1. Jesus the Nazarene Carpenter's Son

Audio (27:25)

Sir John Everett Millais, 'Christ in the House of His Parents' (1850), oil on canvas, 30 x 55 in, Tate Britain, London
Sir John Everett Millais, 'Christ in the House of His Parents' (1850), oil on canvas, 30 x 55 in, Tate Britain, London

Jesus first appears in the Gospels as Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph and Mary, who was born in Bethlehem, was raised in Nazareth, earned his living as a carpenter, and at age of about 30 began a three year ministry that ended in his death by crucifixion.

The Jesus of History

Unlike mythical figures unfettered by time and history -- such as the gods of India, Rome, Greece, the Celts, and the Norsemen -- Jesus' story is firmly set in history. Consider this passage:

"In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar -- when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene -- during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert." (Luke 3:1-2)

Pretty specific!

Early Historical References to Jesus

A number of early non-Christian documents refer to Jesus as an historical person as well:

Jewish historian Josephus (early second century AD) has two mentions of Jesus, though the first appears to have been tampered with by later Christian scribes, since Josephus himself did not pretend to be a Christian.[3] The second quotation, however, is likely to be authentic regarding the stoning of "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James."[4]

Pliny the Younger (c. 62 - c. 113 AD) was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of ancient Rome, known for his hundreds of surviving letters. In a letter to Emperor Trajan (ruled 98-117 AD), Pliny records his dealings as a magistrate in trials of Christians, who were already numerous enough to be common subjects of the Roman court system, since they refused allegiance to the emperor in favor of Christ.[5]

Tacitus (c. 55 - c. 117 AD), who was a Roman senator and historian, wrote of Nero blaming Christians for the burning of Rome, followers of "Christus, from whom the name had its origin, [who had] suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus."[6]

Suetonius (c. 69 - c. AD 140), in his Lives of the Twelve Caesars, describes Christian persecution in two passages "at the instigation of one Chrestus."[7]

Celsus, a second century pagan Greek philosopher attacked Christianity in his literary work, The True Word (c. 160-180 AD). The book was largely quoted and then refuted by Origin of Alexandria (c. 185-254 AD) in his major work Against Celsus (248 AD). Clearly, Celsus understands Jesus as an historical character, and attacks him as such.[8]

It becomes obvious that Jesus is not some first century myth, but an historical figure who by himself and through his followers affected the history of his period and even to our day. This is acknowledged by both Christians and fair scholars everywhere.

The Given Name of Jesus

The history of Jesus begins with his given name, told to Mary at his conception by an angel, and confirmed to Joseph in a dream.

In Greek, Jesus' name is Iēsous, but its origin is from Hebrew. In Hebrew "Jesus" is Yēshūa', a shortened form of Joshua (Yehôshûa'), who was one of Israel's most celebrated heroes. Many Jewish boys in Jesus' day were named Jesus, as are many Hispanic boys today -- after a hero.

Jesus' Hebrew name is a compound word which means "Yahweh Saves." "Saves" is from the verb yāshaʿ, "to save, deliver, give victory, help."[9] That he bears this name is no coincidence, but the plan of God. The angels direct both his earthly parents to name him Jesus:

To Mary: "You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus." (Luke 1:31)

To Joseph: "... You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)

To Joseph, the angel gives the reason. Jesus' name was to indicate his mission. Both Mary and Joseph were given this name by the angel so neither would ever forget who Jesus was -- Yahweh's salvation embodied in human form.

As a little baby, "Yahweh saves" might have been born and raised in the humblest of circumstances, but that never diminished who he was. His destiny was to save. The Greek verb in Matthew 1:21 is sōzō, which means, "to preserve or rescue from natural dangers and afflictions, save, keep from harm, preserve, rescue," here, "to save/preserve from eternal death, bring Messianic salvation."[10]

Seeing the Messiah as Savior was the popular Jewish understanding of the Messiah's role at the time. But the angel made it clear to Joseph that this salvation would not be political or military. Jesus' mission was not to overthrow the Roman oppressors and reinstate the Jewish kingdom. His mission was to save his people from a far more insidious enemy -- sin. Jesus came to destroy the power of sin.

