Naming the Child

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. Matthew 1:24-25

His dream has ended. But it was more than just a dream to Joseph.

Even though he was asleep, Joseph’s dream was reality. And he knew it was reality.

He hadn’t wanted to divorce Mary and cause her pain. Even though he was deeply hurt to find out that she was pregnant with another’s child.

But the dream of reality brought relief to Joseph. He could still go through with the marriage to Mary and raise this child as his own son.

As I told the story about knowing that my own dreams are obviously not reality – in the devotion “Joseph’s Dream” – Joseph’s experience with his dream was the exact opposite.

He knew this dream was not founded in some “undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato” (quote from Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol).

Maybe Joseph had remembered the proclivity of Yahweh to speak to his servants through the medium of dreams because of his namesake – Joseph, son of Jacob.

In Genesis, Joseph had two amazing dreams through which Yahweh was telling him his future rise to power in Egypt (see Genesis 37:5-11). He also was able to interpret the dreams of the baker, the butler (see Genesis 40) and Pharaoh himself (see Genesis 41). These also were more than mere dreams. They were messages from God about what was to happen.

No, Joseph knows that his dream of the angel and the child to be born to Mary is no mere dream. It is what is going to happen.

But it also reveals how what is going to happen is going to happen.

name-of-jesusBoth Mary and Joseph are told to name the boy Jesus.

Our English version of this name is taken from the Greek and Latin form of the Hebrew name Joshua.

Joshua means “Yahweh saves.” The Small Catechism of the Lutheran Church explains it this way: “The name Jesus means ‘the Lord saves.’ Jesus is His personal name.” [ accessed December 13, 2016]

One name and a two word definition. Yet this covers everything!

Jesus is the Son of God. The 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity. He is God!

But Jesus is also true man. He was born of a human mother. He had blood (first shed at his circumcision, last shed on the cross).

As a human being he could feel pain and die. Which he did. He died.

Jesus died.

For us.

To save us.

Just like his name says!

In a sense, he couldn’t have any other name. Because no one else could do what he did!

Yes. Jesus is his name. Jesus is what he does.

And Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus!

©2016 True Men Ministries


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