When looking in depth at the Apostle Paul’s writings, one can notice that he uses the names of Jesus Christ in very specific ways, depending on the subject of his writings. Sometimes, Paul speaks of the “Lord”, or “Jesus”, or “Jesus Christ”, or “Christ Jesus”. In an article titled, “The Names of Jesus”, E.W. Bullinger states that he noted seventeen different combinations of the use of those names in Paul’s epistles. Bullinger also states that in the gospels, the name “Jesus” (on its own) is used about 612 times. While it is used only 71 times in the other NT books (and 38 of those instances are in Acts). Why is that?
“Now she shall be bringing forth a Son, and you shall be calling His name Jesus, for He shall be saving His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21, (CLNT)
“Jesus” is the Greek word Iēsous, pronounced ē-ā-sü's. It literally means “Jehovah Savior”. When we speak of the One, the Son of God, who became a man on this earth that He may take upon Himself all the sins of mankind and be crucified for them on a cross, we are speaking of “Jesus” – “Jehovah Savior”.
He is the One spoken of in Isaiah 53:
“He shall grow up like a young shoot before Him, and like a root sprout out from arid earth; He has no shapeliness nor honor that we should observe Him, and no such appearance that we should covet Him. He is despised and shunned of men, a man of pains and knowing illness, and, as a concealing of faces from Him, He is despised, and we judge Him of no account. Surely He Himself has borne our illnesses, and our pains, He was burdened with them; as for us, we accounted Him assaulted, smitten of Elohim and humbled. Yet He was wounded because of our transgressions, and crushed because of our depravities. The discipline of our well-being was on Him, and with His welts comes healing for us. All of us, like a flock, have strayed; each to his own way, we have turned around, yet Yahweh Himself causes the depravity of us all to come upon Him. Hard pressed is He, and He Himself is humbled, yet He is not opening His mouth; like a flockling to slaughter is He fetched, and as a ewe is mute before her shearers, He is not opening His mouth. From restraint and from judgment He is taken, and on His personal fate, who is meditating? For He is severed from the land of the living; because of the transgressions of My people, He is led to death. And they appoint His tomb with the wicked,…Although He had done no wrong, and no deceit was in His mouth. Yet Yahweh desire to crus Him, and He causes Him to be wounded. Should His soul place a guilt offering, He shall see a seed, He shall lengthen days, and the desire of Yahweh shall prosper in His hand. From the toil of His soul He shall see light, and He shall be satisfied by His knowledge; My righteous Servant shall justify man, and with their depravities He Himself shall be burdened. Therefore I shall apportion to Him among the many, and with the staunch shall He apportion the spoils, Inasmuch as He empties out His soul to death, and with transgressors is He counted; He Himself bears the sin of many, and for transgressors shall He make intercession.” (CLNT)
He was of no special appearance that anyone should be attracted to Him
He was despised by men
He was judged by men as of no importance whatsoever
He experienced and was burdened with all our pains, sorrows, and sicknesses
He was assaulted, smitten, and humbled by God
He was wounded because of our transgressions
He was crushed because of our depravities
He received the discipline we deserved
By his wounds we were healed
All of our depravity came upon Him
He took it all without complaint, like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep facing the shearer
He was severed from the land of the living
Because of our transgressions, He was led to death
He did absolutely no wrong
He was the righteous servant who justified man
His soul was emptied unto death
He was dead for three days
This was Jesus. When we speak the name “Jesus”, this is the One we are referring to. The Son of God, His chosen Savior, who was born of a virgin woman, who lived and walked on the earth, that He may also experience death on a cross for the justification of all mankind.
When we say the name “Jesus” let us remember this is Who we are referring to. He is the man burdened with all our sins; who also died for all our sins. We praise Him and thank Him for His immense sacrifice.
Jesus is also referred to as “Lord”. Prior to His death, the disciples called Jesus “Lord”. As he lived among them and taught them, He was their Lord and leader.
“Lord” is the Greek word kyrios, pronounced kü'-rē-os. It literally means a Master, one who owns and has power and authority over things and/or people. He is the possessor and the one in control. He is Master and Owner. The disciples knew Him as their Master and Teacher, and they called Him such.
After God raised Jesus from the dead, He became the firstfruit of the resurrection. After He ascended into heaven, the disciples professed Him as the risen Lord and the Christ over all.