To help you internalize and apply what you're learning from this study, I've included several Discussion Questions in each lesson. These are designed to help you think about and ponder the most important points. Don't skip these. It's best to write them out. You can post your answers -- and read what others have written -- by going to the online forum by clicking on the URL below each question. (Before you can post your answer the first time, you'll need to register. You can find instructions at https://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/instructions.htm

Q1. How is the meaning of Jesus' name linked to his mission? What is his mission? How did he fulfill this mission? How did he fulfill his mission in your life?

Usage of the Name Jesus

The name Jesus is used alone many times, but also in various combinations that we'll consider later:

  • Jesus (Matthew 1:21, 25; 1 Thessalonians 1:10)
  • Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 1:3; Romans 6:11; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 7:25)
  • Jesus Christ our Savior (Titus 3:6)
  • Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1; John 1:17; John 17:3; Acts 2:38; Acts 4:10; Acts 9:34; Acts 10:36; Acts 16:18; Romans 1:1, 3, 6; 2:16; 5:15, 17; 6:3; 1 Corinthians 1:1, 4; 2:2; 2 Corinthians 1:19; 4:6; 13:5; Galatians 2:16; Philippians 1:8; 2:11; 1 Timothy 1:15; Hebrews 13:8; 1 John 1:7; 2:1)
  • Jesus, the King of the Jews (Matthew 27:37)
  • Jesus, the Son of God (Hebrews 4:14)

Son of Joseph and Mary

Beyond his given name, Jesus is known by his parentage and his family. Though both Matthew and Luke tell us that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, not by Joseph (Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:21), those who weren't privy to the inside story, saw Jesus as the Son of Joseph. Thus he is called, "Jesus, the son of Joseph" (Luke 3:23; John 1:45; 6:42) and "the carpenter's son" (Matthew 13:55). He is called "the child[11] Jesus" (Luke 2:27) and "the boy[12] Jesus" (Luke 2:43). Child is not overtly divine in those cases, but is used in an important messianic prophecy: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given" (Isaiah 9:6).


Two genealogies of Jesus are provided, one in Matthew 1:1-17 and the other in Luke 3:23-38. In Matthew, Jesus' descent from David is traced through David's son Solomon, with Jacob given as the name of Joseph's father. In Luke, Jesus' descent is traced through David's son Nathan, with Heli given as the name of Joseph's father. Though there are several theories to explain the differences in these genealogies, we just don't know the reason.[13] Clearly, however, they are given to demonstrate that Jesus is a Son of David and a Son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1). We'll consider Jesus' title as "Son of David" in Lesson 4.


When Jesus taught in his hometown of Nazareth, he is referred to (in disbelief) as "the carpenter."

"Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" (Mark 6:3)

We know from later in Matthew's gospel that Joseph was a carpenter by trade (Matthew 13:55). But the town of Nazareth was small enough that carpentry and building wouldn't have been all he did. Carpenters and other tradesmen would also keep a garden and a couple of animals for food and perhaps do some subsistence farming to eke out a living in this agrarian society of rural Galilee. But when townspeople needed some carpentry done that was beyond their own skills and tools, Joseph was the one they came to.

As a rule the common man built his own house, probably with the help of family and neighbors. A family might have a knife and hammer of some kind. But a carpenter would possess both specialized tools, some fairly expensive, and the skills to use them -- saws, axes, awls, drills, plumb lines, chisels, and planes, some of which have been recovered by archeologists.[14]

With these tools, a skilled carpenter might fashion doors, beams, and perhaps gates. He would make plows and yokes and other wood implements. There was no local Nazareth Furniture Store; all furniture would be made by hand. Each town had a rich family or two. They would want some nice things made and their money would help the economy of the carpenter's family.

