In the days when the Bible was being written, the Israelites often chose names for their babies based on the child’s character or appearance. For example, Esau means “hairy” and Korah is from a word that means “bald.” Some babies were named because of an incident at their birth. Other names were based on a hope or prayer of the parent, as in the case of Samuel (heard of God) or Zechariah (God has remembered). Sometimes babies received the name of an everyday object, like Tamar (palm tree) and Tabitha (gazelle). Parents even named their children by what time of day they were born, like Shaharaim (dawn) and Hodesh (new moon). The condition of the mother could also inspire a name, as with Leah (exhausted) and Mahli (sick).
What Does “Jesus” Mean?
Jesus was named prophetically, before His birth, by an angel. Matthew 1:20-21 says, “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” Jesus means “Jehovah our Savior,” and proclaims both His identity and purpose. Jesus came to save sinners like you and me (1 Timothy 1:15).
Why So Many Other Names?
Some scholars have located over 700 different names and titles for Jesus in the Bible. Some of the more common names are: Christ (Matthew 16:16), Lord (Romans 14:9), Master (Mark 9:5), Son of Man (Luke 5:24), and Son of God (1 John 4:15). Why does Jesus have so many different names and titles? Each one serves to expand and refine a fuller description of who Jesus is and how He works in the lives of individuals.
What Do You Think?
What do the names of Jesus mean to you? Do they have personal significance? Is Jesus your Savior, your Mediator, your Redeemer? If not, we encourage you to learn more about Him and accept the gift of salvation He offers to you. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, lived a sinless life and then died for our sins, taking the punishment we deserve. He was buried, but then rose from the dead. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10).
If Jesus is your Savior, are you overcome with thankfulness for what God has done for you? Take a moment and praise Him using His various names. “Jesus, You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You are my Life, for without You my life would be worth nothing. You are my Savior and my King, the Lamb of God who atoned for my sin. You are the Alpha and Omega and You control the beginning and end of each circumstance in my life. You are the Bread of Life and I can feast on Your spiritual nourishment to keep me in perfect peace. You are my Lord and my God. In Your holy name, amen.”
—Adapted from “Names of Jesus” by All About GOD Ministries, allaboutjesuschrist.org