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The Many Names of Jesus

Updated on May 10, 2009

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My Christian name is Cecille Carmela. And the history of my name says many things about me.

The name "Cecille" was taken after my patron saint St. Cecilia, whose feast day falls on my birthday. She is also known as the patron saint of the musicians, and with that, I consider myself a music lover.

On the other hand, my name "Carmela, was taken after the name of a church where my mom used to pray when she was pregnant with me at Our Lady of Mount Carmen. Carmen, according to my dictionary of meaning of names actually means 'garden'. Ever since I have always been a nature lover by nature, and I often enjoy the serenity of the country rather than the bustling metropolis.

It is often said that a baby named after a saint would also grow saintly, and with that I live up to the expectation of my mom. I don't really believe that a name taken from the name of a saint is the basis of one's good character but still I wanted my mom to be proud of me simply by being a good person.

And speaking about names, often my friends would call me Ela, Mela while my relatives prefer to call me Carme. I also have a name my younger brother uses to tease me, but either way I believe I'm still the same person.

I believe the reason people call me names is because it is their term of endearment, and each name I have is associated with someone who would regard me with a kind of affection. Like for instance, mommy used to call me darling when I used to be her little girl, my former boyfriend used to call me baby, etc.

In the same way, Jesus is known by many different names.

Below are some of them:

  • Jesus- the name Jesus actually came from the Latin word Yesua which means salvation. It declares God's redemptive act of love and the salvation of man from sin through Jesus.
  • Rabbi- this name was derived from the Hebrew word meaning "my master" or "my teacher". Often, this title signifies respect and honor. Jesus was addressed as a Rabbi because they consider Him a teacher because He would always tell about Bible stories in synagogues or in other places.
  • Lord- Like Rabbi, this title is also one of respect and honor. The name Lord actually means master, ruler or a person in authority. Jesus also call himself as Lord "You address Me as Teacher and Lord fittingly enough, for that is what I am"
  • Messiah- this name means "the anointed one" or the promised one. Jesus acknowledge his role as the Messiah The woman said to Him, "I know there is a Messiah coming. When He comes, He will tell us everything." Jesus replied "I who speak to you am He".
  • Christ- the word Christ means anointed, but the use of Christ became common after the death of our Lord. Christ is used correctly either before or after Jesus. In the New Testament, St. Paul's use of the title Christ declares the Apostle's belief in affirmation and divinity of Jesus. Also, the expression Christmas, Christian and Christopher came from the word Christ.
  • Redeemer- A redeemer is a savior. Thus Jesus is also called Savior. He is called as such because it is His primary purpose for us sinners--to save us from our sins.
  • Son of Man- Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man because he had also been one of us. He assumed humanity, born under Virgin Mary, became like us in many ways except sin. He worked with human hands, He thought with human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Believers call him as such for the belief that being like Jesus is possible for us humans.
  • Son of God- This title expresses His relationship to the Father.
  • Son of David- The name in Hebrew means beloved. The prophet Nathan foretold that the Messiah would come from the line of David, the second and the greatest king of Israelites. Once, when Jesus was leaving Jericho, the blind Bartimaeus called out, Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me. (Mark 10:47)
  • Bread of Life- This name is given to the Eucharistic Christ, the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ under the appearance of bread.
  • Lamb of God- In Jewish rites, especially at the passover, a lamb was often sacrificed. Thus, in Scripture, the lamb prefigured Jesus Christ as a sacrifice. Jesus was crucified at the cross as a living sacrifice to save us from our sins. This title was applied directly to Jesus Christ by St. John the Baptist, who, upon seeing Jesus, declared Behold, the Lamb of God (John 1: 29-34)
  • Light of the World- Jesus also referred to Himself by this name. He said, I am the light of the world, No follower of mine shall ever walk in darkness; no, he shall possess the light of life. (John 8:12)
  • Sto. Nino- means the Holy Child, which is revered by many Filipino Catholics.
  • Nazarene- This word refers to a native of Nazareth. Jesus, having grown in Nazareth is sometimes referred to as Nazarene. Many devoters of the Black Nazarene relates the suffering of their day-to-day living with Jesus' pain and agony in the Calvary. The black Nazarene in Quiapo Manila is said to have miraculous powers.

Among His many names stated above, there have also been many names associated with him even in today's times. Some call him 'Papa Jesus' knowing that He's a person in authority, and the famous miracle boy Santino in the Filipino TV series 'May Bukas Pa' call him Bro because he sees Jesus as his eldest brother knowing that Santino is an orphan. Personally, I call Jesus "my bestfriend" because for me, he fits my perfect standards of a best friend. He is someone I can confidently talk to that would listen patiently to my long pointless stories.

We can associate many terms of endearment to Jesus, but we should remember the truth that knowing Jesus doesn't have to be limited based on our intellectual knowledge with Him. Knowing God involves a personal relationship with Him through prayers and imitation of His good deeds. This also means we should work on knowing and loving ourselves before we are able to respond positively to God's love.

For instance, a person who doesn't understand problems surmounting Him would treat God as a Judge. He forgets that God is a merciful God and a savior because too often he is centered on his feelings and distracted by many things.

Simply put, the name we call on Jesus is based on our personal knowledge about him. But still we should never forget that his absolute being is that He is a loving God, a savior of all mankind. He is the one we call on to when we don't understand things, when we're burdened with so many problems, and most especially He is the person we ask for help when we feel there's no other option but to call Him.

At this point I would like to ask you, who is Jesus? How would you strive to know more about Him?


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    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 9 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I think an attempt to understand Jesus would be to help others, to be generous with others, and to keep a loving heart. To forgive always would be very hard but lead you down the path.