But carpentry doesn't make Joseph wealthy -- not by any means. The offering Mary and Joseph bring to the temple on the occasion of Mary's purification from childbirth is the offering of a poor man, a pair of doves or pigeons (Luke 2:24; Leviticus 12:8).

Carpentry is Joseph's world, and the world in which Jesus grows up. He plays in the wood shavings on the floor of his father's shop. Carpentry is Joseph's trade and the trade he teaches his son. Jesus learns from Joseph to saw and plane, drill and smooth. He watches his father -- the local contractor -- make business contracts and deal with customers. Jesus sees it all.


According to Luke 2:1-7, Mary and Joseph are originally from Nazareth, but go to Bethlehem to enroll in a government-mandated census. While there, Jesus is born. They remain in Bethlehem for a couple of years, perhaps because their marriage after Mary's pregnancy is a kind of scandal. In Bethlehem, they find and worship Jesus. And because King Herod knows that the wise men had gone to Bethlehem, he orders the death of all the infants two years and under (Matthew 2:16). But Jesus avoids death, because Joseph heeds the warning given him in a dream and flees to Egypt, just before Herod's soldiers arrive for the slaughter.

Herod dies about 4 BC. When Joseph hears that he is dead, he returns, but not to Bethlehem, where Herod's brutal son Archelaus reigns, but to Nazareth in Galilee, where another of Herod's sons, Herod Antipas, reigns.

Jesus is raised in Nazareth, his parents' customary residence, and considers it his hometown (Luke 4:16). Thus, Jesus is sometimes called:

  • Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 1:24; Luke 24:19).
  • Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews (John 19:19).
  • The Nazarene (Matthew 2:23).
  • The Nazarene, Jesus (Mark 14:67).
  • Jesus the Nazarene (Mark 16:6).

"Nazarene," however, is not a flattering title. Nazareth isn't mentioned at all in the Old Testament -- nor by Jewish historian Josephus. Apparently, it was seen by Jews a kind of cultural backwater -- and with a lot of Gentiles living in the area, making it suspect. You can catch a bit of Nazarene's reputation by Nathanael's comment when Philip tells him of Jesus' hometown. Nathanael replies, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip answers wisely, "Come and see" (John 1:46).

You may wonder about following One who came from such a humble hometown. One who made enemies of his religion's leaders. One who was publicly executed. One whose followers were persecuted. But part of following Jesus is being willing to humble ourselves as he is humble. And to take on ourselves whatever shame and persecution people dump on him and his followers in our day. Jesus said,

"If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38)

They called him "Nazarene"! What will they call you?

Q2. In what ways does taking Jesus' name on ourselves, or identifying ourselves with him, open us to shame and persecution? Have you seen examples of this in your own experience? What actions might show that a Christian is ashamed of Jesus? What actions might show that a Christian is unashamed of Jesus?

Messianic Prophecy Concerning Galilee

It was important that Jesus be born in Bethlehem and raised in Galilee to fulfill important messianic prophecies. Micah prophesies about 700 BC,

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me one
who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times." (Micah 5:2)

12 Tribes of Israel

Isaiah prophesies the location of Messiah's ministry in the 7th century BC.

 "There will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan --
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." (Isaiah 9:1-2, quoted in Matthew 4:15)

The Israelite tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun populated the area west of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus lived and ministered.

The Power of the Name of Jesus

We've considered Jesus' given name. Now let's consider how "name" is used in Hebrew language and thought (which underlies the Greek uses of the word in the New Testament). "Name" can simply be a person's proper name. But in Hebrew thought, a person's name can represent the person himself, his presence, or existence. Sometimes a person's name and existence are nearly one and the same thing. To believe in Jesus' name means to believe in Jesus' himself. "Name" can also indicate one's reputation.

There are three particular Hebraic uses of "name" in the New Testament that we especially need to understand.

