What’s in a Name?

Today’s “verse of the day” from Bible Gateway is a passage from Matthew.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 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 1:20-21 (NIV)

The context of this passage is that Joseph has just found out his fiancée is pregnant—a definite taboo in that society—and is considering divorcing her (engagement was almost equal to marriage then).

God sent an angel to deliver a message to Joseph, telling him to go ahead and marry Mary. What’s remarkable in this passage is how this message would have been heard by Joseph. In his day the name Jesus was about as commonplace as Smith is in our Western world.

In a moment Joseph has an incredible experience with God, which is mixed with the commonplace and the everyday. We see that God is not only supernatural, He’s also practical. God frequently takes the ordinary and brings it to a place of marvel. The passage also shows us how God’s true nature is to be relevant to the culture of the day.