One Lord JESUS Christ
We are continuing to look at the Nicene Creed and particularly the line, ‘And in one Lord Jesus Christ.’ We have seen the exclusiveness of the Gospel, which says there is one way of salvation. Last week we looked at the title Lord given to Christ. This week we will look at the name Jesus. Jesus, to us, is a very particular name that we know who we are talking about. We are talking about Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity. After an angel appeared to Joseph, he called his name Jesus (Matt 1:21), which Mary told her to name him (Luke 1:31). The name in Greek is Iēsous, and in Hebrew, it would be Yeshua. This is where we get the name Joshua (J didn’t become a letter until the middle ages). The Tyndale Bible (16th C.) used the word, ‘Iesu,’ and the King James Version (1611) uses ‘Iesus,’ it wasn’t until the Cambridge edition of the KJV (1629) that the name was written ‘Jesus.’
The Hebrew name, Yeshua, comes from the root word ישע which means to deliver or to save. Clearly, the name was to be a prophetic name showing the life and ministry of Jesus. The angel tells Joseph, “She [Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:21). Even before Jesus was born into this world, Joseph was told that Jesus would save people from their sins.
During the First Century, the Romans ruled over the Israelites. The people of Israel wanted deliverance, not from their sins but the Roman rule. They wanted a king to save them from the political power which was before them. However, Jesus came to save the people from their sins. We understand Jesus was not a political radical who came to make a physical kingdom, but the Son of God who came to save his people from his sin. Jesus was a common name. In Colossians 4:11, Paul introduces, “Jesus, who is called Justus.” In Acts 13:6, there is a man called Bar-Jesus, who was a false prophet. Bar means son, so he was the son of Jesus. However, when we speak of Jesus, we know we talk of Jesus, the second person of the Trinity. Maybe this is why Jesus is called Justus.
The name of Jesus is powerful, because it speaks of Jesus as the one to save us from our sins. Paul writes in Philippians 2:10, “so that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” Or Peter says in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The name of Jesus is more than a cute name that Joseph and Mary picked from a scroll. It was a prophetic name that speaks to Jesus, life, and death. The Westminster Larger Catechism explains why we pray in the name of Jesus;
The sinfulness of man, and his distance from God by reason thereof, being so great, as that we can have no access into his presence without a mediator; and there being none in heaven or earth appointed to, or fit for, that glorious work but Christ alone, we are to pray in no other name but his only.
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear.