How many different descriptions of Jesus are there in the Bible? (Part 4)


We continue our journey to review more descriptions in the Bible about Jesus.

  • Savior

There are a number of Scriptures that reveal that Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind. In Luke 2:11, we read: “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Right from the very beginning of His human life, it was revealed to a few people, His parents, the shepherds and later the wise men, that Jesus Christ was the Savior–the Lord. Remember that we explained in part 2 of this series that “Jesus” means “the Lord is salvation” or “the Lord saves,” while Christ means the “anointed one” or the “chosen one.”

The wording, “a Savior” instead of “the Savior” in Luke 2:11 is interesting. We know that there is no salvation in any other than Jesus Christ, and we read in Isaiah 45:21 that Jesus Christ, the God of the Old Testament, is the only Savior for mankind. Still, we need to understand that God the Father is also called our Savior (1 Timothy 1:1), in that it was He who gave His only begotten Son and the Savior for mankind, and God’s born-again children are also referred to as saviors (Obadiah 1:21), in that they will help Christ to bring about the salvation of all mankind.

Still, the emphasis in Luke 2:11 is on Jesus Christ, and in this regard, the Living Bible is correct when translating: “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem!”

In our booklet Do You Know the Jesus of the Bible?, we read the following on page 9:

“The Bible teaches very clearly that Jesus Christ is God. For undeniable proof, notice Titus 2:11–14: ‘For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.’

Christ—the Great God and Savior

“The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary confirms that the entire phrase ‘Great God and Savior’ refers to Jesus Christ:

“There is but one Greek article to ‘God’ and ‘Savior,’ which shows that both are predicated of one and the same Being… Also… ‘appearing’ (epiphaneia) is never by Paul predicated of God the Father… it is invariably applied to Christ’s coming… Also… in the context… there is no reference to the Father, but to Christ alone… Also… the expression ‘great God,’ as applied to Christ, is in accordance with the context, which refers to the glory of His appearing.”

There is so much information on the fact that Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind that, for true Christians, this matter is irrefutable.

  • Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

All five of these attributes are seen in Isaiah 9:6: “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.

There is so much to think about and digest about the above attributes of Jesus that it would take much more than a Q&A to explain these. We can only wonder, at this time, how great a difference the Kingdom of God will make after the return of Jesus to the appalling state of society worldwide today.  Man has simply no answer to the insurmountable problems that exist so much so that at the end of this age, it will take divine intervention to save the world from extinction: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved [alive]; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).

Christ spoke here about human survival; not spiritual salvation. Therefore, the meaning is that no human being and no animal would be saved alive; no flesh would survive.

The attributes in Isaiah 9:6 will be clearly seen when Jesus returns to this earth—something that all true Christians should be eagerly looking forward to.

Christ will indeed be “Wonderful” or full of wonders and true miracles, and He will usher in the wonderful world tomorrow. He will be a true Counselor by giving sound counsel and advice; and He will be the Prince of Peace as of “the increase of His government and peace There will be no end” (Isaiah 9:7). As we have seen above, He is also called the “Great God” or, as Isaiah says, the “Mighty God,” “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). He will also live for all eternity (compare Revelation 1:18; 4:9), so the designation “everlasting” is quite appropriate. But why is He also called the “Everlasting Father,” given the fact that He is not our Father, but that He is the Son of God the Father?

We state the following in our Q&A on the question why Jesus is referred to as “Father”:

“Since God [the Father] created everything through Christ, it is also said in Isaiah 9:6 that Christ will be called in the future—after His Second Coming—the ‘Everlasting Father.’ This statement proves, too, that Christ existed for all eternity. He is referred to here as the ‘everlasting Father’ or ‘the everlasting Source’ of everything—the ‘beginning of the creation of God.’ However, when the Bible speaks of the ‘Father,’ it normally refers strictly and exclusively to the highest God being in the God Family… Jesus, who as the Son was also a ‘Father’ or better ‘Source’ in the creation of mankind–especially for the people of Israel–acknowledged the ultimate authority of God the Father: ‘…My Father is GREATER than I’ (John 14:28).”

  • Chief Cornerstone

When Peter addressed the Sanhedrin as outlined in Acts 4, he made these important statements: “… let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.  This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’  Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’”(Acts 4:10-12).

Wikipedia gives this information about what a cornerstone is: “The cornerstone (or foundation stone or setting stone) is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.” They go on to say: “cornerstone (Greek: Άκρογωνιεîς Latin: Primarii Lapidis) will sometimes be referred to as a ‘foundation-stone’, and is symbolic of Christ, whom the Apostle Paul referred to as the ‘head of the corner’ and is the ‘Chief Cornerstone of the Church’ (Ephesians 2:20).”

This is a vital description of Jesus Christ. As mentioned several times before, He is the only One through whom salvation is available.

Matthew Poole’s Commentary gives the additional explanation of the words “chief cornerstone”:

“The head of the corner; or the corner stone: Christ is frequently so called (Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10), and that,

“1. Because he sustains and upholds the whole building.

“2. He is a rock or stone of offense (Romans 9:33); as many run upon and are hurt by a corner stone.

“3. He is most precious (1 Peter 2:6), as the corner stones are usually the largest, firmest, and best.

“4. Christ is a light to lighten the Gentiles, as well as the glory of the people of Israel; and both Gentile and Jew are united in him, and saved by him, as the corner stone is equally necessary for both sides, which are united in it, and borne up by it.”

  • Apostle and High Priest

In Hebrews 3:1, we read: “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus…”

According to The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, an apostle is one sent with a special message or commission. We understand that Jesus came to preach the gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom of God (compare Mark 1:14-15).

