Did you know Jesus didn’t have a name for 8 days? Through the whole Christmas story Jesus is called “child,” “first-born son,” “him” and “baby,” but never by a name. That is, until Luke 1:21 which states, “After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” I wonder what Mary and Joseph called him that week and a day… Baby? Hey You? Little one? Boy?
In scripture names are deep and purposeful. They carry meaning and weight. In Genesis Adam gets his name because God forms him from adamah, which means earth. God changes Abram to Abraham because it means father of a great multitude. Jesus renames Simon “Peter,” which means rock, because it is on him that he will build his church. In the Bible names inform and instruct and the naming of Jesus is as important as any other name in the book.
While Jesus wasn’t officially named until the eighth day, in all actuality Mary and Joseph knew what he would be called before he was born.
When the prophet Isaiah spoke of him he declared, “For a child has been born to us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
When the angel appeared to Joseph the angel said, “Mary will bear a son, and you will name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
The evangelist Matthew also points out the prophecy, “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and they shall name him Emmanuel which means, ‘God is with us.’” (Matthew 1:23)
An angel tells Mary, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” (Luke 1:32)
It doesn’t really matter what Mary and Joseph called Jesus for those first eight days. What matters today is what we call him- how we honor the name. May we remember his name: Jesus, which means the one who saves. And his nicknames: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, Son of the Most High. And as Mary treasured the Christmas happenings in her heart, may we too come to treasure his name.
In the Way,