|One day a young Sunday school student asked me why the Lord Jesus had so many different names.
"Why do they call him Jesus Christ, or sometimes just Jesus or simply Christ, and Emmanuel, and the Nazarine, and Dominus, even The Lamb of God?" she asked. "And did he have a middle name and last name like Jesus Joseph Christ, or Jesus John?" "Also, what was his father Joseph's real last name?"
Well, that was a multifaceted question and a tall order to fill from such a young student. (Actually, she thought she had me because she was the class smarty-pants).
I started off by explaining to her that back in those days, especially in Judea and other Roman conquered provinces, people normally went by where they were from or the house they belonged to. An example would be, John of Siddon, Joseph of the house of Aram, and so forth. Today, we pretty much follow the old Roman custom and go by a surname or family name, and one or more other names, such as Gaius Julius Caesar, or John Jacob Jingel Heimer Smith.
According to most known records, Jesus' name was Jesu or Jesua. Jesus came from the Latin Iesus, and Greek Iesous, which was taken from the Hebrew Yeshu'a, which in itself was a contrition of Yehoshu'a, (Yah-Jehova & hoshia-to help) which meant "help of God." The Greeks therefore called him Ieosus (Jesus) or the - Helper of God. The Greeks also thought of him, as Joshua (God or Jehova's helper) from the Hebrew Joshua meaning God is salvation.
Jehova was the sacred Hebrew name of God, the so-called tetragrammation, YHWH, the eternal one, sometimes written as Yahwee. Not to be mistaken with the Hebrew word for God which was Elohim. Example, Christ cried out on the cross; Eloi, Eloi, Lam-ah sabachtani, Arimaic meaning, God! God! Why has thou forsaken me?
Christ came from the Latin Christus and Greek Christos, which is a derivative of the Greek word chriein that means to anoint. Therefore, Jesus Christ, in Greek means - The Helper of God - the Anointed One.
Why did they call him the Anointed One? Messiah, another name often used, comes from the Hebrew word, meshiach which means anointed. The Prophet Daniel prophesied that a savior would appear and would be called the anointed one. Jesus, the Son of God, was the King of Kings Daniel spoke of so he was referred to as the anointed one, or the Messiah.
Emmanuel, can be traced back to the word imam or leader, and to imanuel meaning - God is with us! So, in effect, Emmanuel probably was meant to mean God has sent a savior to guide us.
As for calling him The Nazarine; Joseph and his family were from Nazareth and the inhabitants thereof were called Nazarenes. Therefore, Jesus of Nazareth. Of course others have called him Jesus the Nazarite which has a different meaning. The Nazarites were from Nazar (which in Hebrew meant to separate ones self or abstain), and they were Jews who bound themselves to a vow of extraordinary purity of life and devotion to God and never cut their hair. Therefore, Jesus was occasionally identified as a Nazarite because of his uncommon purity.
As for The Lamb of God, Dominus, and so forth; Christ died as a sacrifice to save us and take away the sins of the world, therefore he is referred to as the Lamb of God or the sacrifice of God. (lambs being the most common sacrifice in those days.) Dominus is the Latin word for Lord, equivalent in meaning to the Greek Adonai-my Lord.
So the name of Jesus Christ means? He is nothing less than the Son of God!
Now, don't take my word for all of the above (I could be wrong on some points-I'm a little fuzzy on my studies.) ask your pastor or someone intelligent who is probably a lot more versed than I am in theology.
I simply want to pass along a few interesting facts about the POSSIBLE origin of the name of our Lord. After all, his birthday is coming up and you may want to wish him a Happy Birthday.(If you do not follow his teachings, I mean no disrespect.)
I reckon you can call him whichever name you prefer, however, I think of him as, The Eternal Light, which guides me through life.
Herr Doktor Oldwarrior