Confucius has said, “The beginning of wisdom is the ability to call things by their right names”. There is an importance of calling someone by their correct name. One can call me Kurt, Pastor Kurt, Petty Officer 1st Class Arnold, Mr. Arnold or even the Meeple Man and I will respond in kind as knowing my name provides a way of connection.
Jesus had many names or titles that he used and those who wrote about him used them. These names all have a prominent place in understanding the nature of Jesus, his humanity and his divinity. The most popular title that Jesus used was Son of Man, used eighty-six times in the New Testament. Jesus tended to use it alongside other names such as Messiah (Bock, 894). Examples include;
- No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. John 3:13
- “Listen to me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.” Matthew 17:22
The name Son of Man relates Jesus to his humanity and how he has fully human, experiencing life as a man, but as fully God able to portray authority that is beyond any man before or after him.
Another name is Son of God. Although Jesus never used this title for himself, we must see that he continually referred to God as his Father. The church has taken this as the affirmation that Jesus is the Son of God. Mark and Matthew both understand this “divine sonship in terms of obedience to the will of God” (Winn, 891).
- This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. Mark 1:1
- Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”. Matthew 16:16
Jesus has also been bestowed the titles of Son of David, Alpha and Omega, the Word and so many more. Fifty different titles have been attributed to this one man. Each and everyone could fill a blogger’s feed for a very long time, exploring and connecting how these titles are referenced in the Old Testament. What we need to understand as believers today is that each and every one of these names play a role in connecting people to Jesus. They each define a characteristic of the man, the divine and how intricate his work on earth and beyond truly is. Understanding how to call Jesus with the correct name is the beginning of wisdom.
Jesus, we have so many different names that we can attribute to you. Counsellor, Prince of Peace, Sheppard, each and every name holds a place in our hearts. Help us as readers of your word to recognize the importance of each of these titles. Let their importance shape our hearts in such a way that we know when to use each title when we are conversing with you. Amen
Bock, Darrell I. “Son of Man.” Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship. 2nd ed., Edited by Joel B. Green, IVP Academic, 2013, pp. 894–900.
JB;, Veale. “The Beginning of Wisdom Is the Ability to Call Things by Their Right Names. Confucius.” The Journal of the American Academy of Gold Foil Operators, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/4529991/#:~:text=The%20beginning%20of%20wisdom%20is,Confucius.
McDaniel, Debbie. “50 Names and Titles of Jesus: Who the Bible Says Christ Is.” Crosswalk.com, Crosswalk.com, 1 Dec. 2016, https://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/debbie-mcdaniel/50-names-of-jesus-who-the-bible-says-christ-is.html.
Winn, Adam. “Son of God.” Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship. 2nd ed., Edited by Joel B. Green, IVP Academic, 2013, pp. 886–94.