Names of Jesus
Essay title: Names of Jesus
There is much dispute among scholars of various theological persuasions as to the exact messianic content of the Old Testament. Some claim persuasively that much of the prophecies of Jesus Christ have been read into the Old Testament rather than out of it; that the prophets who wrote them never intended this interpretation. Others agree, but add that the Holy Spirit intended a second, more spiritual meaning that transcended the awareness of the prophet who first composed the words. I believe that we do not need to probe the minds and intentions of the Hebrew prophets, nor does our interpretation of passages like this one hinge upon our understanding of the inspiration of scripture. The reason is that all of Christianity is predicated in some way or the other on the man Jesus Christ, and whatever we may say about Hebrew prophets or the dynamics of inspiration, one thing remains indisputably clear: Jesus believed that the entire Old Testament pointed to Him, prophesied about Him, and was to be fulfilled by Him. To Jesus, the entire Old Testament was nothing more or less than a personal letter written by His Father and addressed to Him for the benefit of all. Therefore it is valid for Christians to seek enlightenment about Jesus in Old Testament passages like this, because we know that Jesus consciously took these prophecies as the model for His life and ministry.
There should be no difficulty with the fact that the gospels each give a slightly different picture from the others, because they each represent only a part of a more extensive series of events. Christians before the eightieth century entertained few doubts that the gospels were to be read as historically reliable accounts of the life of Jesus (Carson p.50). Furthermore, the writer of each one worked from his own particular point of view. Matthew composed his narrative as a Jew for Jews using proof methods familiar to learned Jews. Mark turned primarily to a Gentile-born audience and testified with the help of Jesus miraculous deeds and ministry that he was the Messiah and the Son of God. Luke, the New Testaments only Gentile reporter, followed in particular Jesus office as the Saviour of the World, a saviour who gave comfort to the poor and sought out the lost. John presented Jesus to his contemporary Greeks as the logos become flesh, the incarnate word of God; Jesus was for him the “way, the truth and the life”, the “light of the world” and Gods “only begotten son”. The gospels attempt to give an answer to the question, “Who was that man who effected a revolution in the hearts and lives of those who believed in him?” They saw in him the Messiah promised by the Old Testament, whose atoning death and resurrection concerns Israel and the whole world. For this reason the gospels concentrate on speaking of the person of Jesus, his birth, sufferings, death and resurrection. The reader is then left to decide whether or not this all tallies with the Old Testament prophecies.
The OT Messianic texts describe the Messiahs mysterious features in a way that is reminiscent of the New Testament message. His origins are from of old, from ancient times, before even the sun, moon and stars. He was before the creation. The spirit of the Messiah hovered over the waters in the creation account. God first created the “light of the Messiah”. The Messiah was in the Garden of Eden and there drew up his new Torah and prayed for his suffering people, promising to atone for their sins and to carry their afflictions. He is to be born “of the Holy Spirit”; from a “closed womb”, and through him God will “swallow up death”. He also sits at the right hand of God, acting as Israels champion and prayer intercessor. It is these mysterious characteristics that correspond to the picture of Jesus given by the New Testament. This paper examines Jesus as the The Word, The Bridegroom, and Immanuel, and the Good Shepherd.
Jesus as the Eternal Word
Through the prophet Isaiah, God declared that “the word that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). The Word, sent forth by God for the specific purpose of saving the world, “shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it”. The first three verses of Johns gospel read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” John explains how the logos, the word,