It doesn’t take a long time reading the Bible to discover that names mean a great deal. Names of people, names of places, and names of events often describe much more than names do today. Today we don’t usually mean to teach something much when we name a person, place, or thing. There may be some sentiment or traditional notion behind the names we give things, but that’s usually where it stops today. In the Bible we find something different. We find the character of a person, place, or event wrapped up in its name. This is certainly true when it comes to names of human beings we meet in the Bible, but one thing most of us overlook is that it’s also true of God and the names He is called throughout Scripture.
If I were to go over every name God has in the Bible or every name He is called by in the Bible in detail whether it be the Father, Son, or Spirit we’d be here all evening. We could speak of the names: Elohim, Yahweh, Adonai, the Holy One of Israel, the Fear of Isaac, I AM, or the Lord of Glory. But tonight for our purposes here covering the doctrine of Christ I’ll just mention what I think are the most important names of Jesus we have in Scripture, and when it comes to those three rise to the surface: Christ, Lord, and Son of Man.
This is the most common name for Jesus that we use today, it’s so common to call Jesus, Jesus Christ, that many people think Christ is Jesus’ last name. But it’s not. His name is simply Jesus, Christ is a title given to Him. It’s actually the title given to Jesus more often than any other in Scripture. It’s used so often throughout the Bible sometimes we find it reversed and we read of ‘Christ Jesus.’ The word Christ is the Greek word christos which comes straight from the Hebrew word Messiah, or, the anointed One.
Jesus’ first sermon is recorded for us in Luke 4:18-21 where we see Him walk up to the scroll, open it to Isaiah 61 and read the following, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ Then after reading that passage from Isaiah Jesus said to those at the temple that day, text, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ By doing this Jesus was proclaiming to the world that He was the One Isaiah was speaking of. He was the Messiah, the anointed One, the Christ.
But if Jesus was to be the Christ according to Isaiah’s standards, He had to be more than what was reflected in Isaiah 61. Isaiah spoke of the Christ many times throughout his prophetic ministry. He said the Christ would be a shepherd, a king, a lamb, and a suffering servant. For all these things to culminate in one person would simply be amazing. The odds were astronomical, but remember, nothing is impossible with God. In fact, once Jesus comes on the scene in redemptive history at His first coming it is breathtaking to see all the different strands of prophecy come together into harmony in the Person of Jesus. He was the long awaited Christ, the Messiah, but spoke of Himself as the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep in John 10. He spoke of His Kingdom being at hand in Mark 1, and if He has a Kingdom He must be a King. This is why the Babylonian astrologers traveled an astounding distance to see the boy Jesus and give Him gifts, because He was a King.
John the Baptist spoke of Himself being the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world in John 1. That He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world shows us that Jesus is also the Suffering Servant who suffers and dies for His people. All of these things, and more, culminate in the one Person of Jesus.
This means Jesus is the Christ.
This is most famously stated by Peter in Matthew 16 when Jesus asks, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ To which Peter responds, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’
(Image courtesy of Gilbert Lennox Photography)