1. Ownership. To speak one's name over something or someone, or to name it, was to exercise power and ownership over it. Thus to be baptized in Jesus' name was to place oneself under his authority and ownership (James 2:7).

2. Prayer in Jesus' name. Jesus' name is not just a formula for prayer. It is a privilege given to Jesus' disciples by their Master. Unbelievers may try to act in Jesus' name, but the power of his name is given only to those who believe in him (Acts 19:13-16). According to US law, a power of attorney can be used against the grantor's will. Not so with Jesus' name. Prayer in Jesus' name is similar to prayer that must be in accordance with God's will (John 15:7; 1 John 5:14-15).

Prayer is never intended to cajole God into giving in to our desires. Rather, prayer is about seeking him and his will with the intent of seeing his will come to pass in our lives. That doesn't mean that we have to always pray tentatively. Seek him, find the will of God, and then pray it boldly before the Father, in the name of Jesus.

3. Healing and exorcism in Jesus' name. To act in one's name, means that disciples spoke and acted like Jesus, in his place and with his authority.

In law we have this concept of "power of attorney," a written authorization to represent or act on another's behalf in private affairs, business, or some other legal matter. When my mother was in her nineties, she gave me power of attorney to act for her in financial affairs and make health decisions on her behalf. Later, when she suffered from dementia, I made decisions concerning her care without even consulting her. However, I felt bound as her son to act in what I felt was her best interest. I was her advocate with her caregivers to make sure she got the very best care. When I needed to make a financial transaction, I could present the power of attorney and act as if I were she.

Praying in Jesus' name is something like that. Jesus has given us his name to act on behalf of his kingdom. When people hear us, they are hearing Jesus through us, and are responsible to act on the information, as if it were given directly to them by Jesus itself. This is an awesome responsibility. As we act in the Spirit, Jesus even gives the church power to forgive sins in his name (John 20:23). Jesus gives his servants power to heal and cast out demons in his name (Mark 9:37, 39; 16:17).

The Gospels and Acts give examples of the power of Jesus' name in ministry and prayer as exercised by the apostles and the early church. We see:

  • Baptism in Jesus' name.[15]
  • Healing or exorcism commands in Jesus' name.[16] However, exorcism in Jesus' name backfired in the case of unbelievers (Acts 19:13). The ability to perform exorcism is no guarantee that the healer knows and loves Jesus (Matthew 7:21-23).
  • Faith in Jesus' person and divinity.[17]
  • Preaching in Jesus' name.[18]
  • The person of or doctrine about Jesus,[19] as well as false claims to be the Christ.[20]
  • Worship and prayer in Jesus' name.[21]
  • The majesty of Jesus' name (Philippians 2:10).
  • Welcoming a child on Jesus' behalf (Matthew 18:5).
  • Sending the Holy Spirit in Jesus' name (John 14:26).

Q3. What does it mean when you pray "in Jesus' name"? Do you use the phrase "in Jesus' name" as you pray? Why or why not? How does praying "in Jesus' name" limit what we will pray for?

Q4. How did Jesus' disciples use his name when they healed and cast out demons? Do we have this kind of authority, or was it only for the apostles themselves? In what way does speaking or acting in Jesus' name demonstrate the concept of power of attorney? Why are we sometimes afraid to speak or act in Jesus' name? How might hearing his voice about a particular matter alleviate that fear?

Names and Titles of Jesus: A Discipleship Study, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Also in paperback, PDF, and Kindle


Father, thank you for the name of Jesus -- the one who came to save his people from their sins. Save us, O God. Help us to trust Jesus with all our hearts. To come to know him and love him. And help us to pray and act with power in Jesus' name in the way you intend us to. Increase our faith. In Jesus' name, we ask this. Amen.

Names and Titles of Jesus

In this chapter we've begun to explore the various names and titles of Jesus. Here are the names, titles, and descriptors we've considered in this chapter, in the order of our studying them.

