From John Broadus on Matthew 1:21:
It is familiar fact that Hebrew names were commonly significant, a natural and pleasing custom. This being no longer a usage with us, we often give names of great and good men who have lived in other days. Sometimes heroes of fiction. This too is beautiful. Names often make an impression upon those who bear them. So with many Who have borne the names of warriors, orators; sometimes of preachers, and other good men. But names have often been falsified; and more often, there are those who dishonor some renowned and venerable name which has been given to them. These things are not wholly unimportant. And especially might we observe that one name, not individual, but of a party, is often borne in vain-the name Christian. Truly it is many times “a word and nothing more.”
But the name here directed to be given was not in vain. The word Jesus means Saviour. And truly did he become a Saviour. He is Jesus Christ, the Saviour anointed-he ever lives to save. In the reasons assigned for giving him this name, there are taught great and glorious truths. Let us attend to them.
He shall save. Emphatic in the original.
1. He, and not we ourselves, save us. We could not have accomplished the work. And it is not a joint affair, by the union of his merit and ours. He alone saves.
2. He is the Saviour, and not our faith in him. Danger of exalting faith into an agency, and giving it credit for our salvation, while it is but a relation to him Faith ought not to be regarded as a meritorious work, “paying part of our debt.” Such an expression is most unfortunate. He is the author of eternal salvation. Let us not think there is merit in ordinances, nor in exercises, but Jesus is the Saviour. Let us look to him, receive him, submit to him, make him our all and in all.
3. He is to be seen, not as exalted, but as humbled-not as living a life of splendor, but as dying a death of shame. The expectations of his earthly friends were to be disappointed; his cherished, even strengthening hopes to be blasted, but when the sword of acutest suffering was piercing his soul, then would he be accomplishing his great work, thus becoming the author of salvation. Jesus Christ, and him crucified-the climax of his life, the center of his work.
Of his death alone did he appoint a memorial-not of his miracles, not of his brief hour of seeming earthly triumph, but his disciples in all ages must meet and eat bread and drink wine to “show forth the Lord’s death.” Yes, it is our dying Lord that is the Saviour — yet not dead, for he rose again, he burst the bars of death, he is alive forevermore.
He then shall save. In his own discourses we observe what with reverence may be called a sublime and holy egotism. Fitly does he speak of himself, for he is the Lord and with beginning and end, author and finisher. In him be our trust, to him the glory-yea, his beloved name shall be in the chorus of the everlasting song. [From Favorite Sermons of John A. Broadus.]