The Many Names of the Nativity

If you follow our church Facebook page, you might recognize a series we’re posting there called “The Twelve Names of Christ” as a spinoff for the twelve days of Christmas. If you aren’t a follower, check it out here.

Whether it’s Christmas or any time of the year, there’s so much to be gleaned from learning about the many names of Jesus Christ. They carry weighty meaning and give insight into his character.

When you think of Christmas, you think of the name Christ. Or maybe the slogan “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” comes to mind. These are the two most common names used today for our savior, Jesus Christ.

What they mean

The meaning of “Jesus” is clear from Matthew 1:21: “…And though shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins.” Jesus means savior or deliverer.

For us, this name is eternally significant. If Jesus had not chosen to submit to death and pay the price for our sins – death – we could have no hope of eternal life. God demanded a perfect sacrifice. Jesus volunteered.

Christ is a title that’s important to the Jewish nation. Christ means Messiah, the promised one. Since the fall in the garden, mankind has waited for the “seed of a woman” that would “bruise” Satan’s head (Genesis 3:13). The promise was reaffirmed when God specified that this promised one would be a descendent of Abraham (Genesis 12:3).

Other names

The Bible gives many other names for Jesus Christ. All are significant. Some reiterate qualities or purposes and others introduce minute nuances.

Jesus Christ by any other name is still the Son of God and the savior of the world. Some of the other names (or titles):

  • Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8) – because He had the first word and he will have the last
  • Bread of Life (John 6:32) – he supplies and sustains spiritual life, as bread does physical life
  • Counsellor (Isaiah 9:6) – His advice is guaranteed to aid us
  • Good Shepherd (John 10:11) – He cares for the well-being of his own and willingly dies to protect and preserve them
  • Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14) – means “God with us” and he was God and lived among mankind
  • Lamb of God (John 1:29) – he is the sacrifice needed for our redemption
  • Light of the World (John 8:12) – no darkness survives when Jesus is present
  • Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4) – is there a better foundation?
  • Son of Man (Matthew 8:20) – Jesus was both the son of God and the son of man
  • Word (John 1:1) – God speaks to us through the example of Jesus

My Bible shows 104 different names for Jesus Christ, and I’m not convinced the list is exhaustive. If you want to know someone, the first thing you ask is their name. If you want to know Jesus, you can learn much by understanding the importance of his many names.

**This post first appeared on December 16, 2014 on an unrelated blog.

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