Jesus ChristMessiah, Immanuel—The Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.     

–Acts 5:42

“Jesus—the Christ, Messiah, Immanuel”

In Southeast Asia is it not uncommon for children to be named simply with a number representing their order of birth. In some areas, many first born sons have the same name which, in their local language means “first” or “one.”  This name becomes and important identifier of ones place in the family, along with the rights, responsibilities, and tasks which will be required of them.

In Scripture names also carry much deeper importance than simply distinguishing one person from another. Names function as descriptions of ones personal nature (Barnabas—Son of Encouragement), physical characteristics (Esau—”hairy,” or perhaps “red”), family relationships (Jonah, Son of Amittai), calling, purpose, or identity (Jesus Christ, the Messiah). “Christ” was not a family like “Smith” or “Jones,” but rather the Greek (Kristos) version of “Messiah” which meant “anointed one.”

Children, of course are given names at birth (or at some point following birth):

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the  name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.     

–Matthew 1:21

The Savior’s given name at birth was “Jesus,” while the name “Christ” or “Messiah” describe his divine identity, his calling, and his purpose; similar to other names used to describe who Jesus was but not used as a personal moniker –

  • Immanuel (Matt 1:23) – “God with us”
  • Son of God (Mark 3:11)
  • Son of the Most High (Mark 5:7)
  • Son of Man (Luke 9:22)

Finally, as the time of Jesus’ earthy ministry is coming to an end, Jesus gives his followers three more names designed to help us know how to live following his departure:

Thomas said to him,

“Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  Jesus answered, 

“I am the WAY and the TRUTH and the LIFE

~John 14:5-6a

→ If I must err, let it be in the direction of love… 


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