The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus, his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist , and his first miracle at Cana. During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration; originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas.
By the 6th century, however, Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the “coming” they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world. It was not until the Middle Ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas.
Advent is a time of expectation and hope and it prompts us to pause each day in December and remember why Jesus came and why we celebrate Christmas
Advent starts the Christian year like January starts the beginning of the calendar year.
Today, the Advent season lasts for four Sundays leading up to Christmas. In Advent, we’re reminded of how much we ourselves also need a Savior, and we look forward to our Savior’s second coming even as we prepare to celebrate his first coming at Christmas.
For indeed, not only do we commemorate his first coming on December 25th, but we also know that he will come again.
The themes most often used for the four weeks of Advent are Hope, Peace, Joy and Love
Hope is the feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Advent teaches us to not only to expect hope for eternity, but we can expect hope for today.
Next is peace. This peace that is not just a psychological state of mind; this peace is spiritual peace. This is the peace of people whose sins are forgiven
Joy is the next these This is s joy that rises above circumstances. This joy is not produced by something external that makes me feel happy. It is the supernatural result of a life filled with the Holy Spirit of the living God.
And finally love. This this love is a gift that originates with God and is Undeserving, Unlimited, and often Unclaimed.
The Bible attributes many different names and titles to Jesus. All of the 200 or so names and titles give us insight into His character and Who He really is. Jesus has so many titles because He fulfills all our needs. Wherever you are in life, whatever you need, He’s got it covered.
In this Advent blog I will reflect on 14 names of Jesus, various titles he is given and ways He is described. I will draw from both Old Testament prophecy and the Gospels accounts of His life just who Jesus is through these names. Also read the posts in my blog category “Who is Jesus”. The link is at the right side of this post.
Alpha and Omega
Isaiah 44:6 CEV I am the Lord All-Powerful, the first and the last, the one and only God. Israel, I have rescued you! I am your King.
Jesus proclaimed himself to be the Alpha and Omega on a number of occasions in the book of Revelation. This is a significant way to describe himself. Being the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet, Jewish Rabbi’s would often use Alpha and Omega to create a sense of wholeness, or fulfilment. When Jesus described himself in this way, we believe it to be a further confirmation of His being at the beginning of all things, and that He will be there at the end of time.
For us as Christians, we see Jesus as the fulfilment of the promises of the Old Testament, and God’s plan for restoration and reconciliation for all of mankind.
Revelation 22:12-13 CEV Then I was told: I am coming soon! And when I come, I will reward everyone for what they have done. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
Lamb of God
Exodus 12:3-7, 13 CEV Tell the people of Israel that on the tenth day of this month the head of each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for his family to eat. If any family is too small to eat the whole animal, they must share it with their next-door neighbors. Choose either a sheep or a goat, but it must be a one-year-old male that has nothing wrong with it. And it must be large enough for everyone to have some of the meat. Each family must take care of its animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, when the animals are to be killed. Some of the blood must be put on the two doorposts and above the door of each house where the animals are to be eaten. The blood on the houses will show me where you live, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. Then you won't be bothered by the terrible disasters I will bring on Egypt.
When we consider Jesus as the Lamb of God, we understand the deep symbolism of sacrifice. In the Old Testament, a sacrifice was made in order to please God, to make things right with Him. This was a significant act of worship to God. In the story of the Exodus, the lamb played a crucial part in God saving His people through their sacrificing a lamb and painting the lamb (or goat’s) blood on the doorpost of their house. This would save them. A lamb without blemish. When we look to Christ, we see Him as the ultimate fulfilment of sacrifice. A lamb without blemish and free from accusation, Jesus took upon Himself the punishment that belongs to us. Jesus is the ultimate end to God’s plan for the salvation of the world.
John 1:29 CEV The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said: Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Light of the World
Exodus 13:21-22 CEV During the day the Lord went ahead of his people in a thick cloud, and during the night he went ahead of them in a flaming fire. That way the Lord could lead them at all times, whether day or night.
Isaiah 49:6 CEV Now the Lord says to me, “It isn't enough for you to be merely my servant. You must do more than lead back survivors from the tribes of Israel. I have placed you here as a light for other nations; you must take my saving power to everyone on earth.”
