Sunday, January 17, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: What Does the Name of "Jesus" Mean, and Not Mean?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

What does the name of "Jesus" mean? We are told in Acts 4:12 that there is salvation in no other name; Philippians 2:10 says that at last "every knee" shall bow to that name; Acts 3:6 says that name caused the man born lame to walk. Says the poet, "The name of Jesus is so sweet, I love its music to repeat." But isn't it time that we should learn what the name means? It's more than mere emotion or tradition. There is dynamite locked in the very Hebrew name itself.

First, what does it not mean? It does not mean "Jesus would like to save," or "perhaps He will save," and it does not mean "He offers to save." The simple Hebrew meaning within the word is "Jehovah saves." Here's what He is, not what He would like to be: He is a Savior. His proper title was recognized by the believing Samaritans (they got there before the Jews did!): "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42). He gives, not merely offers, His flesh "for the life of the world" (6:51).

Furthermore, He is not a co-Savior, sharing the job with any one else, least of all us. You and I can't share the honor! He "is able to save to the uttermost," that is, not part way and then leaving us to finish the job (Heb. 7:25).

This makes some people nervous; they're afraid that if we say He saves completely that we're going to get lazy and not do "good works." But they don't realize that when one appreciates what it cost the Savior to save us, when the dimensions of His sacrifice are realized, the human heart is so moved, so "constrained" (2 Cor. 5:14, 15), that the result is total dedication to the One "who died for [us] and rose again." There is no end to the "good works" that His agape love will forever "constrain" us to do.

While Jesus saves, we have something to do, but it's better to say we have something to believe. John 3:16 does not mention a part we have to play in effecting our salvation other than to believe, which means "with the heart one believes to righteousness" (Rom 10:10). We let Him save us; we stop resisting Him. You are drowning in the ocean and the lifeguard saves you completely, at the risk of his life. Do you cooperate with him? Yes, otherwise you drown. Do you help save yourself? No. You don't give him a dollar tip and walk off proud of yourself; you thank him for the rest of your life, and you walk humbly ever after.

Not one person eternally saved will talk about his own accomplishment. There is a song the redeemed will sing that we can begin to sing now (Rev. 5:11-13).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 26, 1999.
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