Published December 12, 2017
"Who Is He?"
Often, each year about this time, we sing in church (and sometimes hear on the radio) the traditional Christmas song,
"Who is He in yonder stall
At whose feet the shepherds fall..."1
The song is, of course, referring to Christ, being born in a Bethlehem manger.. But the question the song asks "Who is He?" is the most basic of all questions. And it requires further consideration by each of us. After all, just who is it whose very birth has so completely changed the world? Who is it whose coming has so affected the lives of countless millions over the past two millennia?
I'm struck by the Bible's use of many names to describe the attributes of Christ, in both the New and, prophetically, in the Old Testament. In fact, scholars have found more than 200 different names that are applied to Christ. And, as you know, names in the Bible all convey meaning beyond the name itself. So each of the names tells us about some significant attribute of the Lord.
For example, in Matthew 1:21, regarding Mary, the angel tells Joseph, "She will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." English speakers often miss the connection between the name, Jesus, and the phrase "save His people..." But the name Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, which means "the Lord saves."
So Jesus is our Savior. Even His name says it. The angels said it, too. They told the startled shepherds, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).
A favorite listing of names referencing the Messiah can be found in the familiar prophetic words of Isaiah 1:6:
"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."
Each of those names conveys a powerful attribute of the Messiah.
- "Wonderful." This term barely begins to describe the wonder, the amazement we have at the Glory of God and the wonder in considering what the Father did for us in sending His Son to save us from our sins. (As a recent song by the Blythe Family says, "His name is Wonderful, and we are full of wonder."2)
- "Counselor." We certainly need that. We need God's wisdom every day of our lives as we seek to do His will.
- "Mighty God." The term here as applied to the Messiah makes it quite clear that Christ was God in the flesh. Thomas acknowledged this when he said to the resurrected Christ, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28).
- "Everlasting Father." Isn't it great to know that our loving Heavenly Father is "everlasting" He is the Eternal One. Jesus Himself promised, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). "Never" means..."never." And that's a promise for all of eternity.
- "Prince Of Peace." Only Christ can bring true peace, both to the world and to each of us individually. It's obviously a desperate need for the world today.
Isaiah also provides us with another name for Christ Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14) which is even translated for us in Matthew 1:23 "God with us." Think about that. God with us! Christ, during his life on earth, was God with us, physically, in Person! Paul makes it quite clear in Colossians 2:9 that "in Him" that is, in Jesus "dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily..." I especially love that thought, because Jesus is still "Immanuel" for us today through His Holy Spirit. Also, "Son of God," a name used 42 times in the New Testament, is another powerful affirmation of Christ's deity.
Who is He? Who is Jesus? You can find out a lot about the Savior by studying His names given throughout Scripture.3 But for me, one of the simplest thoughts about Christ harking back to Isaiah's list can be found in this worship refrain:
"His name is Wonderful; His name is Wonderful,
His name is Wonderful, Jesus my Lord.
He is the mighty King, master of everything,
His name is Wonderful, Jesus my Lord....
Bow down before Him, Love and adore Him,
His name is wonderful, Jesus my Lord."4
That's Who He is.
1. From a traditional Christmas hymn originally dating back to 1866, attributed to Benjamin R. Hanby.
2. "Full Of Wonder," written by Sandy Blythe, Blythe Music Group BMI
3. A good listing of names and Scripture sources can be found at https://bibleresources.org/names-of-jesus/
4. Excerpt from "His Name Is Wonderful," written by Audrey Mieir, 1959, published by Manna Music.
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