The disciples proclaimed, “This Jesus God raises…Being, then, to the right hand of God exalted… Let all the house of Israel know certainly, then, that God makes Him Lord as well as Christ—this Jesus Whom you crucify!” (Acts 2:32-36, CLNT)
God makes Jesus Master and Owner as well as Anointed.
Repeatedly, the Apostle Paul refers to Him as the Lord.
“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions… Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand…For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living…” (Romans 14:1-9, NASB)
“For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord…” (2 Corinthians 4:5, NASB)
“Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.” (1 Corinthians 7:21-23, NASB)
The Lord Jesus is our Owner and Master because His sacrifice of death was the price that was paid for us. He has purchased us, ransomed us, with His blood and his death. The Apostle Paul instructs us to go about doing all things in our lives as “in the Lord”. Let us remember that when we say “Lord”, we are stating that He is the Owner and Master over all. We are His.
“Christ” is the Greek word Christos, pronounced khrē-sto's. It is an adjective literally meaning “anointed”. Used in conjunction with “Jesus”, it tells us that Jesus is also the one anointed and exalted by God. The Apostle Paul is the one who uses the combination “Christ Jesus” in his epistles.
Paul describes himself as “an apostle of Christ Jesus”. The anointed, resurrected Christ Jesus was the one to meet him and humble him on the road to Damascus. This is whom Paul proclaimed.
“Christos”, the anointed one of God, is perfectly described in Colossians 1.
“…for in Him is all created, that in the heavens and that on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or sovereignties, or authorities, all is created through Him and for Him, and He is before all, and all has its cohesion in Him. And He is the Head of the body, the ecclesia, Who is Sovereign, Firstborn from among the dead, that in all He may be becoming first, for in Him the entire complement delights to dwell, and through Him to reconcile all to Him (making peace through the blood of His cross), through Him, whether those on the earth or those in the heavens…” (Colossians 1:16-20, CLNT)
In Him all that is in the heavens and on the earth has been created
All is created through Him and for Him
He is before all
All holds together in Him
He is the Head of the ecclesia, the ones called out to believe in Him
He is Sovereign
He is Firstborn from among the dead
In all He will be becoming first
All the attributes of God dwell within Him
Through Him we can know God
Through Him we can know God
Through Him God will reconcile all to Himself
“Christ Jesus and Jesus Christ—what a vast difference between these two titles, though one is merely a transposition of the other! Jesus Christ is the humble, despised, rejected, crucified Messiah. His glories wait until the future, at the time of His return to earth. At present He has no place down here. But Christ Jesus! Already He is highest in the heavens. Seated at the right hand of God, there is no dignity to equal His. All might and power, all sovereignty and authority among the celestials is centered in Him. There He is not humbled, but honored! There He is not despised, but praised! There He is not rejected, but acclaimed! There He is not crucified, but glorified! We hail Him, not only as the coming King upon the earth, but as the present Head of all celestial might and majesty! Hail! Christ Jesus! (A. E. Knoch)
When we refer to Jesus Christ, we are speaking of the humbled, suffering, and crucified One who is consequently to be exalted and glorified as the Anointed of God when He returns upon the earth. The disciples proclaimed Him as Jesus Christ throughout the gospels and their other writings.
When we refer to Christ Jesus, we are speaking of the presently honored, exalted, and glorified One who was previously humbled and suffered and died for the sake of all mankind. The Apostle Paul proclaimed Him as Christ Jesus throughout his epistles.
“For there is one God, and one Mediator of God and mankind, a Man, Christ Jesus, Who is giving Himself a correspondent Ransom for all (the testimony in its own eras)..” (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
As the Apostle Paul did, the One I will speak of and proclaim is CHRIST JESUS, the LORD!
The next time you are reading the Scriptures, I encourage you to pay close attention to how His names are used throughout and the context in which they are used. It is not random coincidence; it is God-incidence. God has very particular reasons for inspiring the writings of the Scriptures to declare the names of the Lord Christ Jesus in particular ways.
I was inspired to write about this topic after reading E.W. Bullinger’s article titled “The Names of Jesus” and A.E. Knoch’sarticle titled “Christ Jesus and Jesus Christ”.
In the grace of our Lord,