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The Radical Message of His Name

“And you shall call His name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21)

When we think about the nativity story we think about the virginal conception, the manger, the shepherds, the magi, and the star. Most of the time, important messages get overlooked. We need a fresh understanding of God's Word. During our next program we will be studying Matthew 1:18-2:23. So, please, read these chapters and participate in our discussion.

 

By no means do I want to belittle the beautiful and at the same time dark story of Jesus’ birth. But there is so much more to discover if we take a closer look at it through Matthew’s eyes.

 

Let us take a look at the words of an angel of the Lord to Joseph, for example. Matthew 1:21 reads: “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

 

“Jesus” in Hebrew is Yeshua. This word derives from Hebrew verb yasa “to save”. Therefore, the main idea of the name Jesus is that “He will save His people”. What is it that Jesus will save them from? Matthew is very explicit about that: “He will save them from their sins”.

 

During the time of Jesus, the Jewish community in the Holy Land was occupied and oppressed by Romans. The Jews were dreaming and anticipating the coming of the Messiah who would come and save them from their oppressors. In other words, they were waiting for someone who would liberate them from the Romans and establish a New Kingdom.

 

But the message that an angel brings to Joseph is seemingly the last thing oppressed people would want to hear. For a community oppressed by others there is little space in the mind to tolerate anyone talking about its sins and its need for salvation from those sins. But this is exactly what Jesus came for. His Kingdom was not of this World and He looked deeper into the hearts of people.

 

Today, sometimes we think about Jesus as a liberator who will come and free us from our suffering, from our pain, from our oppressors. In a situation of oppression and pain it takes enormous courage to tell the oppressed community that they are sinners and that all must repent, for everyone is in need of grace for salvation.

 

Jesus’ mission is radical. He cares more about your heart than about what surrounds you. He wants to make all things right! But “all things” start from the heart. Let Him save you from your sins…

 

 

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