FALL/WINTER 2020 ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES 13
Bar-Jesus. In Colossians 4, Paul mentions one of
his fellow workers, Jesus, called Justus. And some
ancient manuscripts of the gospel of Mahew refer
to the robber released by Pilate as Jesus Barabbas,
which can be translated, ironically enough, “Jesus,
son of the father.”
Jesus was a common name, like Jim, John, or Jerry.
When Mary and Joseph called their son Jesus, there
were no prayers in His name. No one used it as a
swear word. No one sang songs about this name, just
as there is no religion I am aware of that sings songs
to Jim (except for fans of Jim Croce, who know that
he’s not to be messed around with). We don’t name
our sons John with the expectation that eight billion
people will pray in that name over the next two
thousand years. We don’t croon, “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry,
there’s just something about that name.”
But common as the name was, Jesus was named
“Jesus” by design. In Greek, it is Iēsous; in Aramaic,
the language Jesus spoke, Yesu. Both are derived
from the Hebrew, in which the name is Yeshua or
Joshua. Joshua is made up of two parts: Ya, which
is short for Yahweh, and hoshea, which means
“salvation.” Hence, Mary and Joseph gave their
lile baby the name Jesus — “Yahweh saves.”
That He does. Ever since the rst Christmas, Jesus
has been more than just a name. It’s been our only
comfort in life and in death, our only hope in a
hopeless world. When you believe in Jesus Christ,
the Son of God, you have life in His name (John
20:31). There is, in fact, no other name under heaven
given among men whereby we can be saved (Acts
4:12). So, naturally, whatever we do, in word or
deed, we ought to do in the name of the Lord Jesus
(Colossians 3:17). “God has highly exalted him and
bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of 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” (Philippians 2:9–11).
But let’s be clear: the name of Jesus is not a magic
wand. Chanting it does not give one special powers.
The power in the name is the person behind the
name. In biblical times, names meant something.
They were more than badges of identication.
They often told others who you were and what
purpose God had for your life. Thus, Adam was the
rst man. Eve was the mother of all living things.
Abraham was the father of many nations. Benjamin
was the son of his father’s right hand. Moses
was drawn out of the water. Peter was the rock.
Barnabas was the son of encouragement.
What about Jesus? “And you shall call his name
Jesus,” the angel told Joseph, “for he will save
his people from their sins”
(Mahew 1:21). More than a
great teacher, more than an
enlightened man, more than
a worker of miracles, more
than a source of meaning in
life, more than a self-help
guru, more than a self-
esteem builder, more than a
political liberator, more than
a caring friend, more than
a transformer of cultures,
more than a purpose for
the purposeless, Jesus is the
Savior of sinners.
“Jesus the name that charms our fears and bids
our sorrows cease; ’tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’tis life and health and peace.” That’ll sing. “All hail
the power of Jesus’ name! Let angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord
of all.” That’ll work, too.
I guess there really is just something about
that name. No, not just something; make
Kevin DeYoung is the author of several
books and an Assistant Professor of
Systematic Theology at RTS Charloe.
In addition, he serves as the senior pastor
at Christ Covenant Church in Mahews,
This article was rst published in Tabletalk Magazine.
Printed by permission from Ligonier Ministries, Inc.
Ever since the
has been more than
just a name. It’s been
our only comfort
in life and in death,
our only hope in a