you can visit