new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

November's Verse

(By Jonny McCollum – working with New Life Fellowship)

Ocean, Satchel, Apple, Pilot. What do these words have in common? They’re just a few of the weird and wacky names celebrities have given to their kids. And it’s not just celebrities who are up to it—a New Zealand couple weren’t allowed to call their child ‘4Real’ (apparently names can’t contain a digit) and they had to come up with a more conventional name. Their choice? ‘Superman’.

Why would a parent choose such a quirky name? Maybe it’s to prove a point, or perhaps it’s just to get attention. Most parents choose a name for more obvious reasons—some babies are named after friends or family. Some are named after singers or footballers. But often a name is chosen simply because the parents like how it sounds.

In some cultures names are deeply significant. Names aren’t chosen because of how they sound, but of because of what they mean. The name reflects the parents’ hopes and aspirations for their newborn child. It’s hard for us to grasp just how significant a baby’s name is in other cultures. 2000 years ago, Jesus was born into one of these cultures. So surely Joseph and Mary had a particularly difficult decision to make?

Not really, no.

Months before Jesus was born, an angel appeared to Joseph and gave Him instructions. The verse on the calendar this month contains one of these instructions.

“Give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” (Matt 1:21)

The message was clear—the baby was to be called Jesus. The name means ‘God saves’, and that’s exactly why Jesus was born. He was the saviour that God had been promising for thousands of years. This unborn child was the one who would save His people from their sins. He would deal with the guilt and the punishment that are part and parcel of doing wrong.

Often we can try to save ourselves from our sins—we try hard to be good so we can make up for our past mistakes. But we can never be good enough. We can never get rid of our guilt. We can only be rescued if we turn to the rescuer.

Jesus is the only person who can deal with our sins because he is the only one who has no sins of his own to deal with. Only Jesus can rescue us from our guilt. If we ask him to, Jesus will save us from our sins. It’s what he was born to do.