The Name of Jesus was first spoken by the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary. His Name came down from heaven along with the promise that Jesus would be “great, the Son of the Most High, sitting on the throne of David and ruling over the house of Jacob in an eternal Kingdom.” (cf. Lk. 1:32-33)
Mary was the first one given the exact name of the Son of God. All other names about Jesus were descriptive: “Emmanuel (God-with-us), Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father forever, Prince of Peace.” (Is. 7:14; 9:5) The Name “Jesus” means “Savior.” “Jesus” is the Latin form of the Greek Name, “Iesous” which transliterated the Hebrew name Joshua or Jeshua.
The first person to be named Joshua in the Bible is Joshua, the son of Nun, who himself received the name from Moses. (Num. 13:16). In the Book of Numbers, Moses renames Heshua, Joshua. “Heshua” means “Salvation” while “Joshua” means “God saves.” Moses added the divine prefix to his name. Joshua, coming from the promised land, describes the land that the Israelites are to take as “a good land, a land which flows with milk and honey.” (Num. 14:7, 8) Joshua is also the one to lead the Israelite people into the promised land across the Jordan River and to say to the Israelite people: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Jos. 24:15)
The name “Jesus” is also a family name for the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the genealogy of Jesus according to Luke, one of Jesus’ ancestors is “Joshua, son of Eliezer.” (Lk. 3:29) Elizabeth was asked about the name John, because it was not a family name. Mary does not have to ask the question that was asked of Elizabeth, because Jesus was a family name. The plan of salvation comes through a woman, and was started long ago. The very name of Jesus was given at the beginning with Joshua, son of Nun, continues in the line of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Joshua, son of Eliezer, and finds its completion with the Name pronounced first from heaven by the angel Gabriel, Jesus, the son of Joseph. (Lk. 3:23) The Blessed Virgin Mary knows that this Jesus, her son, is the new Joshua, who comes from our heavenly home and so can tell us of it. He receives the name “God saves,” a family name. He leads his people across the new Jordan by baptism to enter into the promised inheritance of the Son of God.