The name Jesus comes from the transliteration of the Greek IESOUS (pronounced ee-ay-soos; there is no J in Greek) from the Hebrew name Yeshua, which means “Yahweh saves.”
No matter how it is spelled or pronounced—whether Yeshua, Yēsū, Jesus, or something else—we are told that His name is above all names, and that one day every knee in the universe will bow to Him (Philippians 2:9-10). Some will bow in humble adoring worship; others will bow with unrepentant hearts, subject to the King they have never recognized and do not want to know.
Christ is not His last name. (His stepfather’s name was not Joseph Christ nor was His mother Mary Christ!) Christ is actually a title that means “anointed one,” or “Messiah.”
Jesus has many other names and titles. Each reveals something important about Him. He is Immanuel, “God with us.” He is our Savior, Redeemer, Creator, King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is the second person of the triune God, the Son of God and Son of Man, our Messiah, Judge, Advocate, High Priest, Mediator, Brother, and—incredibly—He calls himself our Friend! He is the Lamb of God, the Light of the World, our Good Shepherd, our Bridegroom, and our example. He is not a way, a truth and a life; He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, the only means of access to the Father and to Heaven, His dwelling place. He is the Bread of Life, the Living Water, the Rest-Giver, Word of God, and Prince of Peace.
We could spend eternity contemplating the meaning and implications and depths of these names and titles, and indeed we will! Wherever we go and whatever we do as resurrected beings walking on God’s resurrected New Earth, we will never lose sight of Jesus. We will see the very face of God (Revelation 22:4). The conversations we have with brothers and sisters in Christ, the journeys and adventures we undertake, and the missions the Lord Jesus sends us on will all be centered on our desire to know and glorify and serve Him.
But we don’t have to wait until then to focus on knowing Jesus. If we had met Paul 2,000 years ago during his first Roman imprisonment and asked him, “How long have you known Jesus?,” he might have replied, “I met Him on the Damascus Road thirty years ago, but I am still getting to know Him, and I will continue to know Him better until I die, and forever afterward!” In Philippians 3:10, Paul declared his heart’s desire: “I want to know Christ.”
Though Paul knew Jesus thirty years later much better than at his conversion, he had barely scratched the surface of who Jesus is. It was the tip of an infinitely large iceberg. Now that I have known Jesus fifty years, I too “want to know Christ”! I thank God that today I don’t just know and love Jesus as much as I used to; I know and love Him more. That is to His credit, and I’m deeply grateful. He’s what makes life exciting and worthwhile.
Jesus Himself prayed, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Because our eternal life is wrapped up in knowing God through Jesus Christ, we are well-advised to truly know Him!
One of many startling statements about Jesus is this: “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (John 1:18 ESV). So Jesus is God and is at the Father’s side, and He has come to make God known to us. Provided what we learn is true, the more we learn about Jesus, the more we know about the God that no one has seen, but in another sense can be truly seen in Jesus. He is the explanation and illustration of who God really is.
There is much to know about Jesus, but Scripture puts particular stress on grasping His love for us: “[I pray] that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19 ESV).
As the hymn “Be Thou My Vision” puts so beautifully, Jesus is our “best thought, by day or by night.” May your worship be full and deep as you contemplate the following quotes from my book It’s All About Jesus, focused on our Redeemer!
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited us and accomplished redemption for his people.” Luke 1:68 ESV
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24 NASB
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. Ephesians 1:7 ESV
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:13-14 NASB
God undertook the most dramatic rescue operation in cosmic history. He determined to save the human race from self-destruction, and He sent His Son Jesus Christ to salvage and redeem them. Billy Graham
There was nothing that so annoyed people about the Lord Jesus Christ as when he said that he had come to seek and to save them. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Leviticus 27 reminds us that there is always a price to pay when buying back someone or something… Jesus referred to his death as a “ransom for many” (Mark 10:45), and God reminds us throughout the New Testament that Jesus died as a payment for our sin. The Knowing Jesus Study Bible
Jesus did not die to increase our self-esteem. Rather, Jesus died to bring glory to the Father by redeeming people from the curse of sin. Edward Welch
Because an eternal, unchangeable sentence of condemnation has passed upon sin—for God cannot and will not regard sin with favor, but his wrath abides upon it eternally and irrevocably—redemption was not possible without a ransom of such precious worth as to atone for sin, to assume the guilt, pay the price of wrath and thus abolish sin. This no creature was able to do. There was no remedy except for God’s only Son to step into our distress and himself become man, to take upon himself the load of awful and eternal wrath and make his own body and blood a sacrifice for sin. Martin Luther
Sins that you thought were absolved by religion will always come back to haunt you. Only the Redeemer and Savior, Jesus Christ, can forgive and pardon and free from guilt—and the sins He has forgiven will never come back to haunt you as a child of God—never while the world stands! A.W. Tozer
Luther taught that every time you insist that I am a sinner, just so often do you call me to remember the benefit of Christ my Redeemer, upon whose shoulders, and not upon mine, lie all my sins. So, when you say that I am a sinner, you do not terrify, but comfort me immeasurably. Thomas Oden
Jesus came because there is something broken inside us that can only be, will only be fixed by his person, presence, and redeeming work. Paul David Tripp
You couldn’t make up a better story than God’s unfolding drama of redemption. You can’t find a greater hero than Jesus. Randy Alcorn
Jesus endured great pain, pain I can only imagine. But his pain was for a purpose—the redemption of the world. He did it on my behalf—and yours. Trillia Newbell
Redemption in Jesus Christ reaches just as far as the fall. The horizon of creation is at the same time the horizon of sin and of salvation. To conceive of either the fall or Christ’s deliverance as encompassing less than the whole of creation is to compromise the biblical teaching of the radical nature of the fall and the cosmic scope of redemption. Albert Wolters
The total work of Christ is nothing less than to redeem this entire creation from the effects of sin. That purpose will not be accomplished until God has ushered in the new earth, until Paradise Lost has become Paradise Regained. Anthony Hoekema
Jesus has redeemed not only our souls, but our bodies. When the Lord shall deliver His captive people out of the land of the enemy He will not leave a bone of one of them in the adversary’s power. The dominion of death shall be utterly broken. Charles Spurgeon
We were made for a better place and for a better person, and all the beauties of this world whisper that to our soul. We crave Christ. He has made this restoration possible and offers Himself to mankind as Savior, Redeemer, and Restorer. Steve DeWitt