And He Called His Name Jesus
DECEMBER 10, 2020
And he [Joseph] called his name Jesus. — Matthew 1:25b
Who is this holy wild man who trusts in visions of angels and his beloved Mary’s news about the Christ whom she was to birth and they were to raise? Joseph is one of the most important figures in the entire New Testament and yet he is rarely mentioned. After the birth of Jesus, he more or less fades out of the picture. I wonder how he felt about that as the shadows of his own life lengthened?
There in the stable with buzzing flies and puffing beasts, I imagine Joseph held the Baby just like every other Daddy. The experience is filled with wonder, hope, and expectation. At the same time, a knee-buckling, gut-wrenching, time-stopping holiness must’ve filled the air, his heart, and dreams. “Jesus.” He was to call him “Jesus.” Not “Moses”, not “Isaiah.” Not even “Joseph Jr.” That name… Jesus is a beautiful name. A cleansing name. A haunting name. A saving name.
It is also a name that is easy to forget. We forget about him but not because the Father didn’t glorify him or because he failed at his mission while here on the Earth. We tend to forget and take for granted those we love the most. “I’ll call my brother tomorrow.” Forgetting to make eye contact with your spouse. Squeezing five more minutes into work while your son waits to throw the ball. When we forget someone it isn’t always because we don’t love them. In fact, it is often because they have loved us so well, extended grace so often, and have always been happy just to be together.
After laying Jesus in the manger, I’m certain Joseph must’ve walked outside, looked up at the stars, let out a sigh, and whispered, “Jesus.” I wonder if in his last minutes if he whispered it again before crossing into Paradise? I imagine he did so with a grin on his face.