given name

Most families have their own family stories. One in our family has to do with how I got my name. Apparently, when my parents were in the early days of their marriage, they disagreed about what to name their first son. Mom wanted a son named after Dad, but Dad wasn’t interested in naming a son “Junior.” After much discussion, they reached a compromise, agreeing that only if a son was born on Dad’s birthday would he be given Dad’s name. Amazingly, I was born on my dad’s birthday. So I was given his name with a “Junior” attached to it.

The naming of children is as old as time. As Joseph wrestled with the news that his fiancée, Mary, was pregnant, the angel brought him insight from the Father about naming the Baby: “She will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Not only would Jesus be His name, but it would also explain the reason for His coming into the world: To take on Himself the punishment we deserve for our sin. His redemptive purpose behind the manger is wrapped up in the perfectly given Name above all names.

May our heart’s desire be to live in a way that honors His wonderful name! —Bill Crowder

Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son to rescue us from sin and bring us into relationship with You.

Jesus: His name and His mission are one and the same.

INSIGHT: The Bible contains more than 200 names for Jesus. In today’s passage we see two of them—Jesus andImmanuel—both drawn from the Old Testament. Jesus, the Greek form of the Hebrew word Joshua, means “the Lord saves” and describes what He came to do: “He will save His people from their sins” (v. 21). This phrase comes from Psalm 130:7-8 where Israel is encouraged to “put [their] hope in the Lord. . . . He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins” (niv). Immanuel is an Old Testament name mentioned in the prophecy of Isaiah (7:14; 8:8) and describes His nature: He is “God with us” (Matt. 1:23).

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