The Names of Jesus

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, 
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:29 (NIV)

“The Jews answered him,
‘We have a law, and by that law He ought to die,
because He made Himself out to be the Son of God!’
Therefore when Pilate heard this statement,
he was even more afraid…”
John 19:7-8 (NASB)

All the descriptions we have of the Good Shepherd in Scripture and in Christian literature tend to portray Him as a quiet unassuming person Who was gentle and kind. He even portrayed Himself as “gentle and humble in heart”.

Thus, to read about a scene where He caused a powerful man to be terrified of Him, is puzzling indeed. What was it about Jesus that caused this man to be so afraid? Surely it was not our Lord’s appearance. Jesus had been physically brutalized by the Jewish leaders and He looked weak and utterly harmless.

It seems that what caused Pilate great fear was Jesus calling Himself God. A theory among Gentiles of Jesus’ day was the idea that occasionally one or another of the gods would take human form and visit earth. So, when Pilate heard about Jesus’ claim to be God, he realized he might have a god on his hands and he needed to be very careful about how he treated Him.

C.S. Lewis put it well concerning people’s reaction to being confronted by Him when he wrote, “He produced mainly three effects: hatred, terror, adoration.”

For those who have a genuine encounter with the Resurrected One these are the responses of most people. If you encounter someone who is indifferent to the Good Shepherd, that person has not had a genuine experience with the Teacher. Many people have an inaccurate view of the Saviour and so can easily dismiss Him out of hand.

As followers of the Son of God we need to constantly remind ourselves of Who we serve. It must have occurred to you that I am always using the many names of our Saviour as I write these devotionals. I am seeking to enrich your knowledge of the Man of sorrows. Read the amazing hymn by Isaac Watts and choose the name best suited to your need today and use it to strengthen your faith. Find a Scripture where that name is used and delight yourself in the One Who has loved you with an everlasting love, Who died your death, for your sins and Who will never leave or forsake you.

Join all the glorious names
Of wisdom, love, and pow’r,
That ever mortals knew,
That angels ever bore:
All are too weak to speak His worth,
To poor to set my Savior forth.

Great Prophet of my God,
My tongue would bless Thy name,
By Thee the joyful news
Of our salvation came,
The joyful news of sins forgiv’n,
Of hell subdued, and peace with Heav’n.

Jesus, my great High Priest,
Offered His blood, and died;
My guilty conscience seeks
No sacrifice beside;
The pow’r of His atoning blood
Has won acceptance with my God.

Thou art my Counselor,
My Pattern, and my Guide,
And Thou my Shepherd art;
Oh, keep me near Thy side;
Nor let my feet e’er turn astray
To wander in the crooked way.

My dear almighty Lord,
My Conqu’ror and my King,
Thy scepter and Thy sword,
Thy reigning grace I sing:
Thine is the pow’r; behold, I sit
In willing bonds beneath Thy feet.

Now let my soul arise,
And tread the tempter down;
My Captain leads me forth
To conquest and a crown:
A feeble saint shall win the day,
Though death and hell obstruct the way.

Should all the hosts of death,
And pow’rs of hell unknown,
Put their most dreadful forms
Of rage and mischief on,
I shall be safe, for Christ displays
Superior pow’r, and guardian grace.

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