"What's In a Name" (Or, "Being called names by other people&


a sermon based upon Isaiah 9:2-7

In the first chapter of the first book in our New Testament, Matthew writes about the soon-coming birth of Jesus Christ:

When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they

came together, she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit. And her

husband, Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame,

resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel

of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do

not fear to take Mary your wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the

Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will

save his people from their sins."

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet

[Isaiah]: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall

be called ‘Emmanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’)." When Joseph awoke

from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him. He took his

wife [Mary], but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his

name Jesus."

(Matthew 1:18-25)

The prophet Isaiah had said that the awaited Savior-child would be called "Emmanuel". I can imagine the boys in his street as a child hollering: "Hey, Manuel, kick the ball my way!" "Hey, Manny, over here!" The prophet had said in no uncertain terms that his name shall be called "Emmanuel". In Hebrew, the word "Emmanuel" means "God with us".

And yet, the angel from the Lord, speaking to Joseph in that same dream, said that Mary would bear a son, and Joseph was to call his name "Jesus", for he will save his people from their sins. "Jesus" – Yeshua in Hebrew, the same as the name "Joshua" – meant "Deliverer" or "Savior".