And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for (γαρ; grounds clause) he [himself] shall save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21 KJV).
Here are some gleanings from my message prep for the Second Sunday in Epiphany (which is also Sanctity of Human Life Sunday).
Matt. 1:21 is the fulfillment of the promise of Is. 49:1d, “From the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.” So, naturally, it has weighed in on my studies.
I’ve always found this verse to be one of the strongest indirect proofs for Jesus’ deity, similar to Matt. 11:27, St. Matthew’s so-called logion. And there is a transparent word play intended in Jesus’ name in Matt. 1:21 (see fn. 1).
The command to name the Messiah Jesus (Arm. Yesuah or Joshua) is premised or grounded on the fact that “he himself will save his people from their sins” (1:21b). I’ve always struggled to put Jesus’ deity from indirect texts into a sound and valid syllogism. For instance, consider the synthesis of the following verses.
St. John 1:9 calls Jesus “the true Light.” Likewise, in 1 Jn. 1:5 we learn that “God is light.” It seems that these two could be brought into a meaningful deductive relation.
1. Jesus is the true Light;
2. God is Light;
3. Therefore, Jesus is God.
The apparent problem with this is that it creates a formal fallacy, the undistributed middle. No manner of arrangement has proven to be free of either logical or theological fallacies, as far as I can tell. It is clearer when we use other subjects.
1. My Jeep is blue;
2. The sky is blue;
3. Therefore, my jeep is the sky.
Despite these past blunders in trying to create a cogent argument from indirect biblical data, a discussion with Beaner this morning revealed that Matt. 1:21 provides just such a possibility.
1. Yeshua is Savior of Israel (Matt. 1:21)
2. The only Savior of Israel is YHWH (Is. 43:11; 45:15, 21, etc.)
3. Therefore, Yeshua is YHWH.
As far as I can see, this argument is both sound and valid; it is free from logical fallacies. Additionally, it is perfectly consistent with the NT authors’ regular attribution of kurios to Jesus, which are in their OT contexts attributed to YHWH.