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The question of Jesus’ identity has been asked and questioned even within His own lifetime here on earth. And it will continue to be asked and questioned as long as His followers are doing their duty as witnesses as we acknowledge Him and tell others about Him.

Even while He was physically on this earn people had different ideas of who Jesus was. Some thought He was John the Baptist. Others thought He was Elijah. By believing that, they were saying that He was a great prophet and that Elijah was the Forerunner of the Messiah. Still, others thought He was Jeremiah. It was a common belief that Jeremiah would return and bring back items he supposedly had taken from the Temple, and the glory of God would return to the people again.

Identifying Jesus as these prophets they were paying a great compliment and setting Him in a high place. By Jesus’ appearance in the flesh, they were expecting the Kingdom would be very near.

Hearing all these differing identities of Jesus, He was prompted to ask, “And you, who do you think that I am?” Peter spoke up and made his statement of who Jesus is.

Until the Lord returns it remains one of the most important questions ever to be put to every individual who ever lives. It is the question Jesus asks in Matthew 16:13-16. The question is, “Who do people say I, the Son of Man, am?

The statement Peter made here is one we use often as we make our basic statement of faith. We affirm that we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Peter could not give a theological or a philosophical reason why he said Jesus is the Son of the Living God. It was a result of his close relationship with Jesus.

The question Jesus asked was a very personal one. He asked each of them for their answer. He wanted individual answers.

Our knowledge of Jesus must never be second-hand. Some know most everything there is to know about Jesus. Some know most everything that has been said about Jesus. When Jesus was standing before Pilate, Pilate asked Him if He was the King of the Jews. Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it about Me? (John 18:33-34). Was it hearsay or is it something you know?

Christianity never consists in knowing about Jesus Christ. It always consists in knowing Christ personally. And, so, an individual answer from each one is required. He asked the people the question. He asked His apostles the question. And today, He is asking us individually, “Who do YOU say that I am?” “Who am I to you?”

We must answer, without any doubt, like Peter answered the question. We must recognize Jesus as the Christ, the Anointed One, the Promised Messiah, the Son of the Living God, the Savior of the world – our own Personal Savior.

The name of Jesus is very important to us in our lives. Today, I want us to look at some of the names by which Jesus, the Son of God is known, and what they mean, and also what they can mean to us as far as making a difference in our lives. But there was one thing we can be sure of – and that is that no human words could accurately describe Him and His greatness.

The first name we will look at is “Jesus.”

The name is a transliteration of the Hebrew mane – Joshua, which means “Jehovah is Salvation,” or that “He is the Savior.” It is given to the Son of God at His Incarnation as His personal name, in obedience to the command of an angel to Joseph before Jesus was born. (Matthew 1:21)

Most often in Scripture the name “Jesus” is found used along with other names such as “Christ Jesus” “Jesus Christ” or “Lord Jesus Christ.”

In Paul’s letter “Christ Jesus” describes the Exalted One who emptied Himself (Philippians 2:5) and testifies to His pre-existence. The name “Jesus Christ” describes the despised and rejected One who was afterward glorified (2:11) and testifies to His resurrection. “Christ Jesus” reflects His Grace, while the name “Jesus Christ reflects His Glory.

We can understand that Jesus means Salvation to us. He is One who came to save us.

Now, let’s look at the name “Christ.”

This name is from the Greek word Christos which means anointed or Messiah. Jesus was His personal name given at birth. Christ is His title.

The name, Christ, used alone, signifies the One, who by His Holy Spirit and power, indwells believers and molds their character in conformity to His likeness.

Romans 8:10 says: “But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.” An even more personal matter is seen in Galatians 2:20 as Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

Paul continues teaching about his relationship with Christ in Ephesians 3:16-17 when he says, “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…”

Because of Christ’s dwelling within our hearts, we can know that One who has done a wonderful work in us and for us is the Christ.

Then, let’s consider the name, Savior.

The Greek word for Savior is soter which in the language means deliverer and preserver. Acts 5:30-31 tells us that “The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead – whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that He might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.”

So, Jesus, as Savior, is the sustainer and preserver of the Church as we see in Ephesians 5:23 – Christ is the Head of the Church.

He is One who saves from any evil or danger. Jesus saves people from their sins. He delivers them out of their sinful condition and misery. He saves people out of their guilt, from the wrath of God, from the power of sin and the dominion of Satan, and brings them into a state of salvation in blessed communion with God.

Now, where does all this knowledge lead us? It leads us again to the question Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?”

How are we, individually, answering that question today? Are we responding like the masses of the people? Are we trying to make Jesus a man just like any other man on earth? Do we recognize Him as a great man but, nevertheless, still just a man?

Or, will we say with conviction, with full assurance that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He is my Lord and my Savior?

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