Q. 32 33 Fri Jan 30: The Name of Jesus
32. What is the meaning of the name Jesus which you give to Him?
It means Saviour, and was given to Him by the angel at the command of God (Matt. 1:21).
33. Is this of more importance than if men had given it?
Oh, yes. For since God wills that He be called so, He must be so in truth.
Significance is attached to the name, “Jesus,” just as significance is attached to the Old Testament name “Yahweh” (LORD) as the covenant name.
In the Old Testament, every mention of the name of the LORD served to bring two things to mind for the people of God: 1) This is the God who was and is faithful to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their offspring—to be with their offspring and bless them forever (Ex 3:6, 14-15); 2) This is the God who is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation” (Ex 34:6-7). Calling on the Name itself served as a reminder of God’s faithfulness to keep his promises to his people and gave God’s people a reminder to recognize the very character of the merciful and holy God.
The name of Jesus signifies to us that “God will save his people from their sins”—that he is our Savior. Every mention of his name should invoke the thought of him rescuing us from the penalty due to us for our sins against God. The decree by which his name was given adds to the importance of honoring his name: Unlike typical birth names (Malcolm Little), chosen names (Sasha Fierce), pennames (bell hooks), and famous names (Barack Hussein Obama), it was not the choice of Joseph, or of any finite being; but, like our salvation, it is an infinitely powerful name because it was the choice of God—the faithful God.