When Raye Jeanne and I chose names for our children, they were our attempts to give them an identity. We desired for them to carry names that would reflect our desires for them. And we hoped that the legacy we left them with their surname would give them a heritage to live for when we were gone. The difficulty with naming children, of course, is that you are attempting to give an identity to someone you don’t know. So the parent really doesn’t know if the name “fits.”
That was not the dilemma faced by Mary and Joseph as they named Jesus, however. Our Savior, being fully known by the Father, had His identity revealed to those who were present at His Advent. And these names and titles for the baby were an explosion of information. While Jesus was identified in more ways than these in the rest of the Gospels and Scriptures, consider the 13 ways Jesus is identified in the advent accounts (Mt. 1-2; Lk. 1-2):
- He is Jesus — the one who will save His people from their sins (Mt. 1:1, 21, 25; Lk. 1:31; 2:21, 27, 43, 52).
- He is Savior (Lk. 2:11).
- He is the Messiah — the promised anointed one of the Old Testament (Mt. 1:1; 2:4).
- He is Christ, the Lord — the Master who is Messiah, the Messiah of the Lord (Lk. 2:11, 26).
- He is the Son of David — the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant and the promised eternal King of Israel (Mt. 1:1).
- He is the Child — emphasizing His genuine humanity (Mt. 1:20; 2:8, 9, 11, 13-14, 20-21; Lk. 1:35 (“holy child”); 2:17, 27, 34, 40, 43 (boy Jesus).
- He is Jesus Christ — the incarnate God-Man (Mt. 1:18).
- He is My Son — a member of the Triunity of God (Mt. 2:15).
- He is Immanuel — the one who came to be God with His people (Mt. 1:23).
- He is the King of the Jews (Mt. 2:2).
- He is the Son of the Most High (Lk. 1:32).
- He is the Most High (Lk. 1:76).
- He is the Son of God (Lk. 1:35).
What an advent it was when this baby arrived. The helpless babe was the supreme God of the universe.
James Boice offers a brief and compelling summary of the many names of Jesus that reminds us further of His supremacy:
What a wonderful list of names we have for Jesus! The Bible is full of them. He is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega, the Ancient of Days. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He is the Anointed One, the Messiah. He is our Prophet, Priest, and King. He is our Savior, the Only Wise God. He is our Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. He is the Lord, the Almighty. He is the Door of the sheep, the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd, the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. He is the Lamb Slain from before the foundation of the world. He is the Logos, the Light, the Light of the World, the Light of Life, the Tree of Life, the Word of Life, the Bread that came down from heaven, the Spring which, if a person drink of it, he will never thirst again. He is the Way and the Truth and the Life. He is the Resurrection and the Life. He is our Rock, our Bridegroom, our Beloved, and our Redeemer. He is the Head over all things, which is his body, the church.
But above all, he is “God with us,” Immanuel, and he came from heaven to earth to save us from our sins. [Matthew 1-17]