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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Larsen

What Does the Name “Jesus” Mean?

There was a worship song that I used to love singing when I was in high school.  My youth group had formed a worship team, and I was one of the guitarists as well as a singer, along with my friends.  We would sing in church, and occasionally we’d take the show on the road and perform at other churches or youth gatherings.

The song I’m reminiscing about was called “Jesus: There’s Something About that Name.”  It was recorded by the Gaithers and it was a gripping melody; very simple musically and lyrically.  But for me (and undoubtedly for others), very meaningful.  Some of the lyrics go like this: “Jesus (repeated several times) there’s something about that name. Master, Savior, like the fragrance after the rain.” (Credit goes to the songwriters: Gloria and William J. Gaither)

As we step boldly into the gospels and start our journey reading about Jesus I agree with the song title.  There’s something about that name. 

What does the name Jesus mean?

In his gospel, Luke tells us this story about the angel who visits Mary, Jesus’ mother, to forewarn her about events to come: Luke 1:30 – 33 (New Living Translation): “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

In Matthew’s gospel, we read the story where an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph, Mary’s fiance, after Mary becomes pregnant. Matthew 1:20 – 21 (NLT): …An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

In my Bible, there’s a note attached to the name Jesus that reads, “Jesus means The Lord Saves.”  It is also commonly believed that Jesus translates to Yahweh saves. Yahweh is a name that Old Testament Jewish people used to address God.  So, God (Yahweh) is sending his son (Jesus) to save us.  It’s all right there in the name!

As we read further in Matthew’s gospel, we learn another name for Jesus and its meaning: Matthew 1:22 - 23 (NLT): All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.” (The verses Matthew is referring to here are Isaiah 7:14.)

I did some homework on the name Jesus to see if I could gain any additional insights.  In Hebrew, Jesus’ name is Yehoshua which, over time, became contracted to the shorter Yeshua. Yehoshua, and therefore Yeshua as well, means “the Lord is salvation.”

If ever a name was packed with significance, it is the name Jesus. Scripture says Jesus has been given “the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9–11, New International Version).

I find it so wonderful that as God orchestrated his master plan for sending his only begotten son to earth, that he left no detail to chance. He even instructed the couple he chose as earthly parents what to name him, the most powerful name of all.

As we read further into the life of Jesus, we learn that the name of Jesus represents spiritual authority and power over evil forces.  Mark’s gospel relates several stories of Jesus’ power to make demons flee from people they possess, and others in which Jesus’ followers purge people from evil demons simply by summoning Jesus’ name.

So, what does all this tell us as Christians?  To me, it tells us that we serve a powerful God and we have a loving and powerful advocate in Jesus.  We can rest assured that there is nothing that we will ever encounter in our lives that Jesus can not see us through. Jesus was sent to us by the Father in order to provide salvation to those of us who believe in Him.

And although that knowledge doesn’t guarantee (or even suggest) an easy life with no challenges … it means that as we encounter the troubles of life that will always accompany us, we can reach out at any time to Jesus for help as we go about our way. And we know that from the very beginning, Jesus was our Savior, our Salvation.  His message is love and that provides me with so much comfort.

Let’s pray:  Dear Father, thank you for sending your son and for naming Him such a beautiful, meaningful name that we can call on for all occasions.  Amen.


I’m ending this blog today with the Gaithers’ recording of There’s Something About That Name.  Enjoy.



22 views2 comments


Jun 27

So sad that a name with such a weight of meaning - beautifully explained in this blog - is now more often used as a swear word.

Laurie Larsen
Laurie Larsen
Jul 02
Replying to

You are so right!!

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