  • Jesus (often)
  • Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 1:3; Romans 6:11; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 7:25)
  • Jesus Christ our Savior (Titus 3:6)
  • Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1; John 1:17; John 17:3; Acts 2:38; Acts 4:10; Acts 9:34; Acts 10:36; Acts 16:18; Romans 1:1, 3, 6; 2:16; 5:15, 17; 6:3; 1 Corinthians 1:1, 4; 2:2; 2 Corinthians 1:19; 4:6; 13:5; Galatians 2:16; Philippians 1:8; 2:11; 1 Timothy 1:15; Hebrews 13:8; 1 John 1:7; 2:1)
  • Jesus, the King of the Jews (Matthew 27:37)
  • Jesus, the Son of God (Hebrews 4:14)
  • Son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1)
  • Son of David (Matthew 1:1)
  • Son of Joseph (Luke 3:23; John 1:45; 6:42)
  • Mary's Son (NIV, Mark 6:3)
  • Son of Mary (NRSV, ESV, KJV, Mark 6:3)
  • Brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon (Mark 6:3)
  • The Child Jesus (Luke 2:27)
  • The Boy Jesus (Luke 2:43)
  • Child, Son (Isaiah 9:6)
  • Carpenter's Son (Matthew 13:55)
  • Carpenter (Mark 6:3)
  • Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 1:24; Luke 24:19)
  • Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews (John 19:19)
  • Nazarene (Matthew 2:23)
  • Nazarene, Jesus (Mark 14:67)
  • Jesus the Nazarene (Mark 16:6)

Songs and Hymns

One of the reasons for this study of the names and titles of Jesus is to know him more fully, in ways that we hadn't explored before. To enter into this takes time in meditation and worship.

Songs and hymns are ways that we use the names and character of Jesus in our worship. To help those designing worship services around the names and titles of Jesus, and to facilitate personal worship, I have tried to include some of the most popular hymns and songs that I could find among the tens of thousands in the CCLI Song Select and Cyber Hymnal databases. I've looked for songs that actually include names and titles somewhat prominently, though that is a judgment call. These are included at the end of every lesson, and for all lessons in Appendix 3 available online. Special thanks in compiling these lists to: Brittney Land, David Pabalate, Darrel Fink, and Jonathan Fink.

If you'd like to learn some of these songs, you'll probably find one or more of them by searching on YouTube.com. It's a great sing-along resource for your personal devotions and will help you learn the songs.

Many songs relate more to the names and titles of God, rather than of Jesus. Here, we're focusing on the songs that relate more to Jesus. Songs that focus on God the Father can be found in my companion volume, Names and Titles of God (JesusWalk, 2010).

Key titles in Lesson 1 include: Jesus, son of Mary, Child, Carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth, and Nazarene. In this lesson's list, are also some more general songs that contain a number of names and titles. Others songs in this group focus on the power of the name of Jesus, such as "Break Every Chain."

  • "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" ("And crown him Lord of all"), words: Edward Perronet (1779), music: Coronation, Oliver Holden (1793)
  • "And I Praise Your Name" ("Mighty King ... Living Word ... Master of Everything ... the Lord ... Almighty God ... Savior and Lord ... Wonderful Counselor ... Prince of Peace ... Emmanuel"), by Eddie Espinosa ( 1982 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing)

