The Gospel of Christ is "the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." (Rom 1:16 NIV)
The gospel message is often thought of as simply the "good news" of the coming Kingdom of God. The "things concerning the Kingdom of God" are certainly a significant part of the preaching of the gospel. In addition, the gospel message also includes an understanding of the name of Jesus Christ. (See the reference that we have shown at the top, which is taken from Acts 8:12.)
The name of Jesus is so important that: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12 NIV)
Jesus Christ is not just any name. It is a special name with very special meaning. Today, we still identify people by their name. However, in this age very few names have any particular meaning. In Bible times most of the names of the prominent Bible characters were associated with a special meaning. An example of this is found in the name of "Israel". Jacob was given this new name after he wrestled with an angel. This name would indicate that Jacob was as a "prince who had strength with God."
When Jesus was born he was given the first part of his special name. He was called Jesus, which means "savior". At that point, the name was prophetic. Jesus was destined to become our savior. For many years he was known as "Jesus of Nazareth", because he had been brought up in that city.
The latter part of his name, "Christ", was taken from the Hebrew word "Messiah", which meant "anointed" Until Jesus was anointed by God, first at his baptism and finally at his resurrection, he could not be called, Jesus, the Christ.
We have seen that the name of Jesus has special meaning. Jesus Christ, our anointed savior. If there were ever a man that earned the right to bear this name, that man certainly was Jesus. To become our savior he first had to bear our nature and be burdened with our sin. He sealed his commitment to do the will of God by submitting to his baptism, to fulfill all righteousness.
He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, as he carried the responsibility for the salvation of mankind. He knew at an early age, that his task would only be fulfilled by laying down his life for his friends. As the "lamb of God" led to the slaughter, he submitted to the cruel death of the cross. His anointing by God was made complete when after three days, he was resurrected to life eternal.
What is in a name? In this one particular name is salvation for those who believe. (Acts 8:12) The keeper of the prison came to Paul saying: "Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." (Acts 16:30-31 By grace are ye saved through faith. That faith begins by hearing and then in believing the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Faith is enhanced next by our belief in the name of Jesus, as the one who will save us from death. Faith is made perfect in our obedience to his commandments. (See James 2:22) The obedience of our faith is demonstrated initially, when we are baptized in Christ, and we put on his name. Wearing the name of Jesus is a responsible occupation. We pray that we will never bring shame upon this name.
Jesus provided the example for our own efforts. In Philippians we are told concerning his walk: "Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
How blessed we are to know this man, and to bear his great name.
May we always follow his example and bear this name faithfully and to the glory of God his Father.
God's plan and purpose for men upon this earth is bound up in the opportunity that has been provided for us to know God and His son Jesus Christ. God has made himself known through His word, the Bible. God has also sent His son into this world to teach us, both by example and by word, about the Father.
John 17 is a special chapter that speaks directly to God's people about the blessings available in knowing God and His son, and in having the opportunity to be united with them into one family. Consider some of these words of encouragement that Jesus spoke concerning his disciples, and to all who would believe in his name:
"I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.- - Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me - - - - -
O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17: 15-26)
As we look at some of these comforting words of Jesus, as recorded in John 17, we realize that the name of Jesus carries with it the hope for a special relationship with God and Jesus.
When we are baptized, we put on the name of the Father, who was manifested in the son, through the power of the Holy Spirit. We become a member of the family of God. This family is held together with a special bond. Jesus has encouraged us to take advantage of this bond of love, not being afraid to approach the Father in prayer and to ask for His help with faith in the name of Jesus. Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us. After his baptism, the Spirit of God dwelled in him without measure. Through the name of Jesus, we live in hope for that day when we will be at one with him and his family.
"Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3, See also Ephesians 2:19-22)
To better understand the things concerning the NAME of JESUS CHRIST, we must learn about his FATHER'S NAME.
Jesus was the son of God, and one of his names was to be "Emmanuel" which means "God with us". God has one particular name that helps to link the promises that would be fulfilled by His son, Jesus. This name is called the "Memorial Name". It was first revealed to Moses on Mt Sinai, where he was confronted by a burning bush that was never consumed.
The angel of God spoke to him from the bush and commissioned him to return to Egypt to free God's people from slavery. Exodus 3:14 (quoted in the box at the top) was God's response to Moses, who wanted to know the NAME of GOD.
The English translations use the phrase " I am that I am". These words obscure the true meaning. Expositors agree that a better translation for the Hebrew "Yahweh" name is: "I will be manifested in whom I will be manifested." To paraphrase this, it would appear that God told Moses: "I am the Lord God who will reveal myself to men by choosing certain individuals. I will place my Spirit in them and through them, you will know me, for they will act like me."
This "Yahweh", or Memorial Name of God, was a prophetic name. It promised a future time when this earth would be filled with a redeemed people, who would manifest God in their actions and words. They would glorify God as His people. (See Numbers 14:21, Isaiah 45:18)
The promises associated with the Yahweh name were more than a few poorly translated Hebrew phrases. The entire event was a visual aid to help Moses understand. Remember that the bush was on fire but it was not consumed. Consider these symbols:
Fire = God ( a consuming fire-- Hebrews 12:29)
Bush = God's people (Israel was given the first opportunity to be a part of this family tree. Jesus later referred to himself as the vine and his disciples as the branches. - John 15:1-8)
When the Kingdom of God is complete on this earth. God's chosen and faithful people will all be immortal. They will have the Spirit of God in them, but it will not consume them. (Ephesians 2: 19-22)
The manifestation of God in Jesus the Christ is our assurance that that God will also be manifested in His people, when His purpose is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. (Revelation 21:3)