September 6th 2009

What’s In A Name?

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6 (NKJ)

In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet asks, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

How true. What we call something doesn’t change its essential character. And yet names or titles can be helpful to us, pointing us toward the meaning, value or importance of an object or a person.

Consider some of the names we find for Jesus Christ in the Bible.

  • Matthew 1:23 calls the child Jesus “God with us.”
  • Mark 1:1 calls him “the Son of God.”
  • Luke 2:32 calls him “a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for Glory to the people of Israel.”
  • John 1:4 calls Jesus “the life that was the light of men.”

These names or titles of Jesus were forecast long before his birth in the words of the Old Testament prophets. We can find more than 300 references about Jesus in the Old Testament foretelling his coming, hundreds of years before He was born to Mary in Bethlehem.

A well known example is Isaiah 7:14, which reads, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel,” which means “God with us.”

There are more than 100 names and titles given to Jesus in the Bible. They describe His character, His personality, His nature, His purpose and identity.

When we see such titles as Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, Lord of lords and King of kings, we get the sense of one who is absolutely wonderful and mighty, and it is certainly comforting to know that He loves us and that we belong to Him.

Another word associated with Jesus is “Christ.” “Christ” isn’t Jesus’ last name, of course, but a sacred title. It’s a Greek word, the Greek form of the Hebrew word, Messiah. It means “Anointed One.”

Other titles in the Bible pointing to the unique attributes or characteristics of Jesus include Savior, Lord, Redeemer, Only Begotten Son, and Son of Man.

Jesus is for us everything we cannot be for ourselves, and His names and titles point to his unique role as the one who is the “firstborn over all creation,” “the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all humanity,” and who draws all people to Himself out of the riches of His mercy.

Prayer

Father, thank you for the name of Jesus Christ and for all the titles He has and for how He has redeemed us and drawn us to You.

Amen

Study by Joseph Tkach

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