And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt
call his name JESUS.
Luke 1:31 ASV
Iēsoús – Jesus, the transliteration of the Hebrew /Lṓt(“Yehoshua”/Jehoshua, contracted to “Joshua”) which means “Yahweh saves” (or “Yahweh is salvation”).
Yeshua. A common male, Jewish name. A popular name, like today’s version of Jack or John. We discover ten men named Yeshua in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, three other Yeshua’s (besides the Savior) hide in the stories. Perhaps in the Bible times, a Yeshua resided in each neighborhood.
Mary and Joseph, instructed by the angel, gave their uncommon baby a common name:
Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived. Luke 2:21 NLT
The prophets titled Jesus with many names, designations, and descriptions. Every prophet predicted this Savior. A spread of 400 years separated the last words of the Old Testament and the appearance of the angel (Matthew 1:20). Then, Jesus arrived on the scene.
An interminable wait.
Blackness and oppression had settled on this nation of Jews. Yet, I believe the hope of their rescuer filled the dark with flickers of light. Expectation was in the air they breathed, the hope of a not-so-normal rescuer they’d been promised.
Along came the savior-baby, this long-expected Jesus, given a normal, humble name: Yeshua.
In Philippians 2, Apostle Paul describes Jesus:
7b …a servant in form
and a man indeed.
The very likeness of humanity,
8 He humbled Himself…
I find a key in this passage regarding why God may have chosen this humble name for His noble son.
You see, our Jesus lowered Himself from the glory of God and all of its non-common aspects, to live with us here, in all of its common aspects. A humble human. A king with a heart to live as a regular “John” for us in our neighborhood. Nothing flashy or arrogant about this Yeshua, not even his name. One who knew our suffering, pain, poverty, and hope. A savior with a non-glamorous name, come to save a non-glamorous world.
- How can we model the humility of Jesus this season?
- Read Philippians 2:5-12
I praise your earthly name, so common for an uncommon Savior. I humble myself before you this advent day as I thank you for humbling yourself so commonly for me.
Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.
Charles Wesley 1744