Epistles to the Cyberchurch - Su Min

From: Su Min
Subject: The Name Jesus


Thursday 19th December 1996


To all my extended family in cyberspace, and all my new friends at antioch.com.sg, friends, Romans, countrymen: Greetings in the name of Jesus!


In keeping with the theme of the season and the spirit of Christmas, I am drawn to the Nativity scene:

As I myself come to the Christ Child in the manger in homage and worship, I ponder on the Name above all other names.


The angel of the Lord who appeared to Joseph had told him of the Holy Conception that Mary has experienced, and said, "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew_1:21)
Matthew_1:25_records that Joseph complied..."And he gave him the name Jesus"

Turning to the account in Luke, the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary, "You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus" (Luke_1:31)
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. (Luke_2:21)

THE NAME "JESUS" The personal name of our Lord and Saviour, as rendered in the Chinese Hanyu

PinYin is "Ye Xu". Mary, mother of Jesus, did not speak Chinese.

The name of our Lord as rendered in English is "Jesus". Mary did not speak English.

The name of our Lord as rendered in Latin is "Jesu". Mary did not speak Latin.

The name of our Lord, as in the Greek text of the gospel is "Iesous", (pronounced Ee-ay-sooce), Strong's Concordance #2424. Did Mary speak Greek? I think not. There is enough in the bible to suggest to me that Jesus, Mary and Joseph spoke Aramaic, a dialect of the Hebrew language. (Mark_5:41,_Mark_7:34,_ Mark_14:36,_Mark_15:34.)

Was then, the infant Jesus named "Iesous"? I think not. The Hebrew name must have been used, and it seems to me that it must have been "Joshua", or one of the variants.

"Joshua" has the meaning "God Saves", or "Yaweh is Salvation". The Greek "Iesous" reflects the Aramaic contraction "Yesu". "Joshua" was a common enough Jewish name: One of the great Joshuas was Joshua, son of Nun, (1 Colossians_7:27,_Numbers_1:10), noted for backing Caleb in the glowing report of promised land expedition (Num 13,14)

[As an aside, we read that Joshua was originally named Hosea (Salvation) Num 13:, and Moses added the Divine name in Numbers_13:16_"Yah-hosea" or Jehoshua.]

It seems to me that the angelic proclamation must have been heard in a tongue that was familiar, and the name given to our Lord must have been "Joshua", perhaps contracted to "Yesu" for intimate usage. The Blessed Virgin Mary, as she cuddled, nursed weaned and raised her son, would therefore have called him "Joshua" and perhaps "Yesu". God Saves. Yaweh is Salvation.


"You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew_1:21)
Jesus, Saviour, saves His people from their sins.


Within the gospel text of the Christmas story, more titles and names are given to our Lord.
Jesus Christ (Matthew_1:1) "Christ" is the Greek rendition of "Anointed", reflecting the OT "Messiah".

The Jewish hopes of the inter-testimental times were centred on the establishment of God's kingdom, taken to mean an earthly reign in association with the coming of an agent of God, who would become king, appointed by God and belonging to the line of David. Such a person could be king, priest or prophet, and was called the "Anointed One", in Hebrew "Masiah", in Greek "Messias", and Anglicised to "Messiah".

Son of David (Matthew_1:1), reflecting his lineage from the Psalmist.

Joseph being the lawful father of Jesus, but not the biological, and Matthew traces the lineage of Abraham down to David, and thence down to Joseph, specifically in Matthew_1:16..
and Jacob, the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ.

Luke traces the lineage backwards from Joseph down to David and down God (Luke_3:23-38.) The non- biologic relationship between Jesus and Joseph is also declared. "He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph." (Luke_3:23)

They will call Him "Immanuel" which means "God with us" (Matthew_1:23), (Also spelt "Emmanuel")
This name "Immanuel" was already prophesied by Isaiah (Isaiah_7:14,_8:8)

Jesus was God in flesh, man yet God, and as man He was God dwelling with us, here on earth. Immanuel: God with us!

"King of the Jews" (Matthew_2:2)
The wise men from the east knew that this child was a destined to be King.

"Ruler" (Matthew_2:6)
They quoted a prophecy from Micah:5:2

"Shepherd of my people Israel" (Matthew_2:6)

"Son of the Most High" (Luke_1:32)

"Son of God" (Luke_1:35)


This Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, ponder upon your relationship with the "Son of God".

"You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins"

Beloved, are you saved?

For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min

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