5 Names of Jesus in the New Testament and What They Mean
22 Jun 2014
In the entire universe, the name Jesus is a special name. How special? Philippians 2:9-11 tells us that God highly exalted Jesus and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue should openly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
In addition to the name Jesus, we can find many other names in the New Testament for our Lord. Each is rich in meaning, communicating a particular aspect of what He is to us.
In this post, besides the name Jesus, we’ll cover four other names of our Lord from the books of Matthew and John. Seeing what these names mean will increase our appreciation for this wonderful Person and enhance our experience of Him.
Jesus is the very first name in the New Testament:
“And she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.”—Matthew 1:21
Jesus is the Lord’s God-given name. But what does Jesus mean?
Footnote 1 from the Recovery Version says this about the name Jesus:
“Jesus is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew name Joshua (Num. 13:16), which means Jehovah the Savior, or the salvation of Jehovah. Hence, Jesus is not only a man but Jehovah, and not only Jehovah but Jehovah becoming our salvation. Thus, He is our Savior.”
Jesus means Jehovah the Savior, and Jehovah is the eternal, ever-existing God. Jesus is Jehovah Himself who became a man to be our salvation. Only Jesus can save us from sin. Only Jesus saves us from God’s judgment, Satan, the world, a life of vanity, and so many other negative things.
Jesus is also the Greek form for Joshua. In the Old Testament, Joshua was the one who led God’s people into the good land of Canaan, which became a rest to them. Jesus is our Joshua today who brings us into rest. Whenever we call on the name of Jesus, we are inwardly saved from many bothering things and are brought into real rest.
Matthew 1:23 tells us another name for the Lord in the New Testament:
“‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel’ (which is translated, God with us).”
We can see in the verse itself that the meaning of the name Emmanuel is “God with us.”
Footnote 2 from the Recovery Version also tells us this:
“Jesus was the name given by God, whereas Emmanuel, meaning God with us, was the name by which man called Him. Jesus the Savior is God with us. He is God, and He is also God incarnated to dwell among us (John 1:14). He is not only God but God with us.”
For God to dwell among us and to be with us is a tremendous thing. Before He was incarnated as the man Jesus, God was far away from us, dwelling in the heavens in unapproachable light. But as a man on earth, the Lord Jesus, the very God Himself, was a touchable, reachable, approachable man. He was truly Emmanuel, God with us.
In Matthew 28:20, after His death and resurrection, the Lord Jesus reassured His disciples by saying, “Behold, I am with you all the days until the consummation of the age.” This word is for all of us believers. This Emmanuel, who is God with us, became in resurrection the life-giving Spirit who lives in our spirit. By His living in us every day, we can experience God with us always!
The name Christ, first mentioned in Matthew 1:1, is the Greek word for Messiah. Christ means the anointed One, the One appointed by God to carry out His eternal purpose. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the One uniquely commissioned by God to accomplish His will through His crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and second coming. He was the One the prophets prophesied of and whom God’s people looked for.
Isaiah 61:1 in the Old Testament is a prophecy of the Christ who was to come:
“The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon Me,
Because Jehovah has anointed Me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent Me to bind up the wounds of the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the eyes to those who are bound.”
Our Lord is the One who brings the good news of His salvation to us, who heals our broken hearts, proclaims liberty to us, and opens our eyes. And when we receive Him, Christ becomes the One in us who will work out God’s purpose to fulfill God’s desire.
Another name of the Lord Jesus is the Word.
John 1:1-4, a very deep and profound portion in the Bible, says,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not one thing came into being which has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
The Word, who was in the beginning with God, was God. Without Christ as the Word, God would be mysterious and unknowable. The Lord as the Word defined, explained, and expressed God to us. He declared to us who God is.
Not only so, through the Word all of creation was brought into being. In the Word was life itself. This life became the light of men.
John goes on to say in verse 14
“The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.”
The Word who is the very God didn’t remain in eternity but stepped out of eternity into time to become flesh. That is, He became incarnated as a man, Jesus. The eternal Word who was with God, who was God, and through whom all things came into being chose to join Himself to humanity. He came as God’s tabernacle, or dwelling place, on earth among mankind. His habitation is now with all His believers.
As the Word, Christ declares who God is. He is the eternal God, yet He became flesh to be a man. He is life and light to us, and we are His dwelling place!
Lamb of God
Jesus is also the Lamb of God. In John 1:29, when John the Baptist was baptizing people in Bethany, “he saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Lamb of God is a particularly sweet name to all those who believe in the Lord. Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” This means that for God to forgive us of our sins, it was necessary for someone to die. That Someone was the precious, spotless Lamb of God who gave His life to redeem each one of us.
Jesus as the Lamb of God was slain in our place. When we see all that He went through to fulfill God’s righteous requirement so that we could be brought back to God, we can’t help but praise and love Him.
As we see more and more of who our wonderful Lord is, we’re able to appreciate Him more and more, and our love and praise for Him grow.
Just from the names in this post, we can love Him as Jesus—God who came to be our Savior, and as Emmanuel—God with us. We can praise Him as Christ, God’s anointed One who carries out God’s purpose, and as the Word, the One who perfectly expressed God in everything. And we can thank Him for being the Lamb of God, without spot or blemish, who sacrificed Himself to accomplish redemption for our sins.
We can only touch upon these five names in a simple way in this post. It would take more time than we have here to cover the depths of the significance of each. We hope what we’ve shared will enrich your knowing and appreciating of our inexhaustibly rich God. He is Wonderful!
All verses and quoted footnotes in this post are from the Holy Bible Recovery Version, published by Living Stream Ministry. Bibles for America gives away free copies of the New Testament Recovery Version. You can order yours here.