There are few things more glorious than a beautiful sunrise or dazzling sunset. Light in the Old Testament was seen as a sign of God’s power (burning bush, bright clouds, pillar of fire etc.).
It was clear that light stood for the glory of God. The ultimate glory of God is found in the person of Christ Jesus, who came into a world darkened by sin and shed the light of life and truth through His work and His words. Those who trust in Him have their eyes opened by Him and walk in the light. When Jesus is described as the light of the world, we see the fullness of God in human form, for all to see His glory.
John 8:12 CEV Once again Jesus spoke to the people. This time he said, “I am the light for the world! Follow me, and you won't be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life.”
Isaiah 19:20 CEV These will remind the Egyptians that the Lord All-Powerful is with them. And when they are in trouble and ask for help, he will send someone to rescue them from their enemies.
In Jesus we find our ultimate savior. Jesus rescued us from ultimate separation from God for eternity. Jesus saves His people by dying to redeem them, by giving the Holy Spirit to renew them by His power, by enabling them to overcome their spiritual enemies, by sustaining them in trials and in death, and by raising them up at the last day. In His kindness, God sent His own Son to live the perfect life, and to die to save us from eternal separation from Him.
Luke 2:11 CEV This very day in King David's hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord.
Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 31 CEV God said, “I command light to shine!” And light started shining. God said, “I command a dome to separate the water above it from the water below it.” God said, “I command the water under the sky to come together in one place, so there will be dry ground.” And that's what happened. God said, “I command the earth to produce all kinds of plants, including fruit trees and grain.” And that's what happened. God said, “I command lights to appear in the sky and to separate day from night and to show the time for seasons, special days, and years. God said, “I command the ocean to be full of living creatures, and I command birds to fly above the earth.” God said, “I command the earth to give life to all kinds of tame animals, wild animals, and reptiles.” And that's what happened. God said, “Now we will make humans, and they will be like us. We will let them rule the fish, the birds, and all other living creatures.” God looked at what he had done. All of it was very good! Evening came, then morning—that was the sixth day.
Creation was brought into existence by the word. Jesus was in the beginning with God the Father, and was God, and by Him all things were created (John 1:14, John 1:9-18). Jesus not only spoke words that lead to eternal life, but according to this verse He is the very words of life, referring to the eternal life of joy and fulfilment which He provides.
Putting this all together for the Jews of Jesus’ time, The Word was more than just language and communication. The Word meant life, power, and was personally involved with them. Jesus as the Word of God means perfect relationship with God, and with us. We can approach the throne of God with confidence knowing that Jesus, as the Word of God, has done it all.
John 1:1-2 CEV In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. From the very beginning the Word was with God.
John 1:14 CEV The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him the complete gifts of undeserved grace and truth have come down to us.
Isaiah 7:14 CEV But the Lord will still give you proof. A virgin is pregnant; she will have a son and will name him Immanuel.
The title Immanuel literally means “God with us.” To know Christ is to know God. The faithful people of God in the Old Testament looked forward to the Son of God, and we have seen the fulfilment of God in Christ who lived a perfect life and went to the cross to save us.
Matthew 1:22-23 CEV So the Lord's promise came true, just as the prophet had said, “A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel,” which means “God is with us.”
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
“Wonderful” depicts a God who is out of the ordinary, and can do amazing things. “Counsellor” indicates a wisdom beyond what we have in ourselves. When we consider Jesus as Mighty God, we are reminded of His protection and provision. He is strong when we aren’t. He will protect us when we need to be defended. He is our strength. When we consider Jesus as the Prince of Peace, we are reminded that we serve a God of peace, who came to bring ultimate peace to the world. That was His mission and ministry, and without Him, there is no peace. Jesus came not to bring peace to the world as in the absence of war, but peace between God and man who were separated by sin. He died to reconcile sinners to a holy God.
Mark 1:21-22 NKJV Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Hebrews 4:14-15 NKJV Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Colossians 2:1-3 NKJV For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.(emphasis mine).
Matthew 28:18 CEV Jesus came to them and said: I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth!
Matthew 28:18 CEV Jesus came to them and said: I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth!
Ephesians 2:14 CEV Christ has made peace between Jews and Gentiles, and he has united us by breaking down the wall of hatred that separated us. Christ gave his own body
Philippians 4:7 CEV Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.
