When I was in fifth grade, my Sunday School teacher gave our class the assignment of finding as many names of the Lord as we could locate. I resorted to using one of my father’s reference works, which listed (as I recall) 258 “Names, Titles, and Appellations” of the Lord Jesus. Charles Rolls has published five books on the subject in which he purports to have found 283 names. By my count, he has omitted at least twenty, and I am sure there are more. But unlike the vast majority of names given to human beings, each name the Lord bears conveys some significant aspect of His Person, His attributes, or His work. Furthermore, such is the glory of His Being, that should all those names be known and understood, still, when He comes in glory, He will have yet another “name written, that no man knew, but he himself” (Rev. 19:12). For His glory exceeds all the names He bears. Nevertheless, well was it said: “Stand up and bless the Lord your God for ever and ever: and blessed by thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise” (Neh. 9:5). Here we will mention but two of His glorious names.
I Am. This, of course, is the name (“I AM THAT I AM”—Ex. 3:14) by which God directed Moses to identify Himself to Israel at the time of the exodus. Among the various explanations of the significance of that name is that it conveys the idea of “the Self-Existent One Who Reveals Himself.” God is the only One who ever has been and ever could be Self-Existent. It is not merely that He has life but that He alone is Life. Furthermore, He is known and knowable only to the extent that He chooses to reveal Himself to us. Something of the glory of this name (and of the Person who bears it) may be seen at the moment of Christ’s greatest human weakness. In anticipation of the cross and of being made sin for us, Christ prays in the Garden in such an agony that His sweat is as drops of blood. As He concludes His praying, “a band of men and officers . . . with weapons” approaches to arrest Him. “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. . . . As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground” (John 18:3-6). The word he is not in the Greek. Christ identified Himself as the great “I AM.” And such was the glory of that name that the armed soldiers involuntarily fell down before the One they had come to arrest. Christ would, of course, submit to them, allowing them to rise, bind, and take Him to trial. But the power of the mere mention of His name gave mute testimony to the truth that they were not forcibly arresting a mere man; rather, very God in the flesh had submitted to be taken so that He might lay down His life as a sacrifice for their sins and for the sins of the whole world.
Jesus. The bowing before the Lord that those soldiers did at the name “I AM” foreshadowed a greater and yet future bowing. Jesus was Christ’s human name, the name given Him in his humiliation. The name itself, though meaning “savior,” was not distinguished, being
a commonly used Greek name (Joshua, its Hebrew equivalent, also had been common.). His taking of such a name underscores Christ’s complete identification with humanity. At the same time, Christ alone could inform the name with its true significance: Savior. And so the humblest of men, Jesus, was also the Son of God, Savior of the world. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every other name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). Thus it will be, that all will bow, not before His most exalted name, but at the mention of his humblest. Blessed be that glorious name.
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