What’s in a Name? What Jesus’ amazing names tell us about Him
Have you ever stopped to think of what some of the many names and titles of Jesus mean for you?
What Jesus means for us cannot be described with words. In the Bible, Jesus has been given many names and titles and descriptions that can give us some insight into who He is and what He has done for us. This list is only a beginning, and totally inadequate to give a full picture, but maybe it can inspire us to begin to read and think more about our beloved Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – and what His names and titles mean for us, personally – both now and in eternity!
The Word – the Light of the World
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. … And the Word becameand dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-4,14.
God’s Word contains God’s wisdom, His will, His thoughts. When Jesus came to earth, He carried out God’s will so completely and perfectly that the Word became flesh. In His life people could see the grace and truth and wisdom and power in the Word of God, which is God’s glory. All His actions and words and attitude radiated God’s glory. Jesus’ life was a shining beacon, a light showing the way to His Father. Now it is our turn – in following His example, the Word can also become flesh in us!
Immanuel – God with us
“‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:23.
Sin had caused a separation between people and God, but God is jealous for our spirit (James 4:5, ESV), and wants to restore the fellowship He originally had with His creation. Jesus left His home with The Father and came to earth for our sakes. As He was always in full agreement with and in obedience to God’s will, the meaning of this name was truly fulfilled in Jesus: Immanuel – “God with us!”
It is only through Jesus Christ that we have access to God. Through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross, we were reconciled to God, and through His life we have a way back to the Father. Even now, He constantly prays for us, so we can be saved to the uttermost! (Hebrews 7:25.)
Read more: Jesus: The best Mediator I could ask for
The Son of God – the Son of Man
“And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35.
Jesus had no earthly father, but was conceived of the Holy Spirit, so God was His Father. Because of this, Jesus had the Spirit with Him from birth, in the power of the Spirit He could carry out all of God’s will.
But coming to earth, He had also become a human being, the son of Mary of the house of David. The name or title Jesus used most for Himself was the Son of Man. As a Man, He needed to pray earnestly and strongly to be saved from death, and through obedience to God’s Word and will, He overcame sin – and thus the power of death. (Hebrews 5:7-8.) In all His trials and temptations as a Man, He never sinned! He gave up His own will to do God’s will and totally destroyed the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8.)
Jesus’ blameless, sinless life could be used as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the whole world! His sacrifice sets us free if we believe in Him and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, and our example, whom we can follow. (1 Peter 2:21-24.)
“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Matthew 18:11.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45.
Read more: Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?
Jesus Christ – Savior
“… an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’” Matthew 1:20-21.
“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:10-11.
“Jesus” is a form of the name “Yeshua,” or “Joshua,” which means “God saves.” This was a common name, and Jesus was born in all humility – a human being, the Son of Man. And it was through this Man that the world was to be saved! Sin had come into the world through the disobedience and pride of the first man, Adam, but in the Man Jesus, sin was overcome through His humility and obedience to God. In Jesus, the curse that had entered the world through sin was conquered – He overcame death through His own death over sin. Now we can be saved from sin through Jesus’ atoning death on the cross and come to His virtues by following His life.
This is why Jesus was also given the title “Christ,” meaning “the Anointed One” (or the “Messiah”), sent by God His Father and anointed to this supreme task.
Stop and think of the love Jesus showed us when He took this upon Himself voluntarily, and the consequences it has for you and me!
Read more: Jesus, our Savior
I AM – Alpha and Omega
“Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’” John 8:58.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” Revelation 22:13.
God’s name is “I AM,” and when Jesus says the same of Himself, He shows that He is one with the Father – eternal, unchanging, faithful and true. He was from before time began, and will remain for all eternity, but what is so amazing is that He left heaven and eternity and came to earth for a time as a human being! There He lived His life in obedience to the will of the Father, and when He was crucified and gave His life for us, it was not the end, but rather a triumphant entrance back to that glorious eternity. In all His trials and temptations, He had remained faithful and true, and His Spirit could go back to God, untainted by the sin that He had encountered on earth. He will remain forever; when this world passes away, His life will still be a shining example of what God could do in a person.
He went ahead, becoming an example and forerunner for us. If we follow Him, we will come to where He is and partake of eternity with Him, examples of what God can do in people who do His will.
King of kings and Lord of lords – the Name which is above every name
Jesus Christ is the conqueror – the One who overcame sin and death. He is the One who humbled Himself the most, and therefore is now exalted above every name. Because He glorified His Father with His life, He is now sitting at the right hand of God – to God’s glory! His triumph is eternal; His glory is everlasting. He has been given all authority on heaven and on earth; and with this power He is mighty to save us. He shall reign forever and ever! (Revelation 11:15.)
“Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:15-16.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11.
What is almost incredible, and something we must grasp by faith, is that He wants to share this glory with us. He wants us to follow Him in His death over sin, so we also can partake of His life, His virtues. (2 Peter 1:3-4.) He wants us to be fellow heirs with Him! (Romans 8:16-18.) Faith in this should stir us up to live lives worthy of this calling, willing to give up our own will to follow Him, showing our great love and gratitude to Him by obeying His commandments. May our lives be an eternal thanks and praise to our beloved Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – our brother! Jesus’ name be glorified in all eternity!
You may be interested in reading more on our topic page about our relationship with Jesus, or in these selected articles:
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.