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The Shepherd and Other Nicknames



When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God! 

John 1:36 (CSB)

 

            Do you have a nickname? When I was growing up my family called me Suz, more recently, I am grandma. Your nickname may simply be a shortened form of your given name, or maybe your middle name. My mother’s name was Norma Faye yet everyone referred to her as Sally because her grandfather called her that from day one. Names are given with such glorious meaning and thought. A friend of mine had two names on the wall of her hospital room which she stared at as she was waiting to deliver and then after the baby was born. She was not going to commit until it was very clear which was best. Nicknames can be given based on physical appearance or funny attributes like Buzz due to always having a “buzzed” haircut, or Shorty because of a person’s size. I am sure your nickname holds a special meaning to you as well.

            The names for our Lord Jesus are many, each having a special meaning. Choosing the name in which you refer to Jesus could depend on the situation you are going through or the prayer you are praying. I love to hear different people pray and listen to the names they are using for our sweet Savior. When I read scripture, I like to study the names used for Jesus and dig deeper into why a particular name was chosen. The reason behind this is I want to be able to call to Him using many different names as a simple form of worship.

Jesus was called The Good Shepherd in John 10:11 when He said He would lay down His life for His sheep rather than let the thief come to steel them. Here He is portrayed as a shepherd because He calls to his people and expects them to respond as sheep would. In this depiction of Christ, we can see He is willing to do anything to keep us close to Him. At the same time, He wants us to follow Him.

Some of the names that Jesus is known as can be a bit harder to understand. One of my favorite names is The Bright and Morning Star. Don’t you get the most glorious picture in your minds eye? So bright and radiant as only our Savior can be, glowing with a light of hope and peace. Jesus is known as the Bright Morning Star because He is the King who now reigns in light, pushes back darkness and promises hope each morning. He is a star which rises while it is still dark, before the sun dawns to give courage and optimism for the coming day. He is the light that shines brightly in the darkness of the human spirit. Beautiful!!

In John 1:29 Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God. In Jewish culture, which is shared in great detail in the Old Testament, an unblemished lamb was given as a sacrifice to be slaughtered. This sacrifice would cleanse the people of their sins. This might be familiar to you and the comparison to Jesus being the Lamb who was slaughtered to take away our sins. But you may not know that each sheep had to be fully and carefully inspected to be sure there was no imperfection. On Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered the gate to the city, the sheep were also being led into the city through another gate. Priests were examining each sheep just as the Lamb of God was being examined by the authorities. The sheep without blemish were chosen and Pilate was unable to find any fault, or flaw, in Jesus. At the same time the sacrificial lambs’ throats were being cut, Jesus was breathing His last words, “It is finished!” (John 19:30 CSB). What an amazing name for such an incredible sacrifice.

Finally, let’s consider the name, Prince of Peace shared in Isaiah 9:6. This name was prophesied by Isaiah upon His birth. The birth of a King to be born that would bring peace. But, when Jesus came to earth, Satan was ticked! He knew what Jesus was here to do and you can be sure he was going to do everything in his power to make things as difficult for the people of this world as he could. And, he still is. So, how can we call Jesus the Prince of Peace if there really is not peace in this world? Our peace does not consist of having a life free of troubles but, because we are followers of Christ, we are able to have a calm, quiet heart in the midst of troubles. We have a peace because we know our sins will be forgiven and forgotten when we go to Christ in repentance. We have a peace in knowing even though we will have struggles and trials, we can see heaven and know we will live in perfect peace with Christ someday. This is the peace only the Prince of Peace can give us in a world full of strife.

Each name we can study gives us a different perspective of Christ. Each one meaningful to our lives because we love Him so much. His name is the greatest name given because there is none like Him and no one who ever will be worthy of these names. Jesus’ name is the only name that encompasses everything. To the sick, He is the great Physician, to the astronomer, He is the Light of the World, to the sinner He is the Savior, to the weary He is the Giver of Rest. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is all!

In the end, we will all profess His name. We will either profess it in joy because we have walked this life with Him, or we will profess it in judgment. We will all bow our knee and call Him Lord. I want to call Him by name now, in order to live with Him in eternity, rather than at judgement when it is too late. Won’t you join me?


A Prayer for Today

Lord God, I believe You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I love Your names and proclaim them to the world. Help me to be able to glorify each name and share them with a hurting world in order that they can live in the freedom only Your name can bring.


Today’s Challenge

Which name of Jesus is your favorite? How do you proclaim it to the world? Look into some of the names of Jesus and choose the one you will praise Him for today.

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