Yahweh Saves

In the first chapter of Matthew, an angel informed Joseph that the child carried by Mary was “begotten of the Holy Spirit,” and he instructed him to name the child ‘Jesus’ - “For he will save his people from their sins.” This name pointed to the saving act of God about to be revealed, and his supernatural begetting stresses the activity of the Life-Giving Spirit in his life and mission from the very start. In the Nazarene, the salvation of the Living God promised to Israel and given to the nations had arrived.

The first verse of Matthew identifies the child as the “son of Abraham.” This is more than one name among many on a genealogical chart. Not only was he the biological descendant of Abraham, but he also came to fulfill the promises made to the Patriarch, and Matthew demonstrates this in several ways - (Matthew 1:20-21).

First Light - Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash
[Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash]

For example, the announcement to Joseph is conceptually parallel to the prediction made to Abraham about his firstborn son, which occurred when he was ninety-nine years old, and Sarah was ninety. Though not a virgin, she was well beyond childbearing age, making her pregnancy miraculous. Moreover, like the announcement of the angel, Abraham received the name of his son by divine appointment - (Genesis 17:19 – “
You will call his name Isaac”).

Just as the angel announced his name to Joseph, “Jesus,” the one who “saves his people from sin,” so likewise God commanded Abraham to name his son “Isaac” since through him He established His covenant “for his seed after him.”

The name ‘Jesus’ or ‘Joshua’ first appears in the Book of Exodus - “And Moses said to Joshua….” His original name was ‘Hoshea,’ the “son of Nun,” one of the twelve spies sent to investigate the land of Canaan. Later, Moses changed his name from ‘Hoshea’ to ‘Joshua,’ or more correctly, ‘Ye-hoshua’ - (Numbers 13:1-8, Exodus 17:9).

The name ‘Hoshea’ means “salvation, deliverance, help.” It is derived from the Hebrew verb for “save, help, deliver,” or yasha (Strong’s - #H3467). For example, “Yahweh SAVED Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians” - (Exodus 14:30. Compare Deuteronomy 20:4).

By prefixing the first syllable of the Hebrew name Yahweh to Hoshea, it became Ye-hoshua. In several of the later books of the Hebrew Bible, the second syllable was dropped, and the name was contracted to Yeshua - (Nehemiah 8:17, Ezra 2:2).


The form ‘Jesus’ is the anglicized spelling of ‘Yeshua,’ and it means more than “savior.” It is a combination of the name Yahweh and the Hebrew word for “save” or “salvation,” and thus it means “YAHWEH SAVES” or “salvation of Yahweh.”

The promised salvation of God has come to fruition in Jesus of Nazareth. Through his death and resurrection, his people have been delivered from sin and its consequences.

The angel’s announcement to Joseph that “he will save his people from their sins” echoes key themes from the ‘Servant’s Song’ of the Book of Isaiah. For example:

  • (Isaiah 53:10-11) – “Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you will make his soul an offering for sin, he will see his seed, he will prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahweh will prosper in his hand. He will see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by the knowledge of himself WILL MY RIGHTEOUS SERVANT JUSTIFY MANY, AND HE WILL CARRY THEIR SINS.”

Sun Rays - Photo by Mier Chen on Unsplash
[Photo by Mier Chen on Unsplash]

The genealogy of Jesus in 
Matthew begins with Abraham, the Great Patriarch and progenitor of Israel. He is the “Son of Abraham,” the promised “Seed” who brings the covenant promises to fulfillment. He also is the “Son of David,” the prophesied Messiah and King who will reign from David’s Throne on Mount Zion, and usher in the Kingdom of God on the Earth.

Jesus is the Greater Joshua, the King and Ruler of God’s people who delivers them from bondage to Satan and shepherds them to the true ‘Promised Land,’ the Kingdom of God. In the truest sense, he is the one who “saves his people from their sins.”

  • The Anointed Servant - (The Spirit of God and the voice from heaven confirmed the calling and identity of Jesus – the Son, Messiah, and the Servant of Yahweh)
  • Son and Spirit - (Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed Son of God. From the start, his life was characterized by the empowering presence of the Spirit)
  • The Heir of Abraham - (Jesus is the true Son of Abraham, the heir of the promises, the Anointed One who fulfills and implements the inheritance for his people)


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