Intro: Do you have more than one name? Most of us do. My name for much of my life was “Davy” (Some of my family still calls me that, and some of my umpire friends). I have been known as “Ace” (don’t know why) “preach” (obvious) and “Smiddy”. Very few call me by my given name, David. Most call me Dave, and my favorite name is “Pops”. For the most part, names and nicknames are not that important. Although I know a boy whose parents gave him the nickname “Fat Rat”, and it stuck for most of his life. Not sure that was a good idea. What we are called is usually chosen by others, not us.
- And then there are titles. Do you have any? These may be important to us. (President, Vice President, CEO, CFO, Chief Sanitation Engineer, etc.) In addition to our titles, we may identify ourselves by the letters that we put after our names to signify our position or level of education (MD, DO, DD, PhD, CPA, etc.) These are helpful.
- But the most important name we wear is the name of Christ. We are “Christians”. We are “of Christ”. This is where we must find our true identity, and in this mutual name we are all equal.
- What is the name of your Savior? If you received the paper I distributed with the bulletin this morning, then you can see that Jesus had more than one name. The “names” of Jesus that we find in the scriptures were not trite nicknames. They are designations of Who He is. A study of these can help us better understand and appreciate the person and work of Jesus. Paul says that Jesus was given a name above every other name (Phil 2:9). When we see His name we will bow before Him.
I. The Designations of Jesus: Don’t get excited, we are not going to consider all of the names listed on the sheets this morning! But it is impressive to see how many different designations are applied to Jesus. In the four Gospels there are over forty-five names and titles used in reference to Jesus of Nazareth. Many of these names and designations caused controversy. There are more than ninety names and titles given to Jesus in the whole of the New Testament.
A. Jesus: A Jewish tradition states.. “Six persons received their names before they were born; namely, Isaac, our great lawgiver Moses, Solomon, Josiah, Ishmael, and the Messiah.” The angel of the Lord announced, “You shall call his name Jesus for it is he that shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).
1. In the Hebrew, Jesus (also Joshua and Jehoshua) mean “Jehovah is help or rescue.” The personal name of Jesus occurs over 550 times in the four Gospels. Several times we find the personal name of Jesus joined with descriptive phrases: Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ, and Lord Jesus. These are titles of description, rather than part of his personal name.
a. “Jesus” was His personal human name by which most knew Him. In this sense we see His humanity through the name Jesus. For the most part, His contemporaries did not know of His divine conception and He was recognized as the “son of Joseph” (Luke 4:22) or the “carpenter, the son of Mary” (Mark 6:3). In a future lesson we explore more closely Jesus’ humanity.
b. In apostolic preaching, after His resurrection, the name Jesus is almost always modified by the word, Christ or Lord, or both. It is interesting to note that Jesus chose to reveal Himself to Saul of Tarsus, as “Jesus of Nazareth, whom you persecute” (Acts 22:8)
B. Christ – Matt 1:16 – 16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. The name Jesus is very often connected to the word Christ. We recognize that this is not Jesus’ last name, but a designation of who He is. The Greek word Christos is equivalent to the word Messiah, which comes from the Hebrew verb Mashach meaning “to anoint,” and therefore the Christ or Messiah is the “Anointed One.” The Hebrew verb is common in the OT and depicts an anointing in the sense of a special setting apart for an office or function. (Vines). Prophets, priests and kings were anointed. Jesus was all three.
1. Anointed One: This designation identifies Jesus is connection with the prophetic promises of God to Israel. The fulfillment of this O.T. figure was constantly in view when Jesus’ identity was under discussion. The scriptures leave little doubt that Jesus claimed to be, and was considered by His followers to be the Christ, the anointed One, the Messiah.
a. Notice the indirect use of this designation by Jesus as He read from the prophet Isaiah at the synagogue in Nazareth. Probably the earliest indirect use of this term is found in the incident of Jesus being asked to read a portion of scripture in the synagogue on the Sabbath in Nazareth. Reading from Isaiah 61 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18-22) This was a clear announcement by Jesus that He was the Christ, the anointed One.
b. After John the Baptist identified Jesus as the “Lamb of God”, Andrew rushed to find his brother, Simon Peter, and said, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41).
c. The Samaritan woman said to Jesus, “…I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (John 4:25-26)
d. Later in Caesarea Philippi, Peter made the profound confession that “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” After Jesus had instructed the disciples regarding the church/kingdom, He charged the disciples to tell “no one that he was the Christ” (Matt. 16:16-20).