The Good Shepherd
Ezekiel 34:12-16 CEV just as a shepherd looks for lost sheep. My sheep have been lost since that dark and miserable day when they were scattered throughout the nations. But I will rescue them and bring them back from the foreign nations where they now live. I will be their shepherd and will let them graze on Israel's mountains and in the valleys and fertile fields. They will be safe as they feed on grassy meadows and green hills. I promise to take care of them and keep them safe, to look for those that are lost and bring back the ones that wander off, to bandage those that are hurt and protect the ones that are weak. I will also slaughter those that are fat and strong, because I always do right.
The role of a shepherd was well understood during the time of Jesus’ ministry. A shepherd’s job was to take care of the sheep. When Jesus described Himself as the good shepherd, He was describing His character as unique.
As a good shepherd, Jesus is describing His character, His righteousness and beauty. Sheep are known to be some of the most vulnerable of animals. When described as a shepherd, Jesus is also telling us something about ourselves and our need for Him. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, not only takes care of His sheep, but He also paid the redemption price to call them His own—those who have received eternal life through His blood.
John 10:10-11 CEV A thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy. I came so everyone would have life, and have it fully. I am the good shepherd, and the good shepherd gives up his life for his sheep.
Psalms 23:1 CEV You, Lord, are my shepherd. I will never be in need.
Daniel 9:25-26 NKJV “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
The Hebrew term “Messiah” is translated literally to the term “anointed”. To be anointed is to be consecrated, to be set apart for a task. The term Messiah, when given to Jesus, is a very significant declaration that Jesus would be the ultimate fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy. We know that prior to Jesus, the role of the high priest within the tabernacle was a role that involved spiritual cleansing rituals in order for the priest to enter the holy of holies and present an offering before God. The high priest was set apart for this task, and would enter this part of the tabernacle with a rope and a bell around his waist in the event that before God’s holiness he would be found unclean and struck dead. In Jesus we find the One set apart for the task, once for all time, so that we can present our requests to God in full confidence that we can go through Him and no longer through the high priest.
Mark 8:27-30 CEV Jesus and his disciples went to the villages near the town of Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “What do people say about me?” The disciples answered, “Some say you are John the Baptist or maybe Elijah. Others say you are one of the prophets.” Then Jesus asked, “But who do you say I am?” “You are the Messiah!” Peter replied. Jesus warned the disciples not to tell anyone about him.
Son of God
Psalms 2:7 CEV I will tell the promise that the Lord made to me: “You are my son, because today I have become your father.
For those of us who have been Christians for a long time, the effect of the name of Jesus as the Son of God has probably been taken for granted.
When we see scripture that calls Jesus the Son of God we know this to mean that He is fully man but fully God. Being the Son of God, we know this to mean that Jesus is in the nature of God. And so we can have confidence that to know the Son is to know the Father!
Luke 1:34-35 CEV Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen? I am not even married!” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God's power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God.
Hebrews 1:5 CEV God has never said to any of the angels, “You are my Son, because today I have become your Father!” Neither has God said to any of them, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son!”
Isaiah 42:1-4 CEV Here is my servant! I have made him strong. He is my chosen one; I am pleased with him. I have given him my Spirit, and he will bring justice to the nations. He won't shout or yell or call out in the streets. He won't break off a bent reed or put out a dying flame, but he will make sure that justice is done. He won't quit or give up until he brings justice everywhere on earth, and people in foreign nations long for his teaching.
Isaiah 52:13-15 CEV The Lord says: My servant will succeed! He will be given great praise and the highest honors. Many were horrified at what happened to him. But everyone who saw him was even more horrified because he suffered until he no longer looked human. My servant will make nations worthy to worship me; kings will be silent as they bow in wonder. They will see and think about things they have never seen or thought about before.
When Jesus took on the role of a servant, this was a great challenge to the leadership model of the days in which He conducted His ministry. Jesus laid aside His majesty in order to show people the love of God and how we should live and serve one another. Jesus modelled this role of servanthood through His actions.
Mark 10:45 CEV The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give his life to rescue many people.
Luke 22:27 CEV For which is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am in the midst of you as he that serveth.
