What’s in the Name
Scripture Reading — Psalm 130:1-8
“You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” — Matthew 1:21
We all have times when we choose our own way instead of God’s way. That’s when we need Psalm 130. This psalm is a prayer for personal forgiveness. “God, I really messed up this time! I can’t sleep because of my sins. So I keep watching for some sign that you forgive me.”
We all commit personal sins. But those sins don’t stand alone. Every personal sin is embedded within a larger web of sinfulness. That sinfulness infects families, orchestras, and baseball teams. It infects prisons and police departments, courtrooms and classrooms. It infects zoning laws, constitutions, and gang culture.
Psalm 130 reflects this bigger picture. It may start with personal sins, but it moves on to the sinfulness that has infected Israel as a nation. That sinfulness troubles Israel from their time of slavery in Egypt all the way to their exile in Babylon! Israel needs to be saved from this sinfulness. And there is only one hope. The psalm ends on that note: “[The Lord] himself will redeem Israel from all their sins” (v. 8).
The angel of the Lord speaks of this hope when he tells Mary what to name her baby. “Jesus” means “the Lord saves.” But not only will Jesus save Israel; he will also take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). And that includes me and you, personally.
Lord Jesus, thank you for dealing with my personal sins, with all the ways I mess up. Thank you even more that you take away the sin of the world! Amen.