Names have power.
Jesus was born into a culture in which names were filled with hopes and expectations.
When Jesus called Simon into ministry, he renamed him Peter (Greek for “stone”) and then promised to build the Church through him. When Jesus met the arrogant Pharisee Saul on the road to Damascus, he knocked him down a peg and called him Paul (“small” or “humble”). Paul went on to proclaim and epitomize a humility he learned from Jesus.
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, also known as…
God deliberately placed more than 100 names in the Bible that tell us about Jesus. They allow us to know Him more fully. Only Jesus can simultaneously be the timid, submissive Lamb and the mighty, conquering Lion. This dual identity is the reason Jesus was able to put death to death by sacrificing himself. The mission of Jesus is communicated through the names given Him in Scripture.
This season, Christians everywhere will focus on the birth of Jesus. We’ll hear the name Immanuel sung by everyone from church choirs to Mariah Carey. As amazing as it is that Jesus is “God with us,” He’s also much more. So how can we know and worship Jesus more deeply through His names?
As you hear Jesus’ more famous names in Christmas carols and hymns this Christmas, consider taking time to ask what the names you’re singing represent.
For instance, why is it important that Jesus is Immanuel, “God with us?”
Jesus is often called the Christ, a title that essentially means “Messiah, or Savior” What does it mean that He is your savior in particular?
The Names of Jesus are Pathways to Worship
What you understand about God is meant to help you know Him. Consider praying through a list a Jesus’ names using the following questions.
- What does this name tell me about Jesus’ character?
- What does this name tell me about Jesus’ mission?
- What does this name tell me about the relationship between Jesus and myself?
- How can I use this name to tell others something about the God I know personally?
What’s in a Name?
Names, whether they belong to people, bands or companies, have the power to communicate something significant. Perhaps this is why so few people name their children Dorcas and Nimrod these days, biblical though those names are. This advent season and beyond, I hope that you’re able to experience the beauty of Jesus in new ways through worshiping Him by name.