Jesus Christ, Son of God
Name and Titles
The Name of Jesus
John said Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone using your name to throw devils out of people. Since he wasn’t one of us, we tried to stop him!”
“Don’t stop him!” Jesus said. “There is no one who will use my name to do powerful things one minute and speak evil about me the next. Whoever does not make himself my enemy is my friend!”
Based on Mark 9:38-40
As Christians, we believe two things about Jesus of Nazareth. First, he was the Christ. Next, he was the Son of God. We can find both titles in the meaning of his name.
When Jesus walked this earth, his name was actual common. There were many men named “Jesus.” The name was a Greek version of “Joshua,” the assistant to Moses during the Exodus. But, at the time, people believed a name revealed something about a person’s character. In other words, if you knew the person’s name, you knew what sort of person he was.
So, what does the name of Jesus mean? It means “God saves.” Just like the angel told Joseph the carpenter, “Go ahead and make Mary your wife. Her child came from the Holy Spirit. After he is born, name him ‘Jesus’ since he will save everyone from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)
The person God would use to save his people would be his Christ. And his Son.
The Title “Christ”
When Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he cured ten men of a terrible disease. “Go show yourselves to the priests to prove you’re well,” he told them.
As the ten men left, they were cured. But when one of them saw what happened, he came back. “Praise God!” the man shouted. Then the man fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan.
“Weren’t ten people cured?” Jesus said. “Where are the other nine? Didn’t any of them return to praise God except this foreigner?” Then, Jesus said to the man, “Stand up. Your faith has saved you.”
Based on Luke 17:14-19
Jesus came to save people by showing everyone God’s power. People reacted in different ways. Some were like the nine sick men who went their way after they were cured. Some became followers like the Samaritan who returned to thank Jesus. For believers, Jesus was the Christ.
The word “Christ” means “Anointed.” The word “anoint” means to pour oil on one’s head. The Israelites would pour olive oil on the heads of their leaders as a sign of their power. Kings, priests, and prophets were anointed to serve in God’s name. But, later, people became disappointed with their leaders. Some made themselves leaders for selfish reasons. Others were appointed by foreign kings.
The leaders seemed to drift further and further away from God. So, the people began to pray for someone God would anoint, someone God would make their leader. As God’s man, this person would come to serve the people. For, God would “pour” his Spirit onto this person. He would have God’s power.
So, people began to look forward to the Christ (called “Messiah” in Hebrew). Many found the Christ in Jesus. But others, like the leaders, opposed Jesus.
Jesus, the Son of God
Jesus told the leaders a story about God’s Kingdom, “Once, a king planned a huge feast for his son’s wedding. He sent his servants to visit all the guests on the invitation list, but none of the guests wanted to come.
So, the king told his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready! Go and visit every street corner. Invite as many people as you find to the wedding feast.’ Those servants went out and brought together everyone they found, both bad people and good people. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.”
Based on Matthew 22:1-3, 7-10
At the time of Jesus, many people though heaven was like an endless party, full of food and drink and song. In fact, many of the prophets painted God’s Kingdom like a wedding between God and his people. So, the story Jesus told sounded familiar to the people who heard it.
But the image of the king’s son was something new. After all, it was not the king’s wedding, like many would expect. If the king was really God, who was his “Son?” It was clear Jesus referred to himself as the Son of God. This title meant Jesus had a special relationship with God unlike anyone else had. God sent Jesus with a specific mission: to save the world. And Jesus called God his “Father.” God gave Jesus his power, his Spirit, and Jesus used God’s power to bring people back to God. Jesus gives us God’s Spirit and invites us to become “sons and daughters” of God.
As God’s Son, we believe Jesus shared something more with the Father than the Spirit. We believe Jesus is God. When we declare Jesus is the Son of God, we mean he is the second person in the holy Trinity: one God in three persons.
Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ and the Son of God. He is God with us. Just like the prophet Isaiah said, "A virgin will have a son, and they will give him the name 'Immanuel,' which means 'God is with us.'" (Matthew 1:23)