- Religion and Philosophy
Why Was Jesus Called Christ?
How often do we go through life using titles and expressions without actually questioning the meanings?
One such instance where I have found myself doing this has been in the use of the word Christ. Why, I asked myself, can’t one just refer to God’s son by his given name Jesus?
Upon research for an answer I found the reason interesting so have chosen to share it with others who have not thought the referring of Christ through when expressing it.
The Gospel accounts relate that when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce that she would become pregnant, he told her that she should name her son Jesus. This is according to Luke 1:31. This was a fairly common name among the Jews in Bible times. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote of 12 people, other than those mentioned in the scriptures, who bore the name.
Mary’s son was called “the Nazarene” which served to identify him as the Jesus who came from Nazareth. (Mark: 10:47) He also came to be known as “the Christ,” or Jesus Christ. So, what does this mean?
The English word “Christ” comes from the Greek word Khri-stos’, equivalent to the Hebrew word Ma-shi’ach (Messiah). Both words literally mean “Anointed One.”
Jesus being the foretold Messiah, was the preeminent representative of God. Hence, Jesus appropriately received the designation “Christ, the son of the living God.”- Mathew 16:16
Christ is not a mere appellative added to distinguish the Lord Jesus from others of the same name; it is an official title.
By putting the title ahead of the name and saying “Christ Jesus” instead of “Jesus Christ” places greater emphasis on the office or position held by Jesus.
It is noteworthy that it is only God’s beloved Son who is entitled “Christ Jesus.”
In the scriptures, titles are never multiplied before or after Jesus’ name; but if one title precedes the personal name, then any other title is added only after the name. There is never the combination like The Lord Christ Jesus or the King Christ Jesus but there is the combination, Lord Jesus Christ.
I hope I have been able to shed some light as to the significance of the use of the word Christ when referring to God’s son.