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Lessons on the Use of the Name “Jesus” in the New Testament
January 11, 2017
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
866-295-4143,
fbns@wayoflife.org
name-of-jesus
In the Gospels, Jesus is called Jesus often because that is His human name, meaning Saviour (Matthew 1:21), but the disciples never address Him directly by the name “Jesus” alone. Even the two disciples who were the closest to Him in affection, John and Mary Magdalene, do not call Him “Jesus.” When John was “lying on Jesus’ breast” at the Last Supper, he addressed Jesus as “Lord” (John 13:25). And Mary Magdalene addressed Him as “Rabboni” (John 20:16). Peter also addressed Jesus as “Lord” (John 21:15-17).

15 times in the Epistles, the name “Jesus” is used alone (8 times in Paul’s epistles, and 7 times in Hebrews).

357 times in the Epistles, Jesus is called by something other than Jesus alone. Jesus is His birth name as a man, meaning “Saviour.” Christ is His title and office. He is the anointed one of God, the one prophesied in Scripture, the Lord from heaven, the Son of God.

Jesus Christ - 133 times in Paul’s epistles, 37 times in the General Epistles
Christ Jesus - 54 times Pauline, 3 times General Epistles
Lord Jesus Christ - 68 times Pauline, 10 times General
Christ Jesus the Lord - 2 times Pauline
Lord Jesus - 17 times Pauline
Jesus Christ our Lord - 9 times Pauline
Christ Jesus our Lord - 5 times Pauline
Jesus our Lord - 1 time Pauline, 1 time General
Son of God - 4 times Pauline, 12 times General
Lord from heaven - 1 time Pauline

We see that the normal and proper way to address the Lord and to refer to Him is by Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus or Lord Jesus Christ, etc.

The name “Jesus” is not used alone in the epistles of Peter, James, John, or Jude.

James was probably the half-brother of Jesus (Gal. 1:19), but he does not call Him “Jesus” alone. James calls Him “our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 times), and “the Lord” (4 times).

Jude, also a half-brother of Jesus, calls him “Jesus Christ” (2 times), “the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 time), “the Lord” (1 time), and “our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 times).

But there are 15 examples in the Epistles of using the name “Jesus” alone for a certain clear purpose.

An examination of verses in Paul’s Epistles that refer to the name Jesus alone:

Romans 3:26 - “To declare,
I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

Elsewhere in this context Jesus is called “Jesus Christ” (v. 22) and “Christ Jesus” (v 24). He is called Jesus alone in verse 26 to emphasize that it is the man Jesus who is the Christ and the Saviour and thus the proper object of our faith.

Romans 8:11 - “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

Here Paul refers to Him as Jesus once and Christ once in the same verse. Thus we have the full name and title of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 4:5 - “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.”

The name of Jesus alone is used in a verse containing “Christ Jesus the Lord.” In referring to Christ the second time, Paul uses Jesus alone.

2 Corinthians 4:11 - “For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”

The context is suffering for Christ, persecution. In this context Paul uses the name Jesus twice without any titles. The use of the human name Jesus in this context reminds us that He was man and He understands our suffering.

Ephesians 4:21 - “If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus.”

Here Paul uses the name Jesus to emphasize that the man Jesus is the Christ, the source of all truth. He uses the title “Christ” in the previous verse. The two verses together contain His full title and name.

Philippians 2:10 - “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of
things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.”

Paul uses the name Jesus alone here because it is the recognition of the man Jesus as Lord that characterizes a proper confession of Him. In this passage He is called “Christ Jesus” (v. 5), equal with God (v. 6), having a name above every name (v. 9), Jesus Christ is Lord (v. 11). To bow the knee to “Jesus” is to recognize and honor the man Jesus as God.

1 Thessalonians 1:10 - “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead,
even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

Paul is emphasizing that the Son of God is the man Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 4:14 - “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”

Paul uses “Jesus” alone in the first half of the verse because it is the man Jesus who died and rose again, thus proving that He is the Messiah and the Son of God. He uses “Jesus” in the second half of the verse to emphasize the intimacy of the believer’s relationship with the Saviour. The same Jesus who walked on earth and loved His disciples is the One who died for our sins, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven. The same Jesus is our Saviour unto death and remains our Saviour forever.

Hebrews uses “Jesus” alone seven times (Heb. 2:9; 6:20; 7:22; 10:19; 12:2, 24; 13:12). The purpose of Hebrews is to show the Jews that the man Jesus is the Christ and that He is superior to angels, Abraham, the law of Moses, the Levitical priesthood, and every other thing they trusted in. The key word is “better.” So the name “Jesus” is used alone a few times in this context to emphasize that it is the man Jesus, the one the nation rejected and crucified, who is the superior One, the Son of God, the Christ, the fulfillment of all Old Testament types and prophecies.



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