As followers of Christ, we focus on His life, example, and love all throughout the year. But December is a special time to remember the light and warmth that He brings into our lives. His many names remind us of His many roles:
His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. [Isaiah 9:6]
His names are powerful, but because we hear them regularly, we often reduce their individual meanings down, making the variety of titles synonymous with Christ Himself. When we stop and contemplate the different roles that these titles express, we can see how Christ meets our needs in many different ways. And by emulating these assortment of roles, we can better meet the needs of those around us and light the world in the way Christ did.
In a devotional from 1992, President Nelson focused on the names of Christ. We’ve excerpted some parts here to kickstart your study of Christ’s character.
His title was the Word—spelled with a capital W. In the Greek language of the New Testament, that Word was Logos, or “Divine Expression.” . . . That terminology may seem strange, but it is so reasonable. We use words to convey our expression to others. So Jesus was the “Word” or “Expression” of His Father to the world.
This hallowed Creator provided that each of us could have a physical body, uniquely individual, yet in many respects comparable to every other human body.
The Great Physician
Our bodies can repair and defend themselves. They regenerate new cells to replace old ones. . . . Little wonder our Creator is also known as the Great Physician (see Matthew 9:12)—able to heal the sick (see 3 Nephi 9:13; D&C 35:9; 42:48–51), restore sight to the blind (see John 9:1–11), unstop ears of the deaf (see Isaiah 35:5; 3 Nephi 26:15), and raise the dead (see Matthew 9:23–26; John 11:5–45).
Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word hayah, which means “to be” or “to exist.” A form of the word hayah in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament was translated into English as “I AM” (Exodus 3:14). Remarkably, I AM was used by Jehovah as a name for Himself (for example, see D&C 29:1; 38:1; 39:1).
The word advocate comes from Latin roots meaning a “voice for,” or “one who pleads for another.” Other related terms are used in scripture, such as intercessor or mediator (see also 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 Nephi 2:28; D&C 76:69). . . . Comprehending Him as our advocate-intercessor-mediator with the Father gives us assurance of His unequaled understanding, justice, and mercy (see Alma 7:12).
The Hebrew name that Isaiah announced—Immanuel—literally means “with us [is] God!”
Immanuel could be such only at the will of His Father.
Son of God
In more than a dozen verses of scripture, the solemn word of God the Father bears testimony that Jesus was truly His Beloved Son. That solemn testimony was often coupled with God’s pleading for mankind to hear and obey the voice of His revered Son (see Matthew 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35; 2 Peter 1:17; 2 Nephi 31:11; 3 Nephi 11:7; 21:20; D&C 93:15; Moses 4:2; JS–H 1:17).
Some of you may wonder why the Son is occasionally referred to as “the Father.” The designation used for any man can vary. Every man here is a son but may also be called “father,” “brother,” “uncle,” or “grandfather,” depending on conversational circumstance. . . . Because Jesus was our Creator, He is known in scripture as “the Father of all things” (Mosiah 7:27; see also Mosiah 15:3; 16:15; Helaman 14:12; Ether 3:14). But please remember, “Jesus Christ is not the Father of the spirits who have taken or yet shall take bodies upon this earth, for He is one of them. He is The Son, as they are sons and daughters of Elohim.”
Jesus was the Anointed One. The Hebrew word for anointed is Messiah, and the Greek translation is Christ. Thus, “Jesus is spoken of as the Christ and the Messiah, which means He is the one anointed of the Father to be His personal representative in all things pertaining to the salvation of mankind” (Bible Dictionary, s.v. “Anointed One,” p. 609). Scriptures declare that Christ is the only name under heaven whereby salvation comes (see 2 Nephi 25:20).
Savior and Redeemer
Jesus was born to be Savior and Redeemer of all mankind (see Isaiah 49:26; 1 Nephi 10:5). He was the Lamb of God (see 1 Nephi 10:10), who offered Himself without spot or blemish (see 1 Peter 1:19) as a sacrifice for the sins of the world (see John 1:29).
Closely allied to the Lord’s status as Savior and Redeemer is His responsibility as Judge. . . . Your personal encounter at judgment will be aided by your own “bright recollection” (Alma 11:43) and “perfect remembrance” (Alma 5:18) of your deeds, as well as by the desires of your heart (see D&C 137:9).
In His sermon on the mount, Jesus challenged His followers with this admonition:
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. [Matthew 5:48]
Sinless and flawless as Jesus was in mortality, we should remember that He viewed His own state of physical perfection as being yet in the future (see Luke 13:32). Even He had to endure to the end. Can you and I be expected to do any less?
I have chosen to speak last of the Lord’s ultimate responsibility, which lies yet in the future. That will be His masterful status as the Millennial Messiah. When that day comes, the physical face of the earth will have been changed:
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain. [Isaiah 40:4]
Then Jesus will return to the earth. His second coming will be no secret. It will be broadly known.