The designation of the Christ permeates the events of the cross…
e. During the Jewish trial, the high priest asked Jesus, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “I am. (Mark 14:61-62).
f. When the Jews brought Jesus to Pilate, they charged Him with being “Christ a King” (Lk. 23:2).
g. While He was hanging on the cross, the chief priest, scribes and elders mocked Jesus saying, “Let the Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross” (Mk. 15:32).
h. Luke 23:35 – And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” … “Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” (Luke 23:39)
i. Even the demons knew… After Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, all the sick and demon possessed came to Jesus to be healed. “And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew that He was the Christ. (Luke 4:41) Jesus is the Christ.
C. Son of David: Matt 22:41-46 – 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: 44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”‘? 45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore. This is a rather intriguing exchange. Jesus asked His enemies what they understood about the Christ. It was obvious that they did not believe He was the Messiah, the Christ. But Jesus is using their knowledge of the scriptures (prophets) concerning the Messiah to make a point about His own identity –
- As the Christ He was David’s son (He fulfilled the human genealogical requirement) and He was also David’s Lord (He was Deity).
1. The designation “son of David” is seen often in reference to Jesus. Old Testament prophecy unanimously predicted that the Messiah would be from David’s lineage. God promised David, “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever… 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”‘” (2 Sam 7:12-16) Jesus’ first question did not stump the Pharisees. They understood that their Messiah would come from David’s seed. They longed for return of David’s throne and the glory of His kingdom.
- The first words of the N.T. announce this expectation of the coming of the Son of David. Matt 1:1 – “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham”
- Gabriel promised Mary that the “Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David” (Lk. 1:32)
- The common understanding that the Messiah would come from the seed of David and the town of Bethlehem (David’s hometown) caused confusion as some considered Jesus to be from Nazareth where he grew up. John 7:42). They were looking for David’s son.
- Jesus was called the Son of David by the two blind men in Matt. 9:27; by the Syro-Phoenician woman in Matt. 15:22; by Bartimaeus, the blind beggar in Jericho in Matt. 20:30-31.
- Later, at the triumphal entry, the multitude cried out, “Hosanna to the Son of David” (Matt. 21:9, 15). They hailed Him as their long-awaited King, who would overthrow their enemies. But not long after this they rejected the true son of David, and asked for a murderer to be released in His place. Mark 15:12-13 – 12 Pilate answered and said to them again, “What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” 13 So they cried out again, “Crucify Him!” This title went beyond just Jesus’ physical lineage. It spoke of His fulfillment of the Jewish expectations of their King, who was to rule over Israel.
2. Apostolic preaching focused often on Jesus, as the Son of David, the Christ, the King ruling in His Kingdom. Acts 2:29-36 – “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”‘ 36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” The designation of Jesus as the Son of David, the one who fulfilled the O.T. prophecies, is crucial to His identity to us today. Jesus is sitting on the throne of God, the throne of David. He is ruling in His Kingdom, Head over His body.
a. Peter went on to call for repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins because the Son of David, the Messiah, the King of the kingdom had come, and all must submit to His authority.
b. Paul in the synagogue of Antioch of Pisidia – Acts 13:15-16 – 15 And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.” – Giving Paul the floor – look out. He was going to preach Jesus to them. “Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen:’ He rehearsed the history of their nation from Egypt to David. Read Acts 13:21-23 – 21 And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ 23 From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior — Jesus—
- After recounting the death of Jesus by Pilate’s hands and His resurrection, Paul says this… Acts 13:32-39 – 32 And we declare to you glad tidings — that promise which was made to the fathers. 33 God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’ 34 And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.’ 35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm: ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’ 36 “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; 37 but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. 38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. Paul’s message was… Jesus is the One you have been waiting for. He is the Son of David, the Messiah. “Through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins”
c. Paul described the gospel he preached as “concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Rom 1:3-4). Later he writes in 2 Tim 2:8 – Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel,
d. In John’s glorious vision of the One who was able to open the scroll, and worthy all praise He states, “But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” 6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.” (Rev 5:5-7)
Conclusion: Who is Jesus? What is His name? He is Jesus, the Christ, the Son of David. He is your Savior. There are many more designations of Jesus in the scripture. We will look at a few more in future lessons. Will you come to the King and obey?