One Thing Alone
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
The name “Jesus” is a transliteration of the Hebrew name Joshua, which means “God is salvation.” It was not an uncommon name, just like Jesus Himself didn’t appear out-of-the-ordinary to those who grew up with Him. Yet His given name holds great significance to who He is and what He did on earth.
In the Old Testament narrative, Joshua led the Israelites into Canaan. He saved the people through courageous leadership, charging into battle upon bloody battle, leading hundreds of thousands into the promised land. In contrast with the first Joshua, the second Joshua (Jesus) saved through an epic battle that He fought alone, quietly making the way for His people to enter the Promised Land of God’s presence.
Jesus’ life was filled with one purpose: to save His people from their sins. Every move, word, and interaction was pointed to this purpose. What the first Joshua was powerless to do, the second Joshua was born to accomplish.
The Israelites were waiting for a political leader like Joshua, who would free them from the yoke of Roman oppression and allow them to live in the land God had promised them, as their forefathers had been freed from Egyptian slavery and led into Canaan. They wanted a macho man who would make the Romans run in fear and reinstate Israel as an autonomous country.
But Jesus’ perspective is always bigger than ours; His gaze was set on the universal dilemma of sin. His battle was one of cosmic proportions to deliver all who believe in Him from the bondage of soul-deadening sin and welcome us into the family of God.
Challenge: As you enter this season of Advent, what expectations do you have of Jesus? Are you expecting Him to provide finances, heal a loved one, mend a marriage, or do any other “personal request”? He very well may… or He may not. Rather than imposing your own agenda on Jesus, open yourself to His saving touch, and ask Him to show you what He wants to do in your life. Begin the Advent season with an open heart filled with hope because of Jesus our Savior.
Prayer: Precious Jesus, thank You for coming to save not just Israel but all those who call on You. I often get wrapped up in my own self-righteousness and feel like my salvation is done and over with, but You desire a continual renewal of my heart; You want to save me from my own self-righteousness and transform me into Your image. Search me, O God, and know my heart. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Further study: Psalm 139; Isaiah 53; Matthew 21:11; Luke 2:11; Romans 11:26