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The Names of Jesus
Beginning next year we’ll be starting a new series entitled, “The Names of Jesus.”
There are somewhere over 50 names that have been attributed to Jesus, many of them are the same names that have been attributed to God, which is of little wonder seeing that Jesus is God, or what we know Him as the Son of God, the second person of the Godhead, and as the Apostle Paul said, “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9 NKJV)
There have also been many and various teachings on these names, from pamphlets and books, to CD’s and DVD’s. And this study is no different with the exception that we will only look at 12 of these names, or what I refer to as the descriptive names of Jesus, and within each of these names we’ll explore some of these other names as well, some of which have been given great attention, while others hardly a mention.
Actually, the name of Jesus has become the dividing line between people. For those who love Him, it stirs up adoration, wonder, and a holy awe. For others, however, it unleashes the hounds of hell with unsurpassed hated and venomous words.
And this should not strike us as something new or something that we did not know. The name Jesus and who He is and what He has done splits people into two camps. Either they are for Jesus or against Him. In fact, Jesus doesn’t let anyone stay neutral.
Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me.” (Matthew 12:30 NKJV)
What I find sad but revealing about our society is that people can pray in almost any name and to any generic god of their making, or to the god of their religion like Buddha or Mohammed, just so long as it isn’t to, or in the name of, Jesus.
But let the name of Jesus out of our mouths in general conversation or in prayer we’ll have the politically correct gnashing their teeth. Our society is all about tolerance for just about everything that is evil under the sun and wrong, but when it comes to Jesus it has little if any tolerance whatsoever.
But this should not take us by surprise, Jesus actually spoke of this reality.
“I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.” (John 5:43 NIV)
What’s in a name?
The naming of a child is a big thing. There are books and websites given over to this very thing giving the meaning of different names in the various languages, from Hebrew and Greek to languages that are now all but extinct, such as Latin.
Often times, the names we give are based upon ancestry. My middle name, Wayne, is one such name as it was the middle name of my father and the first name of my grandfather, not to mention the name of my uncle.
Other times names were given as a prelude as to what that child is meant and expected to be. Hence my first name Dennis! I truly am a menace, or as my mother liked to say, “If she had me first she would have had me last.”
In biblical times names meant something. They spoke of a person’s character. We also see God giving people new names to match their new role and/or responsibility.
Jacob is such an example. The name Jacob means deceiver, but God changed his name to Israel, or one who prevailed with God, and upon whom the Jewish nation would descend from, Genesis 32:28.
And so was the naming of the Messiah. It is a name that holds great significance. The name He would be given would entail the description given of Him throughout the Old Testament by the prophets.
Of the coming Messiah, which is the Hebrew word for “Christ,” the prophet Isaiah said that not only will he be king, but His names would indicate the type of king he would be, not to mention that He would be the Lord God.
“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 NKJV)
We see the same through what the prophet Jeremiah said, even calling Him by God’s holy name, Jehovah.
“In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: (Jehovah Tsidkenu) THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:6 NKJV)
But the name that puts the exclamation point upon His name is when Isaiah said His name would be a sign that He would be the Lord God Himself living among us.
“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 is translated, God with us).” (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23 NKJV)
These are indeed lofty names. But instead of any of these names or titles, the Lord gave Him the name, “Jesus.” It is not only a meaningful name, but it has a significant impact on every aspect of our lives.
Jesus: A name above
The Apostle Paul brings this out in his letter to the Philippian church.
“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 2:9-11 NKJV)
The name of Jesus is a name above all others, in that at the end of times it will be the name of Jesus that all people, angelic beings, and demons will bow down to confessing that He is the Lord.
We see Jesus being a name above in the name the Apostle John see’s upon Jesus’ robe when He returns.
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war … He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11, 16 NKJV)
While names are important and shouldn’t be so haphazardly given, but have meaning and purpose, there is no name that is higher and holds more meaning to the human race as the name and names of Jesus.
When we talk about a name that is above all other names; all we need to look at the names or titles given to Jesus by the prophet Isaiah, “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 NKJV)
(It doesn’t get much higher than that.)
Jesus: A name that saves
The salvation of the human race is through no other name than the name of Jesus. His very name means salvation.
The angel who appeared in a dream to Joseph brought this out saying the child’s name would be called Jesus, because He will save people from their sins.
“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 1:20b-21 NKJV)
That is actually the meaning of the name “Jesus,” in the Greek language, whose counterpart in the Hebrew is the name “Joshua.” The name comes from the Hebrew meaning to rescue or deliver. The literal meaning is “God is salvation.”
