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The name of Jesus
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Dr. Lawrence Butler

The Bridge Church, Pembroke

Names: Names are given to children by parents for various reasons. Often assigned to honor family members who have had a major influence on the parents, names can be as unusual as the human family, and as unique as the human imagination. Sometimes names are modified to fit the life of the individual.

For example, Ethelred the Unready, William the Conqueror or Bloody Mary, all from the annals of British history. Other famous names with titles are Francis of Assisi, the Troubadour of Christ, Judas Maccabaeus, the Hammer, who fought the enemies of Israel, or even John, the Baptizer, who was the forerunner of Christ. The titles reveal the summaries of the lives of notable people. But, can there be any name more significant than the name of Jesus?

The Name of Jesus: The truth is that there were many persons known by the name of Jesus. It is the Greek form of at least 3 OT names – Joshua the servant of Moses (Ex. 17:10), Joshua the high priest (Zec. 3:1), Jeshua (Neh. 7:7). There were at least 5 high priests known as Jesus.

Josephus, Jewish historian, reveals about 20 persons called Jesus, 10 of whom were contemporary with Christ. In the NT we find Jesus Justus the friend of Paul (Col.

4:11), as well as Bar-Jesus (Acts 13:6) the sorcerer. In the tax and census rolls found among papyri the name of Jesus occurs several times. By the end of the second century the name of Jesus was disappearing from the culture because it was so hated by Jews and considered too sacred by Christians to be given to children (Barclay).

Jesus Christ: We find many titles given to Jesus by men which reflect their faith in and affirmation of Him as the Messiah in the NT. Some of these are The Lamb of God, Apostle, Forerunner, Mediator, Son of God and The Door.

However, He is called Jesus almost 600 times in the Gospels. The expression Jesus Christ is found only 4 times. When the gospel writers thought of Him, they mostly called Him “JESUS.” It is a oneword summary of who He was and what He did. In Hebrew Joshua and Jehoshua become Jesus in the Greek and mean “Jehovah is my help” or “Jehovah is my rescue.” Jesus came to rescue us from our sinful past and its consequences, and from the moral frustration and inevitable destruction that was our future. The Greek version of Jesus is connected to the verb “heal.” He is the healer of our bodies and our souls. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Mat 1:21).

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