All of us who have celebrated Christmas in Church, are familiar with Isaiah 9:6. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Almost all of us, when hearing these names read, are not confused, so as to think that these are additional names. We don’t think Jesus is his first name, Christ is his last name, and these names in Isaiah are four of his middle names. Rather, these names are titles.
The best example I can think of, in terms of titles, comes from the British. They have had Lords and Ladies, Dukes and Duchesses, Knights and Dames. Indeed, the British royal family, frequently bestows additional titles on its members. Prince Charles is not only a prince, but he is the Prince of Wales, as well as the Duke of Cornwall. Prince Willian is the Duke of Cambridge, the Earl of Strathearn, the Baron of Carrickfergus as well as the Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
There is no one person in all of history that has had more titles bestowed on him than Jesus. As it is the Christmas Season, we are well reminded of his titles. None of his titles are honorary. Each carries real substance. They tell us something about who he truly is.
- Lord. The most common is the title, “Lord”. Whenever Jesus is called, “Lord”, a reference is being made to the First Testament. Whether the term Lord refers to “Yahweh”, the covenant name of God, or to “Adonai”, Lord always refers to deity. To call Jesus Lord is to express that he is God himself.
- Christ. This is a reference to the Messiah. He is the one who sits on David’s throne, and is destined to rule the earth, and bring about the long-expected Kingdom of God.
- Son of Man. This is Jesus’ favourite title for himself. It is a reference to the book of Daniel, as the glorious Son of Man approaches the Ancient of Days and was given dominion over all peoples, nations and languages.
- Son of God. Jesus was conceived of a virgin, and therefore is God come to live among us. As the Son of God, he is distinguished in his person, from God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, and yet he is one essence with them. The three persons are the one God.
- Son of David. As the son of David, Jesus is in the direct line of David’s kingdom, and rightful heir to his throne.
- The Alpha and the Omega. Jesus is before all things and the end of all things.
- Immanuel. He is God come to dwell among us.
This is but the beginning of a very long list. They include the Way, the truth and the Life. He is the Good Shepherd, the light of the world, the resurrection and the life. He is the gate for the sheep, the faithful and true witness, the king of the Jews and the Lamb of God. As the last Adam, he comes to remove the curse of the first Adam. He is both the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and the Lamb that was slain. He is King of kings, and Lord of lords. And yet he is the man of sorrows. He is the saviour. He is the Word. He is the advocate, the bridegroom, the lily of the valley and the chief cornerstone.
I could go on and on. R.C. Sproul once told a story of a well-known theologian, asked to give the commencement address at a seminary graduating class. Sproul said, “For forty minutes, this theologian did no more than read the titles of Jesus.” After forty minutes, he was not yet through the list, but his time was up. He sat down.
How precious is our saviour! Merry Christmas!