The angel Gabriel told Joseph, “[Mary] 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 1:21). Jesus is the captain of our salvation, the High Priest of our confession, and the Savior of the world. It is only through Him that one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Although He is God, one night in Bethlehem He humbled Himself as a servant and was made in human likeness so He could save us (Philippians 2:5-11).
The name Jesus is special and is the same name as Joshua. The ending letters of these names reflects the Greek and Aramaic spellings respectively. Two notable Joshuas appear in the Old Testament. The first, and most memorable, was Israel’s captain at their first settlement in Canaan. He succeeded Moses as a result of his dissenting belief (along with Caleb’s) in God’s power to assist the Israelites in conquering Canaan (Numbers 14:6-8).
Old Testament names were fluid, and Captain Joshua was no different. Joshua started life with the name Hosea. Moses prefixed the first syllable of God’s name, Jehovah, to create the name Jehoshua. The name Jehoshua intimates the Messiah, who was to bear that name, should be Jehovah. Jesus’ name in Hebrew is Yeshua, which is very similar to Joshua, occasionally spelled Jeshua, a form used commonly in the book of Zecharia.
The second Joshua was the high priest at the second settlement after the captivity, who received a crown made from silver and gold (Zechariah 6:11-12). He was also called the Branch, just as Jesus is (Isaiah 4:2, Jeremiah 33:15).
Jesus is not only our Captain and King, He is our eternal High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). This combination of king and priest was known in the Old Testament only through the mysterious figure Melchizedek (Genesis 4:18, Psalm 110:4). The Law of Moses stipulated the Levite priests were forbidden to be kings; likewise, kings were forbidden to be priests. Jesus, our eternal, transcendent One, is worthy of both mantles and is praised continually in Heaven because of who He is and what He has done (Revelation 5:9-14).
Jesus came to Earth as a Jew to the Jewish nation of Israel, God’s chosen people. Jesus, however, came not only for the Jews, but for everyone, Jew and Gentile alike. God loves all people, for He made us all in His image (Genesis 1:27). “His” people are composed of anyone who believes on Jesus Christ as their Savior. The whosoever in John 3:16 means anyone of any nation. The Great Commission confirms this, as Jesus told us to preach His Gospel to all nations. Anyone who asks Him into their heart is one of His people as well as a Christian soldier under our Captain’s command.
Those whom Christ saves He saves from their sins – from the guilt of sin by the merit of His death, and from the dominion of sin by the Spirit of his grace. In saving them from sin, He saves them from wrath and the curse, and all misery here and hereafter. Christ came to save His people, not in their sins, but from their sins. He also came to purchase for them, not a liberty to sin, but a liberty from sins, to redeem them from all iniquity (Titus 2:14) and to redeem them from among men (Revelation 14:4).
It is normal for Jesus Christ to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). Just as through one man sin entered the world, so through One man salvation is achieved. Jesus act of righteousness brings life for all men. Through His death on the Cross and resurrection, He has conquered death once for all. Because Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him or those who believe on Him.
Jesus Christ is our Joshua and will lead us to the Promised Land of Heaven. He is the Captain of our salvation as well as our Savior and King. He is worthy of all power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and praise (Revelation 5:12). Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). He is the only mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5). Thank Him this Christmas for being the author and Captain of our salvation.
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In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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