What Do We Learn from the Names of Jesus?
What are the names of Jesus? Some call him a crazy man, just a simple prophet. Others know him as the Savior of the world and the healer of their soul. In the Bible Jesus has many names, each holding significance for the presence and purpose of the only man who walked on this earth fully human and fully God.
Demons submit to his name. And all who call on his name are made whole. The Bible promises that all who trust in Jesus will find salvation.
But “Jesus”, the name the angel Gabrielle instructed Joseph to give the child conceived by the Holy Spirit is known by many names—not only Savior (which is what “Jesus” means.) Each name found throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation represent his character, his position, and his power. That’s why it’s so good to study his names.
What Does It Mean that God Calls Jesus His Son?
Mary and Joseph called Jesus their son, but God calls Jesus his son too. Have you wondered how Jesus can be God’s son when Jesus was God himself? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The other gospels begin their story with the humanity of Jesus, but John opens with his divinity.
John calls Jesus the Logos. This Greek word has been translated as “Word,” which is a correct translation, but when the ink was still fresh, to the audience reading John’s gospel, Logos was the creator behind all things. If Jesus was there in the beginning, how can he be God’s Son? How could they both be Logos?
In Genesis God spoke everything into existence. God, Elohim, the Hebrew name for God used in Genesis 1, is a fascinating name. Elohim is plural, but it’s used as a singular noun. It’s called a majestic noun. So, the name of God in Genesis carries the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—all present and actively working in the creation of the world. This is the divine side of Jesus, but we must remember that Jesus lived and breathed as God walking on this planet fully as a man. How can this be? Mary asked the same question.
Gabriel explained the baby’s conception would be like no other. The moment Mary, a human being, conceived a baby boy by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus became God’s only “begotten” Son—fully human and fully God. No other man was like Jesus who got hungry during the day, healed the sick, raised the dead, fed five thousand with only a few pieces of bread and fish, and needed sleep at night. There was no other like God’s Son named Jesus.
Does the Old Testament Have Any Names of Jesus?
Prophecy in the Old Testament gave God’s Son other names that pointed to this God/Man dichotomy. He wasn’t just Jesus, Savior of the world, he was Immanuel—God with us. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14.) Isaiah also promised that this baby boy would bring peace to the world. God’s people hoped for this promised ruler who would counsel, comfort, and be Mighty God himself.
According to “What are the Prophecies about Jesus?” by Dolores Smith, the Old Testament holds over 300 prophesies about Jesus, the promised Messiah. The Old Testament contains prophecies about his birth, the family line and the tribe he would come from—the Lion of Judah. These prophecies of Messiah, the anointed one, unfolded in the New Testament.
What are the Names of Jesus According to the New Testament?
When John the Baptist’s eyes saw Jesus, he cried out, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). The disciple John gave Jesus the title we discussed earlier, the Word, or Logos and the light of the world. When Mary Magdalene found the risen savior she fell at his feet and cried out, “Rabboni!” which means teacher.
Yet, with all these wonderful names, I’m drawn to the ones Jesus identified himself as. Debbie McDaniel’s article “ 50 Names and Titles of Jesus” is a great resource for the names Jesus used. Here are a few:
- The way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)
- The good shepherd (John 10:11-18)
- The gate for the sheep (John 10: 7-9)
- The light of the world (John 8:12)
- Messiah/Christ (John 4:25-26)
- The Vine (John 15:5)
- Son of Man (Matthew 8:19-20)
Why Did Jesus Call Himself “Son of Man”?
Although Jesus was the Son of God, he also identified himself as the Son of Man. When a teacher of the law came to him and claimed he would follow Jesus anywhere, Jesus reminded him that following the Son of Man would not be easy because he had no home. Ann Spangler wrote, “Together the titles Son of Man and Son of God express the incredible mystery of the incarnation—that the second person of the Trinity came down from heaven to become one of us so that we could be one with him.”