Son of David
2 Samuel 7:12-16 CEV I'll choose one of your sons to be king when you reach the end of your life and are buried in the tomb of your ancestors. I'll make him a strong ruler, and no one will be able to take his kingdom away from him. He will be the one to build a temple for me. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I'll see that he is corrected, just as children are corrected by their parents. But I will never put an end to my agreement with him, as I put an end to my agreement with Saul, who was king before you. I will make sure that one of your descendants will always be king.
The name of Jesus as the Son of David is a significant title that gives us, as His followers, great confidence not only in what Jesus has done for us, but who He is! In fact, on seventeen occasions in the New Testament, Jesus is described in this way. So why is this significant? At the start of Matthew’s gospel, a significant time is spent stating the genealogy from David to Jesus—some 1000 years. The significance of this line of genealogy is that Jesus was the fulfilment of the prophecy of the seed of David.
The promised Messiah would come from the line of David, and is spelled out in Matthew chaper 1 as the genealogical proof that Jesus was a descendant of Abraham and David through His earthly father Joseph. The genealogy in Luke 3 traces Jesus’ line through Mary, and so Jesus is a descendent through adoption through Joseph, and blood through Mary. The title “Son of David” is more than a statement of his physical genealogy. It is a title that indicates His Messianic standing. When people referred to Jesus as the Son of David, this was an indication that He would be the deliverer they had been waiting for–the ultimate fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies.
Matthew 1:1 CEV Jesus Christ came from the family of King David and also from the family of Abraham. And this is a list of his ancestors.
Luke 3:23-38 CEV When Jesus began to preach, he was about 30 years old. Everyone thought he was the son of Joseph. But his family went back through Heli, Matthat, Levi, Melchi, Jannai, Joseph, Mattathias, Amos, Nahum, Esli, Naggai, Maath, Mattathias, Semein, Josech, Joda; Joanan, Rhesa, Zerubbabel, Shealtiel, Neri, Melchi, Addi, Cosam, Elmadam, Er, Joshua, Eliezer, Jorim, Matthat, Levi; Simeon, Judah, Joseph, Jonam, Eliakim, Melea, Menna, Mattatha, Nathan, David, Jesse, Obed, Boaz, Salmon, Nahshon; Amminadab, Admin, Arni, Hezron, Perez, Judah, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Terah, Nahor, Serug, Reu, Peleg, Eber, Shelah; Cainan, Arphaxad, Shem, Noah, Lamech, Methuselah, Enoch, Jared, Mahalaleel, Kenan, Enosh, and Seth. The family of Jesus went all the way back to Adam and then to God.
Matthew 20:30-34 CEV Two blind men were sitting beside the road. And when they heard that Jesus was coming their way, they shouted, “Lord and Son of David, have pity on us!” The crowd told them to be quiet, but they shouted even louder, “Lord and Son of David, have pity on us!” When Jesus heard them, he stopped and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” They answered, “Lord, we want to see!” Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. At once they could see, and they became his followers. (emphasis mine)
Isaiah 41:8 CEV Israel, you are my servant. I chose you, the family of my friend Abraham.
Jesus describes His followers as friends. Jesus reminds His friends to not be afraid – He can be trusted and depended upon. Jesus’ friends knew that they were loved, accepted forgiven and free.
John 15:13-15 CEV The greatest way to show love for friends is to die for them. And you are my friends, if you obey me. Servants don't know what their master is doing, and so I don't speak to you as my servants. I speak to you as my friends, and I have told you everything my Father has told me.
The name Jesus literally means “savior.” It is a modern day version of the Hebrew name Yeshua. This was the name Joseph and Mary were instructed to call their son, because He would become the savior of the world. This is a significant name and role. Jesus came to earth as a baby, but His calling was to save sinners from the guilt and shame of their sin, through shedding His blood on the cross for them – for us! More than that, He will save us from the consequences of sin, ensuring our right standing with God for eternity. This is great news for those of us weighed down by our sin. Jesus did not take on a higher title, one that He could have called upon Himself. Other leaders of that time described themselves as mighty, great and so on, but the Son of God called Himself savior, knowing that this title would take him to the sin and shame of the cross, for all of humankind. And so we can approach God with confidence, resting in the saving work of Christ Jesus. Indeed, Jesus is the sweetest name Savior,
Matthew 1:20-21 CEV While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”