  • "Blessed Be the Name" ("Redeemer, Savior, friend of man ... Counselor ... Prince of Peace"), words: William H. Clark, music: Ralph E. Hudson (1888)
  • "Break Every Chain" ("there is power in the name of Jesus"), by Will Reagan, © 2009 United Pursuit Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
  • "Celebrate the Child" ("the Child who is the Light ... Godhead and manhood became one ... First born of creation ... Lamb and Lion, God and Man ... Author of Salvation ... Almighty wrapped in swaddling bands"), by Michael Card (© 1989 Birdwing Music)
  •  "Come, O Come, Emmanuel" ("Day-spring, Key of David, Root of Jesse, ensign of thy people, Desire of nations, King of Peace, Rod of Jesse, Wisdom from on high"), words: 12th century; music: 15th century
  • "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" ("Israel's strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth thou art, dear desire of every nation"), words: Charles Wesley (1745), music: Hyfrydol, Rowland H. Prichard (1830)
  • "Crown Him with Many Crowns" (the Lamb upon his throne ... the virgin's son, the God incarnate born .... the Babe of Bethlehem ... the Son of God ... the Son of Man ... the Lord of Life, who triumphed o'er the grave ... the Lord of Peace ... Lord of Love ... the Lord of Heav'n ... Lord of lords ... the Incarnate Word ... their God, Redeemer, King ... the Lord of years, the Potentate of time, Creator ... All hail, Redeemer hail! For Thou has died for me"), words: Matthew Bridges (1952), Godfrey Thring (1874); Music: Diademata, George J. Elvey (1868)
  • "He Shall Reign Forevermore," by Chris Tomlin and Matt Maher (© 2015 S. D. G. Publishing)
  • "His Name Is Higher" ("Jesus ... Lord ... Wonderful ... Counselor ... Prince of Peace ... Almighty God ... Fountain of Living Waters ... Bread of Life"), author unknown

  • "His Name Is Jesus" (sad hearts weep no more), by G.M. Bills (public domain)
  • "His Name Is Master/Life," by William Gaither (1983 Gaither Music Company)
  • "His Name Is Wonderful," by Audrey Mieir (1959 Audrey Mieir. Renewed 1987 Manna Music, Inc.)
  • "How Majestic," by Kari Jobe, Chris Tomlin, Jason Ingram, Matt Redman (© 2014 KAJE Songs)
  • "How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds" ("Jesus! my shepherd, husband, friend, O prophet, priest and king, My Lord, my life, my way, my end, Accept the praise I bring"), words: John Newton (1779), music: St. Peter (Reinagle), Alexander R. Reingale (1836)
  • "I Am" ("Maker of the heavens, Bright and Morning Star ... Fount of Living Water, the Risen Son of Man, the Healer of the Broken .. Savior and Redeemer ... Author and Perfecter, Beginning and the End"), by Mark Schultz (© 2005 Crazy Romaine Music)
  • "I Know of a Name" ("a beautiful name"), words: Jean Perry (1916); music: Mabel J. Camp
  • "I Stand Amazed in the Presence" ("of Jesus the Nazarene"), words: Charles H. Gabriel (1905)
  • "In the Name of Jesus" (we have the victory)
  • "Jesus Is the Sweetest Name I Know," words and music: Lela B. Long (1924)
  • "Jesus, Name Above All Names," by Naida Hearn (1974, 1978 Scripture In Song)
  • "Jesus, Only Jesus," by Matt Redman (2003, sixsteps)
  • "Jesus, What a Wonder (How Lovely) You Are," words and music by Dave Bolton (1975 Thankyou Music ; Morning Star)
  • "Name of Jesus," by Chris Tomlin, Daniel Carson, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Redman
  • "O How I Love Jesus" ("There is a name I love to hear"), words: Frederick Whitfield (1855), music: 19th century American melody
  • "Sing, Sing, Sing" ("Lift high the name of Jesus ... Song of God, You are the One"), by Chris Tomlin, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Matt Gilder, Travis Nunn (© 2008, sixsteps Music)
  • "Son of the Carpenter, Receive," words: Charles Wesley (1739), music: Beatitudo, John B. Dykes (1875)
  • "There Is Something about that Name," by Gloria and Bill Gaither (1970 William J. Gaither, Inc.)
  • "These are the Names of God," by Tommy Walker (© 2014 McKinney Music, Inc.)
  • "What Child Is This," words: William Chatterton Dix (1865), music: Greensleeves (16th century English melody)
  •  "You Are Holy" ("Prince of Peace"), by Marc Imboden and Tammy Rhoton (© 1994 Imboden Music)
  • "You Are" (Holy ... Faithful ... Savior ... Friend ... Lord on high ... the Way, the Truth, the Life ... the Word made flesh ... the Bright Morning Star ... Alpha and Omega ... Comfort ... Refuge ... Love Personified ... My God and my King"), by Mark Roach (© 2005 Dayspring Music)

Exercises to Help You Internalize the Names of Jesus (Appendix 6)

It would be sad if studying the names of Jesus were merely an intellectual or academic exercise for you. Beyond your study, here are some exercises that will help internalize what you're learning and let it begin to change you.

