The name “Jesus” is the English transliteration of the Greek Ιήσούς /YEY-soos/. Jesus (Ιήσούς) is the Greek name for the Hebrew name “Joshua” (Yeshua), which means “Yahweh is salvation” or “Yahweh saves.” Bible names are almost always significant and that is certainly true of Jesus’ name.
After learning his fiancée Mary was pregnant, Joseph understandably was confused and bewildered. Reassuring him, an angel of the Lord explained that Mary’s pregnancy was of God and that he should marry Mary. Moreover, when the baby boy was born, Joseph was to name the child Jesus, “because He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). The word translated because in Matthew 1:21 indicates the name Jesus is particularly significant. In other places, as well, the Gospel writers were explicit about God’s intention that the child be named Jesus and the fact that He was so named (see v. 25; Luke 1:31; 2:21). Clearly this was no afterthought on God’s part, but part of a plan that had been in place for many centuries (see Matt. 1:21 in light of Ps. 130:7-8).
A few of the many additional verses in the New Testament that echo the significance of Jesus’ name are John 20:31; Acts 2:38; 4:10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Philippians 2:9-10; 1 John 3:23.
B. Nathaniel Sullivan
Christian educator, Bible teacher, and Editor