|Image obtained from www.heartlight.org|
- Someone jams their finger and yells it.
- Someone gets frustrated with what someone else is doing and mumbles it under their breath.
- Someone is surprised about something and exclaims it out loud without every thinking about what it means.
The name itself is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua. It means "The Lord Saves."
The Lord saves.
Is there any more powerful statement in the world? Is there anything more important? Is there anything more comforting? Is there anything that gives as much hope?
Isn't it incredible that God was not content to merely tell people that He was willing to save them. He literally left his equality with God in heaven and came down to earth wrapping himself in human flesh for the purpose of dying a human death...something he could never have done if He were not actually human (Philippians 2:6-8). And He did all that while wearing the name "The LORD saves." That message is so important that it couldn't just be preached...it had to be lived and worn by God, Himself, in the flesh.
The LORD saves.
And the angel told Joseph to name the tiny, funny-looking, not even halfway formed baby inside Mary's belly Jesus because "he will save his people from their sins."
Do you really believe that promise? Do you believe that God loves you enough to make himself a single cell inside a young woman's womb that would multiply until it became a zygote and finally a baby? Do you believe that He was obedient to Love enough that He did that willingly and that he carried that obedience through His earthly life all the way to the point of allowing wicked men who were cursing his glorious name of "The Lord Saves" even while they were nailing him to the cross?
Do you believe that?
Because I don't believe that "The Lord saves" simply means that he saved us from the consequences of our sins. The angel said "He will save his people from their sins." That means he doesn't just want you to be forgiven...he wants you to be free of them!
Do you believe it's possible? Or do you believe you will be slave to sin your entire earthly life? I believe I will make mistakes in the future just as I have in the past. I believe I will fall and give in to my flesh again even knowing that God in the flesh wore this name in order to remind me that He saves me from my sins. But I also believe that God does what He says He will do. It will take time. It will be painful. It will take commitment on my part to draw near to God instead of going my own way. But I believe it will happen.
May we remember the power of the name of Jesus and why He was named that in the first place. May we believe the truth of the message it brings. May you be thrilled with the joy of the truth of the message every time you hear it tossed out casually by someone who clearly has no idea the power of the truth they are proclaiming every time they utter His glorious name. And may that truth give us the courage to make the changes we need to make, the discipline to focus on the good, and the faith to believe that God has the power to save us from our sins. May we never be content to simply be forgiven without being also freed.