Matthew 1:21

Jesus was the personal name of our Lord, the Greek equivalent of the old Jewish name "Joshua," and not unknown in Hebrew families. Therefore to his contemporaries it would not have the unique associations that it has for us. It would be merely the designation of an individual. But everything that Christ touches is elevated to a new value by his contact with it. Now that he has been named "Jesus," that name is to us precious "as ointment poured forth."

I. THE MAIN MISSION OF CHRIST IS TO SAVE. His work may be regarded in many lights, fie is the great Teacher. His kingly throne is set up, and he has come to rule over us. In daily life he is the "Friend that sticketh closer than a brother." But before all he is the Saviour. This comes first, as the personal name "Jesus" comes before the official title "Christ." It is of his very nature to save. He cannot teach or rule or cheer us effectually until he has saved us. Now, this is the unique glory of Christ. Nature destroys the weak and cherishes the strong. Christ has pity on failure; he comes to rescue from ruin. Wherever there is distress or danger there he finds his peculiar sphere of activity.

II. THE GREAT EVIL FROM WHICH CHRIST SAVES IS SIN. Other evils are also removed. But they are of but a secondary character, and are not worthy to be named in comparison with this dark and direful curse of mankind. When once sin is mastered and cast out, it will be an easy work to expel the secondary troubles of life. For the most part they are the consequences of this monstrous evil, and will depart with it. At all events, we shall be stronger to bear those that remain when the heart-paralysis of moral evil is cured. The last thing that many people want from Christ is to be saved from their sin. They would be glad to be delivered from its pains and penalties, but the thing itself they love and have no wish to abandon. For them there is no salvation. Christ aims at the sin first of all. He treats it as man's deadly foe. For those who feel its weight, here is the very essence of the gospel - What we cannot do for ourselves by resolution and effort he can do for us, if we will open our hearts and let him in. Take this literally. He can save us from our own sins - our defects of character, evil habits, bad temper, vices.

III. THIS SALVATION IS FOR CHRIST'S PEOPLE. Here is a limitation. It must not be forgotten that the Gospel of St. Matthew was written for Jews. Christ's first mission was to "save the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Yet no one who reads the New Testament throughout can doubt that the limitation is not final. The Jew was only to have the first offer of salvation. He was to be invited in to the feast that he might afterwards go out and introduce others. Now the message is that Christ "is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him" (Hebrews 7:25). Yet the specification of "his people" has still an important meaning. Christ is not only the Saviour at the entrance of the Christian life, but throughout its course. The people of God are not perfect; daily they commit new sins, and Christ is their daily Saviour. Not only at the moment of regeneration, but through the long and often sadly stained Christian life, we need Christ to save from sins that still beset us. - W.F.A.

I. Consider this AS AN ENEMY.

1. Behold sin with regard to God.

2. Behold sin in its names.

3. Behold the effects of sin.

4. That Christ derives from this work His highest title.


1. He redeems them by price.

2. He saves them by power.

3. He saves from the guilt of sin.

4. He saves from the love of sin.

(W. Jay.)In old times God was known by names of power, of nature, of majesty; but His name of mercy was reserved till now.

(Bishop J. Taylor.)



1. Whom He saves — "His people."

2. From what He saves — "their sins."

3. How He saves. By His atonement He saves them virtually; by His spirit, vitally; by His grace, constantly; by His power, eternally. Remarks:

(1)Jesus as a suitable Saviour;

(2)a willing Saviour;

(3)an all-sufficient Saviour.

(E. Oakes.)

I. THE WORK HE IS TO ACCOMPLISH is a most great, glorious, and blessed one. "He shall save." Another Scripture says, He shall destroy. "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." These characters are consistent. He demolishes the works of Satan because they stand in His way as Saviour.

1. He saves His people from the penalty of their sins.

2. From the dominion and practice of sin.

3. In the end He saves from the very existence of sin.

4. And from the painful remembrance of their sins.


1. The character in which God most delights to regard His Son.

2. It shows us that He would have us regard Him chiefly as a Saviour.

3. This name may have been given to Christ to endear Him the more to our hearts.

4. We see here beyond all dispute the real nature and design of Christ's religion.

(C. Bradley.)


1. The signification of the name.

2. The appointment of the name. Not left to men's choice.

II. THE REASON FOR THE NAME. Some would rather that He had come to save them from poverty, pains, death; not knowing that to save from sins is to save from all these.

