It has been a great fascination and point of reflection for me over the years to pay attention to what Jesus is called at different points in the Bible.
Have you ever thought about that before?
Throughout the Old Testament, before Christ came in the flesh, He was referred to as the “Angel of the Lord” or the “Angel of God” at times like when He told Moses to take off his sandals because the ground he was standing on was Holy ground. Or when the He parted the Red Sea or when He spoke from heaven and stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac. He was identified as God’s specific messenger.
But then throughout the New Testament when Christ came down in the flesh and interacted with people face to face they referred to Him with different “descriptions”, based on their interaction with Him.
Jesus. All throughout the New Testament we see mention of Jesus. Perhaps, we see it so often that it can take on the shape of a first name, like John or Joe. But, really when we call or see Him referred to as Jesus, we are calling for a Savior.
Matthew 1:21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Lord. John 14:22-33. When Jesus came walking to His disciples on top of the water and Peter stepped out of the boat to briefly walk on the water with Him, Peter referred to Him as “Lord”. Which is acknowledge His sovereignty over the situation. He is Lord over nature and probably more important to Peter, He is Lord over his well-being.
Son of God. In the same passage, when Jesus then got into the boat with the disciples, they said, “You are certainly God’s Son!”. Their astonished declaration was not of a biological nature but acknowledgement of Jesus as bearing all of the character, nature and scope of God. It would be the same way that Paul refers to the Jewish false prophet, Bar-Jesus in Acts 13:10 as the “…son of the devil…full of all unrighteousness, full of all deceit and villainy…”. Or Paul’s ministry partner Joseph who went by the nickname of Barnabas because he was the son of encouragement. The point is that “Son of” means that the person bears all of the character, nature and scope of whatever they are the “Son of”. So then Jesus is the Son of God, and even the demons inside the possessed man in Mark 5, recognized that indeed Jesus had all the character and scope of God Himself and thus referred to Jesus as the Son of God.
Son of Man. Jesus does not just bear all the fullness of God but He also most frequently refers to Himself as the Son of Man. It is His way of identifying with our humanity. Like us, Jesus gets tired, hungry, sleeps etc…As the Son of Man He is well familiar with your temptations and trials.
But it also refers to the Son of Man in Daniel 7. The One, given a dominion, and a glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. That is how Jesus normally refers to Himself.
Christ. Just as Jesus is not a first name, Christ is not a last name either. Recognition of Jesus as “the” Christ is recognition of Him as the anointed Messiah, long awaited for.
Luke 2:11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
This is not an exhaustive list because “Jesus” is also referred to some as Teacher and to others as Master. The point is that each interaction with God on earth led to a person attaching a description to Him based on what their experience with Him. To me that is just so powerfully cool. It is not that He changes who He is, or stops fitting the other labels. Rather, as He intersects their life and situation they see the truth of who He is in that moment.
So the question becomes, who is He in your marriage? Have you ever seen God as a savior of your spouse or children in the midst of a car accident or tough situation? In the uncertainties of marriage, has He ever shown Himself as a Teacher? How about the Son of God – Has he ever done something in your marriage that can only be explained within the description as the One bearing all of the character, nature and scope of God the Father?
Praise God today, for all that He is, when you need Him to be the fullness of the God that He is… Praise Him.