Try Calling Him Jesus
For some, this may be a doorway into greater spiritual intimacy.
A Well-Known Prophecy
The Old Testament prophesied the coming of an Anointed One, a Deliverer like Moses who would be born to set his people free—not from an oppressive nation-state but from their sinful-state as traitors before the law of God.
As the prophet Isaiah proclaimed,
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.” (Is. 9:6–7)
Mighty. Everlasting. Prince. Greatness!
Title vs Name
The Hebrew term for this heroic figure is Messiah. The Greek term is Christ (χριστός — Christos), which is not his name as much as it is his title. Just as Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus is the Christ. Christ is not his last name. 🙂
As the angel directed Joseph in Matthew 1:21, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Just to make it clear, the Savior’s title is Christ, but his name is Jesus, which in English is transliterated from the Greek form of his name, Ἰησοῦς—Iēsous, which is translated from the Hebrew version of Jesus’ name, which is Yeshua, or in English, Joshua, a name which means “the LORD (Yahweh) saves.”
I give you that Hebrew and Greek background so that you’ll not think me a heretic when I tell you what a significant moment it was when I began calling the Savior by his name.
Power in the Name
I discovered that there really is power in the name.
Let me be clear. Is it wrong to call Jesus “Christ,” “Christ Jesus” or “Jesus Christ?” Of course not! The Bible uses a variety of name/title combinations when referring to the Prince of Peace.
An illustration may help.
Depending on the context, people may call me Pastor or Reverend. In the seminary, folks may address me as Doctor or Professor. Those are titles. When I am addressed with a title, it is meant as a token of respect. The same thing applies when people are called Coach, or Judge, or Mayor. But the nature of a title tends to create a sense of relational distance. They communicate formality, not intimacy.
Among those with whom I desire to be close, informal, and personal, I would much rather be called by my name. For example, if my children refer to me as their parent, they may say, “This is my father.” But when they address me personally, they say, “Daddy!” At a public speaking event, I may be introduced as Dr. Caston, but I would much prefer to be called McKay.
In the same way, for the first half of my life as a believer, I referred to the second person of the Trinity almost exclusively as Christ. Was that bad? No. Jesus is the Christ! But at some point, a switch flipped, and I began to use his personal name, Jesus.
For me, this shift was a movement from religious formalism into a new realm of spiritual intimacy. It was like taking hold of his nail-scared hands for the first time.
A Doorway to Intimacy
This may not be an issue for you. If not, be grateful. But for me, calling Jesus, Jesus, was a doorway into a more personal knowing of the Savior/Christ/Messiah/Anointed One.
For me, the name Jesus became a doorway to greater spiritual intimacy.
If you struggle to feel close, personal, and intimately connected to the Christ, try calling him Jesus. John Newton did… and a hymn happened.
How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrow, heals his wounds, and drives away his fear.
It makes the wounded spirit whole, and calms the troubled breast;
’Tis manna to the hungry soul, and to the weary rest.
Dear Name! the Rock on which we build; our shield and hiding-place;
Our never-failing treasury, filled with boundless stores of grace.
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