Christ was sent by God the Father (John 6:57). Christ, as THE Apostle, sent His disciples or apostles into the world to proclaim the gospel message to all nations (John 17:18).

He is also referred to as our High Priest:

“Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17).

On, we read: “Christ is called the High Priest of our profession. High Priest, because He stands for mankind before God: High Priest, because He has made one all-sufficient sacrifice for the sins of men: High Priest, because He does for men what they could not and cannot do for themselves. Christ’s priesthood means that we have a way by which we may approach the eternal and all-holy Father.” 

He is the one who intercedes for us (Romans 8:34; compare also Hebrews 9:11-14, 24).

  • The Way, the Truth, and the Life

In John 14:1, when comforting His disciples, Jesus said: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me,” and then in verse 6: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

Jesus is the way, the only way to salvation (Acts 4:12).

In John 17:17 we read: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

It is only through Jesus that we can receive and understand the Truth and receive eternal life. There is no other way, and we read in 1 John 5:11-12: “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Christ is THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life; and He shows us the way, reveals the Truth to us, and leads us to eternal life.

  • The Good Shepherd

Jesus told us: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.  But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.  I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own” (John 10:11-14).

A shepherd’s main responsibility is the safety and welfare of his flock. The Church is the flock which Jesus tends and looks after. In Psalm 23:1, we read what David said: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

The Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary states:

“‘I am the good shepherd’—emphatically, and, in the sense intended, exclusively so (Isa 40:11; Eze 34:23; 37:24; Zec 13:7).”

The Pulpit Commentary adds:

“There may be many shepherds worthy of the name, but he alone justifies the designation… The good Shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep; not only does his work with his life in his hand, but he deliberately lays down his life and consciously divests himself of his life, and is doing it now. The Shepherd dies that the sheep may live (cf. 1 John 3:16; John 15:13). Elsewhere Jesus says, ‘The Son of man gives his life a ransom for many’ (Matthew 20:28). The thought is very grand, and is a strange addition to the claim to be the Shepherd of Israel, and gives intense pathos to the language of our Lord to Simon Peter (John 21:16), ‘Shepherd my sheep.’”

As Christ, as THE Apostle, sends out human apostles and other ministers to preach the gospel, so Christ, as THE Shepherd, uses human “shepherds” to feed the flock in a selfless and concerned way.

See also our Q&A on “Feeding My Sheep.”

  • Lion of the Tribe of Judah

In the Book of Revelation, we read in chapter 5 about the Lamb taking the scroll.   We’ve already covered earlier in these Q&As that Jesus was the Lamb of God, and in Revelation 5:5 we read: “But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.’”

In the following verses 6 and 7, we read that the Lamb (Jesus) took the scroll.  The rest of the chapter is praise about the Lamb.

Barnes Notes on the Bible writes:

“This appellation [“Lion of the Tribe of Judah”] is not elsewhere given to the Messiah, but it is not difficult to see its propriety as used in this place. The lion is the king of beasts, the monarch of the forest, and thus becomes an emblem of one of kingly authority and of power… and as such the appellation is used in this place. It is because Christ has power to open the seals – as if he ruled over the universe, and all events were under his control, as the lion rules in the forest – that the name is here given to him.”

Matthew Poole’s Commentary writes:

“The Lion of the tribe of Judah; he is so called, undoubtedly, with allusion to Jacob’s prophecy, Genesis 49:9, 10, wherein Judah was compared to a lion’s whelp, because he should be victorious. Christ was to be born of this tribe, and was to be a great Conqueror.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible reads:

“Christ, who, according to the flesh, was to come of the tribe of Judah; and certain it is, that our Lord sprang from thence: and he is said to be the lion of that tribe, in allusion to the prophecy concerning Judah in Genesis 49:9, where he is said to be a lion, an old lion stooping down and couching, and on whose standard was the figure of a lion. Christ may be compared to one, because of his great strength, he being the mighty God, the able Saviour, and strong Redeemer, and protector of his church and people, and the avenger of their enemies; and because of his courage and intrepidity when he engaged with Satan, and his principalities and powers, when he bore the sins of his people, sustained his Father’s wrath, and the terrors of death set themselves in array against him; and because of the fierceness of his wrath, and fury against the wicked, and for his generosity and lenity towards those that stoop unto him, and obey him…”

  • Head of the Church

We know that there are different governmental structures in the churches of God today where human leadership exists. However, we read in the Word of God that Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, and human leaders themselves are to be subject to Jesus Christ as the spiritual Head of the true Church of God.

In our booklet, “Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians — How to Understand It,” we read the following on page 18:

“… Paul goes on to say that through God’s power, Christ was placed above all ‘power, and might, and dominion.’ As we explain in our free booklet, ‘Angels, Demons and the Spirit World,’ these expressions could refer to angelic ranks in the spirit world. Paul’s point is that Christ was placed over anything and everything created. He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Hebrews 1:1–4). All things are placed under His feet, and He is the Head over all things, including the Church, the ‘body of Christ’ (Colossians 1:18).”

Ephesians 1:21-23 reveals more information about Christ being the Head of the Church: “… far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

Matthew 28:18 is revealing: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’”   Since He was given this authority over all things, these would include His Church. Ephesians 5:23 says specifically: “Christ is the head of the church” (Authorized Version).

Beware of any man who may wish to take all authority to himself and ignore the Head of the Church who is also the Word of God!

(To be continued)

Lead Writers: Brian Gale (United Kingdom) and Norbert Link

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