(J. Bennet, D. D.)


1. Sin is itself the greatest of all miseries. It is



(3)more abiding;

(4)the source of all other miseries.

II. A WORK OF VAST MAGNITUDE. Its magnitude realized by dwelling —

1. On the multitudes of the saved.

2. On the nature of the salvation.

3. On the fact that this salvation is wrought by Jesus personally.

(U. R. Thomas.)

I. WHAT THE GOSPEL SHALL, BRING — Salvation from sins.


1. This word teaches us that salvation is Divine. Because Divine it is



(3)infinite. It is illimitable, as the air to the bird.

2. He who gives this salvation stands in solitary grandeur — "He." Nowhere else can we find salvation.

3. The name gives an immutable pledge that we shall be saved.

III. The text informs us OF WHAT THIS SALVATION CONSISTS. "From their sins." Not from the wrath of God primarily.

1. From the guilt, curse, condemnation of sin.

2. From our love, habit, practice of sin.

3. It is not salvation from an abstraction, but from selfishness and self-will.

IV. THE CHARACTER OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD. His people; peculiar, chosen, royal. Are you saved from sins?

(J. Donovan.)

I. Jesus is an OMNIPOTENT Saviour.

1. The presumption of the fact from the infinite wisdom and goodness of God, who never provides a cause unequal to the effect.

2. The declaration of the fact, "He is able to save them to the uttermost," etc.

II. Jesus is a WILLING Saviour.

III. Jesus is a LIVING Saviour.

IV. Jesus is a PRESENT Saviour.

V. Jesus is a PERSONAL Saviour.

VI. Jesus is a SYMPATHIZING Saviour."

(G. H. Smyth.)

I. Let me call your attention to the SAVIOUR. Jesus is Divine; He saves His people from their sins. Not the word, not the ordinances, but Jesus Himself saves.

II. Look at the SALVATION.

1. Jesus saves from sin by bestowing forgiveness — full forgiveness, free, immediate.

2. Jesus saves His people from the pollution of sin; not in their sins, but from their sins.

III. Let us look at the SAVED. "He shall save His people." Who are His people? They must have been at one time in their sins. Therefore no one need despair.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

A Christian Hindoo was dying, and his heathen comrades came around him and tried to comfort him by reading some of the pages of their theology; but he waved his hand, as much as to say, "I don't want to hear it." Then they called in a heathen priest, and he said, "If you will .only recite the Numtra it will deliver you from hell." He waved his hand, as much as to say, "I don't want to hear that." Then they said, "Call on Juggernaut." He shook his head, as much as to say, "I can't do that." Then they thought perhaps he was too weary to speak, and they said, "Now if you can't say ' Juggernaut,' think of that god." He shook his head again, as much as to say, "No, no, no." Then they bent down to his pillow, and they said, "In what will you trust?" His face lighted up with the very glories of the celestial sphere as he cried out, rallying all his dying energies, "Jesus!"

This name Jesus," said St. Bernard, "it is honey in the mouth, harmony in the ear, melody in the heart." "This name Jesus," saith St. Anselm, "it is a name of comfort to sinners when they call upon Him; " therefore he himself saith, "Jesus, be my Jesus." This name is above all names: first, for that it was consecrated from everlasting; secondly, for that it was given of God; thirdly, for that it was desired of the Patriarchs; fourthly, for that it was foretold of the Prophets; fifthly, for that it was accomplished in the time of grace, magnified in the Apostles, witnessed of Martyrs, acknowledged and honoured shall it be of all believers unto the world's end. This name Jesus, it is compared to "oil poured out; " oil being kept close, it sendeth not forth such a savour, as it doth being poured out; and oil hath these properties, it suppleth, it cherisheth, it maketh look cheerfully; so doth this name of Jesus, it suppleth the hardness of our hearts, it cherisheth the weakness of our faith, enlighteneth the darkness of our soul, and maketh man look with a cheerful countenance towards the throne of grace.

(Christopher Sutton.)

sin. — You must be saved from sin not in sin as some seem to imagine. The latter is like saving a man from drowning by keeping him under the water which is destroying him; or like recovering a man from sickness by leaving him under the malady which constitutes the complaint.

(W. Jay.)

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