The Names of Christ

The Names of Christ

The names and titles of Jesus Christ reveal something of who He is and what He has done.


Jesus is His name. “Christ” is a title [David is a name; “pastor” is a title]. The word Christ comes from the Greek word christos, which is a translation of the OT (Hebrew) word Messiah, and it means “one who is anointed.” To say “Jesus the Christ” is the same as to say “Jesus the Messiah.” In Luke 4:18-21, Jesus identified Himself with Isaiah the prophet’s words about the Messiah.


The second most frequently used title for Jesus in the NT is “Lord.” The Greek word is kyrios, which was used: (1) as a polite form of address, similar to the English word sir; (2) to refer to a slave owner; (3) to refer to the imperial authority; (4) to translate the name Yahweh – God’s primary name in the Old Testament.

The title “Lord” formed the earliest creed of the Christian community: “Jesus is Lord.” The New Testament tells us: “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3). No one can sincerely call Jesus “Lord” unless he has been given the ability to do so by the Holy Spirit.

Roman citizens were required to recite publicly the words “Caesar is Lord.” The early Christians were deeply committed to the mandate they had received from Christ and from the Apostles to be obedient to the civil magistrate; they were careful to pay their taxes and obey the laws of the state. But one thing they would not do was ascribe to Caesar the honor that went with the term lord.


“Son of Man” is the primary title that Jesus used for Himself. Of the more than 80 instances of this title in the NT, all but three are used by Jesus Himself.

This title comes from Daniel 7:13-14. In Daniel’s vision of the inner chambers of heaven, God appears on the throne of judgment as the Ancient of Days, and He welcomes into His presence the one who is like “a son of man,” who comes to Him on clouds of glory and is given the authority to rule and judge the world.


[Adapted from Everyone’s a Theologian by R.C. Sproul]