How did Jesus come to receive His name? Why is it important?
Joshua became Israel’s leader after the death of Moses and Joshua was charged with taking ancient Israel across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. Joshua understood that God wanted the nation to live in obedience to His commands, and that either blessings or curses would be the consequence of their actions. After Moses’ passing, God told Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel” (Joshua 1:2), so Joshua was charged with the responsibility of taking the nation of Israel into the Promised Land; a land long ago promised to Abraham, where the Lord told him “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you” (Gen 12:1). This was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, as well as Israel becoming a great nation (which they were by now). Joshua had already proved his faithfulness and obedience to God while in the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. God had an experience leader in Joshua, but also one in whom He knew would be obedient. I find it interesting that Joshua’s name is from the Hebrew word “Yĕhowshuwa`” which means “Jehovah” or “Yahweh is Salvation.”
Jesus and Joshua
There are many striking similarities between Joshua and bringing Israel into the Promised Land, and Jesus’ work at Calvary in bringing many sons and daughters into the Promised Land, which for us is the New Jerusalem, sometimes called the “City of God.” The New Jerusalem has been prophesied for thousands of years, but Jesus has already brought many into the Promised Land, a land of being in His presence (Rev 21:3, 22:4). For those who have trusted in Christ and departed this world are not dead, but alive, and in His presence, because God is the God of the living and not the dead (Mark 12:27). Joshua brought them into the land, but could not give them rest; Jesus will bring us into the land and give us rest from our own works (Eph 2:8-9). The author of Hebrews writes, “For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his” (Heb 4:8-10).
Jesus’ name and Joshua’s name basically mean the same thing. In fact, Jesus is not the original name given to Him. It is “Joshua” (or “Jehoshua.”), which means “Jehovah is Salvation.” Jesus’ given name in the New Testament, written in the Greek “Iēsous,” means the very same thing because it is an original Hebrew name. In short, Jesus’ name is just like saying “Jehovah Saves” or “Savior.” His name was not pronounced like we hear today when we hear the name, Joshua or Jesus, but rather, “Yah shoo uh,” so Jesus’ name comes straight from the Hebrew name “Jehoshua.” By the way, “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name. That is His title as the Messiah or “Christos,” meaning the “Anointed.” Jesus is His name and He is the “Anointed” One of God Who is the long-ago prophesied Messiah. The Jews had been waiting for Him and yet they refused to acknowledge Him as the Messiah. They were jealous of His following and even Pontius Pilate “knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up” (Matt 27:18).
What’s in a Name?
My real name is not Jack, but Jackson. My wife prefers that name more than “Jack.” I don’t know why, but that makes it special to me (as she is to my heart), so if someone calls me “Jack” I will turn around and answer, but if my wife calls my name, “Jackson,” then I immediately answer and come to her. The point being, names means a lot and have great significance. Names are important. If you’re looking at the list of survivors from the Titanic, you’d know names are important; especially to those who are their loved ones. That is why salvation is found in absolutely no other name than in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). There is no salvation in Buddha, Muhammed, Confucius, or any human name you can think of. Jesus alone saves, but if you’re in a cult that doesn’t believe that Jesus’ is also God and has always existed in eternity, then you’ve got the wrong Jesus; and that critical, because if you have the wrong Jesus, you have the wrong Savior! You’d have another Jesus, and not the biblical one.
The Name Above all Names
The Apostle Paul thought it vitally important to have the right Jesus. He knew that others were preaching a different gospel with a different Jesus, and unless the church had the right gospel, they would have no salvation. Paul wrote about the name Lord Jesus Christ as being above all other names, and indeed it is! Paul says that “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” (Phil 2:9-11). Most who refuse to believe in Jesus have said that they will never bow the knee to Jesus, however since we know God’s Word is true, Paul says that “every tongue will confess” and “every knee [will] bow” at “the name of Jesus.” That’s guaranteed by God’s Word. Those “under the earth” are likely those who have already died and either they bowed the knee willingly in this life and are saved, or they are made to bend the knee by the fear of being in God’s presence for their being judged (Heb 9:27), but every knee will bow; no doubt! Those “in heaven and on earth” have already bowed the knee. For the lost, they will still bow the knee but face a terror so great it cannot be described (Rev 20:12-15; 21:8).
There is real power in Jesus’ name but we also have access to the throne of God by His Holy Name. When we pray, we must pray in His name and for His glory and for His will, otherwise, there will be no real power in our prayers, but if we pray according to God’s will and for His glory, Jesus says, “ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified” (John 15:7-8a), and God the Father is always interested in glorifying Jesus’ name. So must we.