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Transform Work > Resources > Christmas > What's in a name? 

What's in a name? 

Article provided by the Christian Police Association

As a member of the police service, I've been called many names by the public I serve.  Sadly, very few of them have been complimentary.  The kids may call me a fed, the older generation have called me 'The Babylon' (nice to have a Biblical reference although, not a great one!) and everyone else in-between has called me, well….. everything else in-between!

In the Christmas story there are 16 names used for Jesus: Messiah/Christ, Immanuel, King of the Jews, Ruler, Shepherd, Nazarene, Son of God, Holy one, Lord, Saviour, Consolation of Israel, Salvation, Light for the revelation to the Gentiles and Sign that will be Spoken Against.

According to Cruden's Concordance there are 198 different names and titles of Jesus in the entire Bible.  Off the top of my head, I can name about 20 of them.  S.M. Lockridge, the once pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in the US in the last century gave a famous six-and-a-half-minute description of Jesus called 'Amen' or more popularly known as 'That's my King' – I encourage you to listen to it on You Tube, it brings tears to my eyes every time.

But why so many names for this one man, what was so significant about Jesus that in the words of S.M. Lockridge "He's indescribable"?

Well, the answer is really quite simple, when you are trying to describe Jesus, you are trying to describe God.  In the gospel of John 14:9 Jesus says "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father".  But we are also told in the Bible that God's ways are not our ways and that God is so much higher than we are so it seems impossible to know or describe him.  A well-known joke asks what the difference between God and man is – God doesn't think he's a man!

But let's go back to John 14:9 where Jesus simply tells us that if we want to know what God looks like, to look at him.  He wasn't talking physically since we are all created in the image of God, but I'm referring to his character.  Every name for Jesus in the Bible refers to some aspect of his character.

We can rejoice that all these names are good.  The entire character of Jesus is good.  As Jesus reminds us in Mark 10:18 "No one is good except God alone".  Good is a hugely overused word in modern society.  The word 'good' is a very pure word.  Something can't actually be good if it is tainted in anyway whatsoever.  Only God is good.

Of course, Jesus was also called a great number of derogatory names by those who opposed him, he still is today, though none of them are or ever were spoken in truth.  I love the way that Jesus is never unaccustomed to our suffering.  Like police employees, he was trying to do good, only to be scorned for it by the people he came to help.  We can have confidence that Jesus joins us in our suffering when people are unkind to us and he gives us the strength to love them anyway.

But what do these names of Jesus mean to you this Christmas?  For us, the most significant difference about these names is the pronoun we choose to use before them.

For you, is Jesus the Rock, the Saviour, the King, the Refuge, the Lord, etc. or is He your Rock, your Saviour, your King, your Refuge, your Lord?

Whatever of Jesus's 198 different names you choose, I pray that you can say that he's Yours this Christmas and whatever name you may be called by your fellow man, remember that Jesus calls you His beloved.

Have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy His presence and His peace.

Love from the MetCPA Leadership Team 


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