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The Bible reveals Jesus not just through His actions and teachings but also through the richness of His names. Each name unveils a unique aspect of His character and mission, offering a deeper understanding of who He is and why He came. The Angel of the Lord announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in Bethlehem and described Him in three words: Saviour, Messiah, and Lord (Lk 2:11). These titles encapsulate the essence and mission of Jesus.

1. Jesus (Joshua): The Promise of Salvation

The name “Jesus” in Hebrew is “Joshua,” which means “Yahweh is salvation.” Joshua was the successor of Moses who led the Israelites into the Promised Land. Similarly, Jesus leads us to the eternal kingdom of heaven through His sacrifice. God, through Angel Gabriel, asked Joseph and Mary to name the child Jesus because “He will save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21). Thus, the name Jesus expressed His special mission in this world, waging a spiritual battle against sin, Satan, and death, and securing victory for all who believe in Him.

2. Messiah / Christ: The Anointed One

Messiah in Hebrew and Christ in Greek both translate to “anointed one.” In ancient Israel, kings, priests, and prophets were anointed with oil to signify their God-given calling. Jesus fulfills all these roles. He is our eternal King, the great High Priest who intercedes for us, and the Prophet who speaks God’s word with perfect clarity. At His baptism in the Jordan River, God the Father anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit. Peter affirmed this anointing on the day of Pentecost: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power” (Acts 10:38).

3. Emmanuel: God With Us

Isaiah prophesied, “The Lord Himself will give you a sign; the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name Him Emmanuel” (Isa 7:14). This name, meaning “God with us,” beautifully captures the essence of the Incarnation. Though Jesus ascended to heaven, His divine presence continues with the Church and His disciples even after His ascension. He is present when those who believe in Him gather in prayer – “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20). He is present in the breaking of the bread or the Holy Eucharist. The Holy Spirit ensures His continued presence within us and His Church.

4. The Lord: Recognizing His Divinity

The New Testament uses “Lord” (Kyrios) for Jesus, the same term used for Yahweh in the Old Testament. This signifies Jesus’ divine nature. When Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28), he acknowledged Jesus’ full divinity and humanity. This recognition of Jesus’ dual nature is foundational to the Christian faith. He is both fully God and fully man, able to bridge the gap between humanity and divinity.

5. Jesus of Nazareth: Humility and Fulfillment

“Jesus of Nazareth” identifies Jesus’ hometown. In the ancient world, people were often referred to by their place of origin. But this seemingly ordinary detail held a deeper meaning. Matthew saw it as a fulfillment of prophecy, associating Nazareth with the Hebrew word for “shoot” or “bud” (Isa 11:1), symbolic of the Messiah’s coming. Nazareth’s obscurity also highlights Jesus’ humility, being born and raised in an insignificant town. This birthplace reminds us that God’s grace can touch anyone, anywhere. Examples of Biblical characters with native names include Simon the Cyrene (Lk 23:26), Mary Magdalene (Lk 8:2), and Joseph of Arimathea (Lk 23:51).

6. Word of God: The Divine Logos

John starts his gospel stating, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1). When we substitute ‘Word’ with ‘Jesus’, we get, “In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.” John continues, “He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through Him, and without Him, nothing came to be” (Jn 1:2-3). So, God brought creation into existence through His Son, the Word.


The various names and titles of Jesus reveal the multifaceted nature of His mission and identity. As Christians, we are called to reflect on these names and understand the depth of Jesus’ love and sacrifice for us. Each name – whether it be Saviour, Messiah, Emmanuel, or the Lord – carries profound theological significance and offers us a unique perspective on who Jesus is and what He has done for humanity.

By meditating on these names, we can deepen our relationship with Jesus and grow in our faith. Let us strive to embody the qualities that these names represent in our daily lives. As we call upon Jesus by these names, let us remember His promise to be with us always, guiding us, and leading us to eternal life. May we live in a way that honors His name and reflects His love for the world.

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