While the Son of Man does express the Trinity, this name held significance our Western, modern ears can’t hear. On the surface, scriptures like Matthew 8:19-20 seem to magnify Jesus’s humanity, yet the term “Son of Man” didn’t originate with Jesus. This title is also found in the Old Testament. His Jewish listeners would hear this title and know the reference that preceded Jesus himself. Jesus’s use of this name infuriated the Jewish leaders which led to his death. Mike Nappa explains in his article:
“When on trial before the Sanhedrin, Christ declared, ‘You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’ (Mark 14:62 NIV). The members of the Sanhedrin would’ve quickly associated this with the messianic prophecy of Daniel 7:13 (NIV), ‘There before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.’ That divine reference so provoked their anger, that the Sanhedrin immediately judged Christ worthy of execution (Mark 14:63-65).”
Though crucified on a cross, Jesus, the Savior of the world, rose again. Death could not defeat him. After walking the earth forty more days, he took his place at the right hand of God. Paul wrote of this position and all it means for believers in the first chapter of Ephesians. Paul prayed for the Ephesians to know the hope God has promised through Jesus, the abundance of their inheritance and the amazing power available to those who trust him. He promises that this power available to them was the same that raised Jesus and “seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion.” (Ephesians 1:19-21).
What Is Jesus’ Name in Revelation?
The book of Revelation gives us a glimpse into that heavenly throne room. Exiled on the island of Patmos, the apostle John’s vision of this heavenly glory completes the story of the Messiah named Jesus. He’s so much more than a prophet or teacher, and he certainly was not crazy. John called him the “faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth” (John 4:5).
Jesus introduced himself in this final book of the Bible: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (John 4:8). He is the beginning and the end and is God himself—the Almighty—El Shaddai.
The humble baby born in a shepherd’s field, seemingly illegitimate, yet Holy Spirit conceived, this baby turned teacher, healer, and Savior of the world, now reigns over all power and authority. Read John’s description of Jesus and the titles Jesus spoke of himself:
“I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades’” (Revelation 1:12-18).
Know that Jesus, the Son of God, the bright Morning Star, the Redeemer of the world is God. There is no other name like the name of Jesus because there has never been and will never be no other like him. His names say it all.
Why We Should Know the Names of Jesus
The names of Jesus do say it all, and that is why we should know his names. Using the specific names of Jesus in prayer helps us pray. We can pray to Immanuel, the God who is with us, who never leaves us. We can lift our petitions to the Redeemer who takes our mess and gives us a message, and the Healer who binds up our broken hearts.
Just as it blesses us when someone knows our name, it blesses Jesus when we know his. We remember the names of people who we know, or something unique helps us remember their name. So it is with our Jesus. The more we’ve experienced him and studied his Word, the sweeter his name and the more powerful it becomes in prayer.
Have you ever wondered why the world uses Jesus’s name in such disrespectful and hateful ways? It’s because the enemy is afraid of his name–the powerful name of the Son of God. Though he’s tried to dilute the authority of Jesus’s name, he never will. We must always remember the sacredness of his name and the power and authority it holds. There is no other name like the name of Jesus.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/EHStock
Andy Lee is an event speaker, blogger, YouTuber, and award winning author of three books, A Mary Like Me; The Book of Ruth Key-Word Bible Study, and Radiant Influence: How an ordinary girl changed the world. She passionately teaches how to find life in God's Word in order to live abundantly. You can catch her life giving messages weekly on Instagram and YouTube. She also provides monthly Bible reading plans and articles on her website www.wordsbyandylee.
This article is part of our People from the Bible Series featuring the most well-known historical names and figures from Scripture. We have compiled these articles to help you study those whom God chose to set before us as examples in His Word. May their lives and walks with God strengthen your faith and encourage your soul.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
If you’ve ever felt like Jesus couldn’t love you, then please keep reading. The Bible is filled with unlikely people Jesus loved. Has life tarnished you, and perhaps you feel unworthy of God’s love? I certainly didn’t live a saint’s life, but I believe God forgave me and loves me. I just didn’t understand the depth of His love, nor the power of it.
While all of us can be unlikely candidates for the love of Christ, we will focus on the unlikely people Jesus loved.
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