Divine names are extremely significant and packed full of meaning Men like Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David received a progressive revelation of the character of God by means of those names. B.F. Westcott once wrote, “Each name authoritatively given to God is, so to speak, a fresh and lasting revelation of his nature. Now in one title and now in another we catch glimpses of his ineffable glory.”
Obviously, if such is true God when it comes to the Old Testament, such would be true when it comes to divine names in the New Testament. Particularly we learn a great deal about the nature and work of Jesus when we look at the titles ascribed to him. J.M. Boice has noted that by looking at chapter one of John’s Gospel, we see eight such names.
The Word. This indicates (among other things) that Jesus is the Creator. As we read in Genesis 1, God speaks and all things come into being.
The Light. This is the universal image for the illumination of the understanding through revelations. The idea is that God is revealed through Jesus and that men are brought out of darkness by him.
The Lamb of God. Jesus is the sin-bearer, the Passover, the innocent substitute dying in our place. He came to earth to remove our sin by dying in your place as our substitute.
Son of God. While all men who follow God’s Plan of Salvation become “sons of God” (Galatians 3:16; 4:6), this title is reserved for Jesus alone as it makes him entirely unique and divine. It is as the Son of God that Jesus reigns and exercises authority in the lives of those who have come to him.
Rabbi. Simply means “teacher.” He is the one who reveals the will of heaven. He imparts the truth and shows us the way to the Father.
Messiah/Christ. Jesus is the one who fulfills prophecy. In particular, Jesus is the one all Israel had been looking for since the time of Abraham. (Genesis 12:3; 22:18; Galatians 3:16).
King. Jesus reigns supreme as lawgiver and enforcer. From the days of the reign of Da-vid, it was known that a king was coming that would rule as no other had done (Matthew 1:17; 2 Samuel 12:7-8; Luke 1:30-33).
Son of Man. More than connecting Jesus to humanity, this title actually marks him as the divine judge of the universe (Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 13:41-43; 24:27,30; 25:31-46).
Some will meet Jesus as their judge and be filled with terror. Others will meet him as the Lamb who has taken away their sin and eternally rejoice. Let us be thankful for the way God has revealed himself in these names and live accordingly.
South Green Street church of Christ