Jesus was born into a culture in which names were filled with hopes and expectations. Jesus and Emmanuel and a variety of titles are used to refer to Jesus in the New Testament and have salvific attributes. In all Jesus’s many names are representative of who He is and the many roles he plays in the plan of salvation. Jesus himself was no stranger to multiple names. This Advent season, we want to help you worship Jesus for who He really is. So we’re going to look at a few of the names of Jesus, why they matter and how we can use them to draw closer to God.
Jesus was the name God told Mary to give her son, the Savior. This common Jewish name means “God saves.” “Jesus” is the shortest prayer, and all prayers are offered through the name of Jesus. Scripture declares the honor to be given the name and therefore the person of Jesus: “At the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:10). Some people bow their heads when the name Jesus is said.
In the Gospels Jesus was sometimes called rabbi. This term meant “teacher.” It did not imply that the person was a trained teacher but that he was an authority. A rabbi was a male more than 30 years old.
Son of David
Jesus was hailed as a Son of David to acknowledge that he was the Messiah, who was to come from the family of David, Israel’s greatest king. Jesus’ foster father Joseph, however, was of the tribe of Judah, the house of David. Jesus took his lineage from his father.
Jesus was addressed as master particularly by the apostles. A master was a teacher followed by a group of people called disciples who hoped to learn from him.
Isaiah 42:1-4, 49:1-7, 50:4-11, and 52:13-53:12 refer to a person who takes on the sins of others and suffers for them. This mysterious figure is known as the suffering servant. He has been identified as Israel or Isaiah. To Christians these passages prophesy Jesus.
This Hebrew word means “God with us.” It is found in the prophecy of Isaiah, “The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Immanuel is described in chapters 9 and 11 of Isaiah. Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. He is God with us as one of us. (See Matthew 1:23 and 28:20.)
A redeemer is one who frees another from slavery. Jesus won our freedom from sin and death by his death and resurrection.
Isaiah foretells a Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:5). Psalm 72 explains that the Messiah will bring peace. When Jesus is born, angels announce to shepherds that he will bring peace to the world.
Alpha and Omega
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and omega is the last. In Scripture God is spoken of as the first and the last, the beginning and the end. In Revelation 22:13 Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” In other words, Jesus is God, the source and the goal of all life.
In the Old Testament, God was portrayed as the bridegroom of Israel. When the Pharisees asked why Jesus and the disciples didn’t fast, he explained that wedding guests do not fast when the bridegroom is with them (Matthew 9:14). The Book of Revelation calls the Church the Bride of the Lamb (Jesus). Jesus and the Church (us) are like a lover and the loved one.
When asked by Moses to reveal the divine name, God responded, “I am who am.” One interpretation of this name is “I am there for you.” Jesus often calls himself “I am” in the Gospel of John, thereby identifying himself with Yahweh. (See John 4:26, John 8:28, 58, and John 18:5-8.)
Come to know Jesus Christ for yourself and why He is known by so many names.