“And YHWH shall be King over all the earth and His name one” (Zech. 14:9). We are searching for the identity of YHWH who is to be King over all the earth. The only way we will ever grow to truly love God is to learn truth about Him revealed from His word that we know man did not write – truth that has never entered into the mind of man, and truth prepared for those who truly love Him (1 Cor. 2:9). In yesterday’s post we searched out the many ways that the Jews grew to understand the mysterious YHWH by adding His name to the ways that He interacted with them. Let’s begin to apply this same formula to Jesus Christ and see what we come up with. If Jesus Christ is YHWH in human flesh, we would expect – like YHWH – His titles to reflect this.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each emphasize different titles of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Matthew reveals Him as the King of the Jews (Matt. 2:1–2). Kings must have genealogies, so Matthew includes Christ’s royal genealogy beginning with Abraham, from whom the King was to come. Mark makes Him known as the Suffering Servant “who did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). There is no genealogy in Mark, because servants did not have genealogies. Luke presents Him as the Son of Man, showing that He is connected to true humanity. For this reason, Luke takes Christ’s genealogy all the way back to Adam – the first man (Luke 3:38). The Gospel of John reveals Christ as the very Son of God (John 1:34). It is interesting that no family tree is given in John. God, who is from everlasting has no genealogy! John takes Christ back to the beginning with God (John 1:1–2). The Word of God holds tightly to truth.
What is Christ’s name? Like His titles, His name should reflect His person. His name is the Lord Jesus Christ. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:3). The name “Lord” is interesting. Paul told the Jews that if they confessed with their mouth the Lord Jesus (Literally “Jesus as Lord”) and believed in their heart that God had raised Him from the dead, they would be saved (Rom. 10:9). “Lord” is the Greek word kurios. This name was used by both Greeks and Romans to refer to royalty.
The New Testament is written in Greek, so the Hebrew name YHWH does not appear. When the Greeks published their version of the Hebrew Old Testament (the Septuagint) they had a problem. The name YHWH was just as mysterious to them as it was to the Jews. They did not have a Greek word to match it. The closest they could come was the name Kurios. All through the Septuagint, Kurios was substituted for the name YHWH. Kurios in the New Testament became the equivalent to the Old Testament name YHWH. The New Testament apostles and prophets used the Septuagint. Zechariah says (in Hebrew), “YHWH shall be king over all the earth” (Zech. 14:9). But in the Septuagint, we read, “Kurios shall be king over all the earth.” Interesting! The name Kurios, Lord, in the Septuagint connected Jesus Christ to deity.
Now we understand what Paul meant in Romans 10:9: “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus [Jesus as Kurios, YHWH] and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Paul was asking the Jews to confess that Jesus Christ is God. The Jews understood perfectly what Paul was asking, and they were not willing to do that (Deut. 6:4).
What about the name “Jesus”? Mary would bring forth a Son and call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (Matt. 1:21). The name Jesus is found in the four Gospels 612 times, and in the rest of the New Testament 71 times. Jesus is the name under which our Lord was born, lived, and died. It is the name of His humiliation, His humanity. It tells us that God became a man. Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Joshua and means “YHWH our Savior.” When Lord and Jesus are placed together, the names mean that GOD was humiliated, taking upon Himself the form of a man in order to die for sin (Phil. 2:5–11). Amazing!
Now, what is the meaning of “Christ”? Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ (Matt. 1:16). The name Christ means “Anointed One.” This is the official title of the Son of God. It is the equivalent of the Old Testament name Messiah. The Lord Jesus as the God-man was equal with God in every way and also equal with man. “Christ” combines YHWH and Jesus together. The name reveals the one who could represent God to man and man to God—the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5). When all three of His names are placed together, the gospel clearly comes into focus. The eternal God became a man to die for sin and by His resurrection and session (being seated next to the Father), He is now exalted to the position as Mediator between God and man – the perfect Mediator between us and the Father (Heb. 4:14-16). To understand Christ’s name is to know the way of salvation. When one calls upon His name, that one will be saved (Rom. 10:13). Those who know your name will put their trust in You (Psa. 9:10). Amazing!
Tomorrow we will apply the same formula that the Jews did to YHWH to Kurios and see what we come up with. Stay safe and stay tuned.