Addressing our Lord, Jesus Christ

Do you speak the Name of Jesus casually or with reverence? His Name is not just another name; it is the name above all names.

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I began exploring the divine names and titles in the New Testament a few weeks ago, examining up to this point the titles “Father” and “Lord.” This week, let’s take a look at the name we know Him by “Jesus,” and the title that some mistake for a last name – “Christ.”

The title “Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew mashiach for “Messiah.” Both christos and mashiach have the same meaning, the former from the word chrio, “to anoint” (John 1:41; 4:25). The noun, therefore, for this word “Christ” is used of and for the Lord Jesus, and means, “the Anointed (One).” The name “Jesus,” transliterated from the Greek Iesous is the translation of the Hebrew Yehoshua, or the abbreviated form Yeshua, transliterated as “Joshua.” This name is also used of Joshua in Hebrews 4:8, transliterated as “Jesus” in the King James Version. The name means “the salvation of YHVH,” or “YHVH the Saviour.”

The name “Jesus” expresses the relation of YHVH to Him in Incarnation, by which “He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8), and even though He was God, did not deem His glory a thing not to be relinquished (Phil. 2:6). This name is the name associated with the shame which the Lord endured in order to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The title “Christ,” on the other hand, speaks of His anointing to rule as the exalted King of kings and Lord of lords.

It is interesting to note that in the New Testament, the Lord’s followers never addressed Him simply as “Jesus.” Rather, His followers addressed Him as “Master” or “Lord,” and when speaking of Him paired the name with either “Lord” or “Christ,” sometimes both. The only ones who irreverently spoke of Him as “Jesus” were demons (Matt. 8:29), or His enemies while scoffing at Him (John 6:42). Of course, this is not to say that calling Him simply “Jesus” is wrong, but the believer should speak His name in an attitude of reverence.

The Jews, from ancient times to the modern have always substituted the Father’s Name YHVH with Adonai or Kurios, for “Lord,” or occasionally HaShem (“The Name”). Even Moses substituted Adonai for the Lord’s Name in Exodus 36 when speaking to the One Who had just said His Name a few verses prior.

The Lord’s apostles and followers in the New Testament seem to have given the same reverence and respect for the Name of His Incarnation and Shame as the name YHVH.

Today, His is no longer simply “Jesus,” but has been given “a name which is above every name” (Phil 2:9b), and one day all boastful scoffers will bow at the Name of the Humbled One – Jesus (Phil. 2:10). How often do we hear people today use the name “Jesus” as a curse word? He should be given the respect of “Lord” and “Master.”

Further, in your personal reading of God’s Word, you may have noticed that sometimes the Lord is spoken of as “Jesus Christ,” and sometimes as “Christ Jesus.” This is a very important contextual distinction, the former emphatic by its position and the second being explanatory. “Jesus Christ” means “Jesus Who humbled Himself but is now exalted and glorified as Christ.” The reverse means “the exalted ruler Who once humbled Himself.”

5 comments on “Addressing our Lord, Jesus Christ”

  1. “Yeshua” or “Yahshua” means “Yah’s Salvation” and is the name given (Matt 1:26). “Jesus” means nothing. And it’s only been “Jesus” for about 400 years. The Greek transliteration turned it into Ieosus–because Greek didn’t have a “y” or a “sh” (witness the sibbolth/shlboleth in Judges 12) and men’s names were suffixed by “-“us.” Ieosus obtained in English a leading pen stroke called a “swash” on the “I” and was remade into a “J”–by an Italian Secular Humanist–no less. Sticking with His true name is the best course.

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    1. Actually, the Divine Name is not in the name “Yeshua.” The name Yeshua is a shortened form of the name Joshua (Yehoshua), and simply means “salvation.” As you said, the name “Jesus” is derived from the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name, but the J-sound versus Y-sound is merely due to the evolution of the language. No language had a J-sound in their alphabets at all until recent history, but came to be incorporated into alphabets as pronunciation help, J- flowing easier for many words than Y. It had nothing to do with secular humanism.

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      1. Your data is unaccurate. The letter “J” was introduced by a secular humanist named Gian Giorgio Trissino. In any event, there was no “J” sound in Hebrew in the first century and i’m pretty sure he wasn’t named Jesus since your King Jimmy had it as Ieousus in 1611. And I’m pretty sure you would be introduced as “Michael” anywhere you go in the world, too. How would you like to be called Randy? Or Sergio? You wouldn’t because they’re not your name.

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      2. In Spain or Mexico, my name is Miguel. In Hebrew, my name is pronounced Miy-ka-el. In Russia my name Mikhail. Transliteration does not change a name. Iesus, Jesus, or Yeshua are all the same name, just transliterated differently. If you really want to get technical, the Lord’s name doesn’t use English characters so you should write His name in Hebrew when speaking of Him.

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