Over the several days you are studying a particular lesson, I recommend that you incorporate into your daily life some of the following exercises that will help implant the names in your heart and mind. Try one or more of the exercises listed in Appendix 6, or invent your own.

1. Pray to Jesus using one or more of the names in this lesson. As you pray, call on him in a way that relates to his name.

2. Meditate on one or more of the names in this lesson. Visualize Jesus in the ways suggested by the names in this lesson. Picture him in your mind's eye. See how he is strong for you in these ways.

3. Write down your own answers to the discussion questions in this lesson. Post them to the online forum or read what others have written.

4. Worship him by singing one of the songs suggested above.

5. Consider how you need to change to become like Jesus as reflected by one or more of the names in this lesson, and ask for his help to change you.

6. Draw or paint a scene, figure, or calligraphy related to one of the names.

7. Make a banner emblazoned with one of Jesus' titles.

8. Compose a song related to one of the names and then teach it to someone.

9. Community. Find a way to influence your community or church in a way inspired by one of these names, titles, descriptor, or metaphor of Jesus. What project could you help with or initiate that could make a positive difference in the lives of people. For example, if Jesus is the Good Shepherd, what people in your community are "like sheep without a shepherd"? Who are without their basic needs, for example? What project could give feet to being a shepherd to those in need?

10. Picture how a friend or relative of yours could benefit from Jesus' ministry as reflected by one of the names in a particular week's lesson. Pray for that person accordingly and minister to that person yourself when an opportunity presents itself.


[3] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 18.3.3.

[4] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 20.9.1.

[5] Pliny, Letters 10.96-97.

[6] Tacitus, Annals, book 15.

[7] Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Claudius, sec. 25. Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Nero, sec. 16.

[8] Origin, Contra Celsus, 1:28. In one section Origin quotes Celsus, who denies Jesus' virgin birth, and then tells a corruption of Jesus' story. Origin then refutes this account.

[9] John E. Hartley, yāsha`, TWOT #929, Hiphil.

[10] Sōzō, BDAG 982-983.

[11] The noun translated "child" is paidion, here, "very young child, infant," used of boys and girls. Paidion is used of a very young child up to about seven years (BDAG 74).

[12] The noun translated "boy" is pais, "child," a young person normally below the age of puberty, with focus on age rather than social status, "boy, youth" (BDAG 75, 1).

[13] Theories include: (1) Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph, Luke of Mary (Annius of Viterbo, AD 1490). (2) Adoptive vs. physical descent (Afrianus, in Eusebius, Church History, 1:7). (3) Matthew gives legal line of descent from David, Luke gives the actual (Lord A. Hervey, 1853). These are discussed in Marshall, Luke, pp. 157-161.

[14] R.K. Harrison, "Tools," ISBE 4:874-876.

[15] Acts 2:38; 8:12; 10:38; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:15.

[16] Mark 9:38-40; Mark 16:17; Luke 10:17; Acts 3:6, 16; 4:10; 16:18.

[17] 1 Corinthians 1:2; Acts 3:16; John 1:12; 2:23; 3:18.

[18] Acts 4:18; 5:40; 9:27; Luke 24:45-47.

[19] Acts 8:12; 26:9.

[20] Matthew 24:5; Mark 13:6.

[21] Matthew 18:20; John 14:13-14; 15:15-16; 16:23-24, 26-27.

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