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Jesus’ Name Is Healer

Did you know that we could translate Jesus’ name with the word healer

To explain what I mean, I need to take you down a little bit of a rabbit trail, but I promise it relates and it’s pretty cool.

In the gospel of Matthew, the angel tells Joseph, “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 

It would be equally accurate to translate this verse, “because he will heal his people from their sins.”

In Greek, the word Matthew uses here is from the root sozo, which means, “save, rescue, deliver, keep safe, preserve, cure, make well.” It’s a word that connotes whole person redemption and restoration. It’s a word that incorporates physical, emotional, mental, communal and social healing. 

But what does that have to do with Jesus’ name? 

In Aramaic, which was the language Jesus spoke, his name was pronounced Yeshua. (In other words, no one actually called him Jesus! They called him Yeshua.) There’s a variant of Yeshua, Yasha, kind of like a nickname. And when the word Yasha gets translated into Greek, it is translated sozein, from the word sozo. Yasha, in other words, means savior, healer, the one who redeems and restores and makes all things well.

So when the angel tells Joseph to name him Jesus and then goes on to give this explanation for that name, there’s actually a connection. Jesus’ name is healer. 

As we enter into this Christmas season, we are invited to bring to this baby in the manger all our wounded places. Our shame and grief. Our mistakes and sins. Our fears and doubts. Our hurt and pain. The ways we have betrayed and the ways we have been betrayed. We are invited to bring them all to the one whose very name is a promise to make us well.

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