Was Jesus Name an Affront to the Jews?

by Christine Sine

by Christine Sine

Today is Jesus name day. Usually this is a day when I think about the many names by which I love to call Jesus – Saviour, Counsellor, Companion, Prince of Peace. Today however my thoughts went in another direction. Perhaps it is because I have been thinking a lot about the vulnerability of Mary and Joseph in their society. Perhaps it is because 2018 has been a year of seeing things differently for me.

How did Mary and Joseph’s family and the local villagers feel about him being named Jesus?

After all the name Yeshua in Hebrew is a verbal derivative from “to rescue”, “to deliver”. It was a common name at that time, but even so I wonder if it was an affront to their sensibilities. How dare they call this illegitimate son “saviour”  and “deliverer”.

What doubts did Mary and Joseph bring to that naming day?

I can imagine that prophecy of Simeon was a tremendous reassurance to them:

“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
    as you have promised.
30 I have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared for all people.
32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
    and he is the glory of your people Israel!”  (Luke 2:29-32)

Anna’s prophecy too, even though we do not know her words, must have reinforced this.

when I went online to see what others thought about this I could not find a single article, so if you know of other reflections that talk about how Jesus culture responded I would love to know about them.

What’s In Your Name?

As I thought about this, I found myself reflecting on my own name Christine — Christ follower. Now it seems appropriate. Today I see myself first and foremost as a Christ follower, others tell me the same and I think God does too. But that has not always been the case. Once it would have been the furthest thing from people’s minds when they looked at me. I was a difficult, rebellious child who, I suspect, gave my parents and those around me much grief. Yet it was obviously a God chosen name.

What name do you think God calls you by? What doubts do you have about the appropriateness of that name? What are the prophetic voices that remind you of its authenticity? How does this shape what you plan for the next year?

 

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