It’s this very thing the Apostle Peter pronounced to the Jewish authorities when asked by what power or name did he perform the miracle of healing the lame man, along with preaching the gospel message.
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NKJV)
Speaking to the church in Corinth, Paul told them they were at one time no different than everyone else whom he identified as unrighteous and unable to enter into God’s kingdom. But now through the name of Jesus they have been justified.
“And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11 NKJV)
What saves us from being children destined for God’s wrath is nothing less than the name of Jesus, which represents what He did for us upon the cross, taking our sins upon Himself, and dying in our place.
It is only through the name of Jesus, and belief in what that name represents, that salvation comes.
When Paul and Silas were put in jail in Philippi for their belief, God sent a mighty earthquake and delivered them from their bondages. Seeing such deliverance and God’s mercy, the jailer asked, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:30-31 NKJV)
It is then through Jesus Christ, and the name of Jesus Christ, that salvation comes.
Jesus: A name that secures blessings
Jesus actually assures us that whatever we ask the Father in His name, He (Jesus) will do it so that the Father will be glorified through Him.
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14 NKJV)
Peter actually took Jesus up on this offer believing what Jesus said to be true. On his way into the temple through the gate called “Beautiful,” a lame man was there begging for alms.
Seeing his condition and what he was asking, Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6 NKJV)
Taking him by the hand, Peter lifted the lame man and immediately the Lord healed him, and it says he entered the temple, “walking, leaping, and praising God.” (Acts 3:7-8)
It was in no other name than the name of Jesus that this lame man was made whole, which is what Peter told all those who were wondering about this remarkable healing.
“And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” (Acts 3:16 NKJV)
In whatever we do, if we want to secure the blessings of God, we need to do it in the name of Jesus, always giving Him thanks.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17 NKJV)
The greatest blessing, however, that comes in the name of Jesus is not only salvation and the forgiveness of sin, but also the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In the very first sermon preached, Peter said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 NIV)
Jesus promised this very thing that in His name the Father would send the Holy Spirit to help us along this journey of faith.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26 NKJV)
It is therefore though the name of Jesus that we secure the blessings of God.
Jesus: A name of power
The blessing of healing is just one of the ways the power of Jesus’ name is brought to bear on what we face in this life.
At the giving of the Great Commission Jesus said that all authority had been given to Him, Matthew 28:18, and then proceeded to spell out that power as recorded in Mark’s gospel.
“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18 NKJV)
This was evidenced when Jesus sent out 72 of his followers into the surrounding cities to heal the sick and to proclaim the kingdom of God. When they came back they said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (Luke 10:17 NKJV)
We also see this same power lived out in the life of the early church.
After Peter and John were let go by the Jewish high court and ordered not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus after the healing of the lame man, they went and told the church what had transpired, which prompted immediate prayer.
The prayer was not only made in Jesus’ name, but also centered on the threats made against those who speak in Jesus name.
“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:29-30 NKJV)
And it says that after the prayer ended the place where they were assembled shook, and each person was filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God, and the name of Jesus, with boldness, Acts 4:31.
Also, the name of Jesus opens doors of immense opportunity, which prior to this time were shut. Jesus gave this promise in His letter to the church in Philadelphia.
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” (Revelation 3:8 NKJV)
There is definitely power in the name of Jesus, and the greatest power that the name of Jesus generates is, as we have seen earlier, the power to save.
What is sad is how such a name of beauty and love, and name that is revered and though which the salvation of humanity comes, can be so maligned, misused, and used to curse rather than as a blessing.
Today, the name of Jesus is blasphemed with what seems to be immunity. Just turn on the internet or T.V. and you’ll see the name Jesus uttered countless times but not reverentially, but rather as a curse or in blasphemous ways.
Further, the name of Jesus has been outlawed by our society in our public schools, government and courts, along with major corporations. Literally they fear the name of Jesus, and rightly so, because in denying the name of Jesus they sentenced themselves when judgment comes.
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33 NKJV)
Speaking to a religious leader of that day, Nicodemus, about the coming Messiah, Jesus said, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18 NKJV)
But it is no different today than it was back in the time of the first church. Paul said that to the Jews, preaching the name of Jesus is a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness, 1 Corinthians 1:23.
As believers we have the responsibility to share this wonderful name, shout it from the rooftops if we have to, because Jesus is the only name by which humanity can be saved.
Over the next several months or so, we’ll be exploring these descriptive names: The Bright and Morning Star; Our Great High Priest; The Rock of Our Salvation; The Bread of Life; The Great Shepherd; The Lamb of God; The Way, the Truth, and the Life; The Great I Am; The Rose of Sharon; The Lion from the Tribe of Judah; The Word of God; and The Prince of Peace.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study