Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jesus’ Name

Jesus Christ has many names. However, these two words are the most commonly used when referring to the Son of God. Christos Yannaras gives, below, the meaning of the name Jesus Christ, explaining their meaning and their historical significance.

“…His own name is a composite of the two languages and traditions which form the historical co-ordinates of his time period and will form the historical flesh of the first Church: Jesus is a Hebrew name, Christ is a Greek word. With “Jesus” we hellenize the Hebrew “Jeshua”, derived from a verbal root which means “I save”, “I help”. And the word “Christ” is an adjective used as a noun derived from the Greek verb for “I anoint” and means the “one who has been anointed”, he who has received “anointing”. In the Hebrew tradition, anointing with oil or myrrh was the visible sign of elevation to the rank of king or priest, a sign that the one anointed was chosen by God to serve the unity of the people or the relationship of the people with the Lord of Hosts. But the special Christ of God was, within the Scriptures, the expected Messiah and therefore the word “Christ” had become identified conceptually with the word “Messiah”. Combining the proper name “Jesus” with the title of rank “Christ”, the Church indicated the historical person and interpreted the fact which he incarnated…”[1]

[1] Yannaras, Christos, Elements of Faith, (Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1991), p.101

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