3 The triune God

107 What does the name “Jesus” mean?

The name “Jesus” means “The Lord saves”.

When the angel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus, He also declared the name of the Child. He said to Mary: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus” (Luke 1: 31). Joseph was likewise told what the Child was to be called: “[...] and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1: 21).


Thus it is already clear from His name that Jesus is the promised Deliverer and Redeemer.

108 How can we recognise that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer?


In His deeds, Jesus Christ revealed Himself as the Redeemer (= Saviour) sent by God: “The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11: 5). That Jesus Christ is the Redeemer is clear especially in the fact that He proclaimed the will of God and gave His life for the redemption of mankind, that is, for their liberation from sin and guilt.

109 Is redemption only possible through Jesus Christ?


Yes. Redemption is only possible through Jesus Christ. Only in Him is salvation accessible for mankind.

“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: 12

110 What is meant by the term 'majestic titles' of Jesus?


‘Majestic titles’ are names and designations for the Son of God which are used in Holy Scripture to describe various characteristics of His unique person.

The word ‘majestic’ is used to describe a person descended from nobility who has an especially elevated position, for example a king or an emperor.

111 What is meant by the majestic title of “Christ”?


“Christ” originally comes from the Greek language (Christos) and means “Anointed One” in translation.

In Old Testament times, kings were anointed with oil (cf. Psalm 20: 6). This act signified consecration to a holy service. Jesus is described as the “Anointed One” because He is Lord over all, because He reconciles mankind with God, and because He proclaims the will of God.

The majestic title “Christ” is so closely associated with Jesus that it has become a proper name: Jesus Christ.

112 What does the majestic title “Messiah” mean?


The word “Messiah” comes from Hebrew and also means “Anointed One” in translation. That Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ awaited by Israel is stated expressly in the New Testament.

113 What does the majestic title “Lord” signify?


In the Old Testament, the designation “Lord” is most often used in reference to God. In the New Testament, this majestic title is also applied to Jesus Christ. The designation “Lord” thus identifies the divine authority of Jesus Christ. It therefore far transcends any other form of respectful address. When Jesus is called “the Lord” it is also intended to express that Jesus is God.

114 What does the majestic title “Son of Man” mean?


When the term “Son of Man” is used as a majestic title, it is not referring to the son of a man, but rather a heavenly being that judges and rules over mankind.

At the time of Jesus, devout Jews were expecting the “Son of Man” who would assume rule over the world from God. According to John 3: 13, Jesus also identifies Himself as the Son of Man who came down from heaven. As such He has power to forgive sins and save (cf. Matthew 9: 6).

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19: 10 

115 Are there any other majestic titles of Jesus?


Yes. Holy Scripture mentions other such majestic titles of Jesus: “Immanuel”, “Servant of God”, and “Son of David”.


The Hebrew name Immanuel means “God with us”. Jesus Christ bears the majestic title Immanuel because God is manifest among mankind in Him to offer them help.

The designation “Servant of God” is used in Holy Scripture for outstanding persons who stand in the service of God. When Jesus is designated as the “Servant of God”, this is a reference to His service and suffering for mankind.


In the New Testament, “Son of David” is a designation for Jesus Christ. Already at the beginning of the gospel of Matthew we read: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1: 1). This means that the promises given to David are fulfilled in Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Samuel 7; Acts 13: 32-37).

116 In what way did Jesus Christ fulfil His divine commission?


Jesus Christ acted in the capacity of King, Priest, and Prophet.

When one thinks about a king, one thinks of ruling and governing. In the time of the Old Testament the function of a priest was to mediate reconciliation between mankind and God. A prophet proclaims the divine will and foretells coming events. Jesus Christ performed all of this in perfect fashion.

117 What does it mean when we refer to “Jesus Christ—the King”?


At His entry into Jerusalem, Jesus identified Himself as the King of peace and righteousness. Even before Pilate, a representative of the worldly power of Rome, Jesus professed that He was King and a witness of the truth.

However, Jesus’ kingship was not rooted in any earthly regency and was not manifest in outward power. The authority with which He acted and the power with which He performed miracles demonstrate that He is King.

The royal dignity of Jesus Christ is also emphasised in Revelation, where He is described as “the ruler over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1: 5).

“Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18: 37

Significant kings in the history of the people of Israel:

  • King Saul
  • King David
  • King Solomon
  • King Hezekiah

118 What does it mean when we refer to “Jesus Christ—the Priest”?


The most important task of the priests in the time of the Old Testament was to bring sacrifices to God in order to thereby find grace before God. Jesus Christ is a Priest who stands above all others as He is the true High Priest. He sacrificed His sinless life so that human beings could be saved from spiritual death and attain eternal life.

In Old Testament times, high priests had the function of bringing the sins of the people to God. For this purpose they would enter the holiest space of the temple (the “Most Holy Place”) once each year—namely on the Day of Atonement—and intercede for the people. Unlike the high priests of the old covenant, Jesus Christ had no need to be reconciled with God. Rather He Himself is the Reconciler who forgives sins.


Jesus’ sacrificial death: see Questions 98→ et seq., 177→ et seq.

Significant priests in the Old Testament:

  • Melchizedek
  • Aaron
  • Eli
  • Zadok

119 What does it mean when we refer to “Jesus Christ—the Prophet”?


God promised Moses: “I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him” (Deuteronomy 18: 18). This Prophet is a reference to Jesus Christ.

As Prophet, Jesus Christ proclaimed the will of God. He shows the way to life and reveals future events. In His farewell discourses He promises the Holy Spirit. In the book of Revelation He unveils the course of salvation history right up to the new creation.

The statements He makes are eternally valid: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Mark 13: 31).

“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; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” Matthew 24: 21-22

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21: 25-28

Significant prophets in the history of the people of Israel:

  • Moses
  • Samuel
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Jeremiah
  • Isaiah
  • John the Baptist

120 Where do we read of the person and activity of Jesus Christ?


The four gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament give an account of the life and activity of Jesus Christ. The intention of the evangelists (authors of the gospels) was not to write a biography of Jesus, however. Rather, they profess the belief that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah.

Messiah: see Question 112→

121 How did the Son of God enter into His human existence?


The Son of God was born as a human being of the virgin Mary in Bethlehem. His birth is described in the gospels according to Matthew and Luke. Jesus was born at the time when Herod ruled Judea as king and when Augustus was Caesar in Rome.

Jesus did indeed live. He is thus a personage of world history and not merely some figure from the world of poetry or legend.

122 What events preceded the birth of Jesus?


The angel Gabriel brought the virgin Mary the message: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1: 31-33).

The angel also explained to Mary that she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1: 35).

123 Who were Jesus’ parents?


Mary was the biological mother of Jesus. Joseph adopted Jesus as a son. It is for this reason that Joseph is also mentioned in Jesus’ family tree.

“Now Jesus [...] being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli …” Luke 3: 23

124 What do we know about the birth of Jesus?


Caesar Augustus had ordered a census to be taken. For this, each person had to make his way back to “his own” city, in other words, the hometown of his family. For this reason Joseph, who was a descendant of David, went with Mary to the “city of David”, namely Bethlehem. There they were unable to find lodging. So it was that Mary must have given birth to her Son in a stable, because she placed Him in a manger: “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2: 7).

From these events it is clear that God became human in very poor conditions.

125 What occurred at the same time as the birth of Jesus?


Angels appeared and proclaimed the glad tidings to shepherds who were watching their flocks in a field near Bethlehem: “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2: 11; cf. also Micah 5: 2).

The gospel of Matthew relates that there was also a star which announced the birth of Jesus. Wise men (magi) from “the East” (the orient) had followed the star and come to Jerusalem in order to worship the “new born King”: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him” (Matthew 2: 2). They were sent by King Herod to Bethlehem: “And behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was” (Matthew 2: 9).

These events refer to the uniqueness of the birth of the Son of God.

Scholars from the Orient who occupied themselves with interpreting stars and dreams were described as ‘Magi’.

126 What occurred after the birth of Jesus?


Since King Herod believed a king who would one day topple him from the throne had been born in Bethlehem, he sought to kill the Child. He had all children in Bethlehem aged two and under killed (cf. Matthew 2: 16-18).

127 How did God protect the Child Jesus?


Through a dream, God told Joseph, Mary’s husband, to flee to Egypt with her and the Child (cf. Matthew 2: 13- 14). After King Herod died, they moved back to Nazareth in Galilee.

128 What is known about Jesus’ childhood?


Luke 2: 52 states that Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men. In Luke 2: 41-49 we read that the twelve-year-old Jesus had conversations with the teachers in Jerusalem, who were “astonished at His understanding and answers”.

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.” Luke 2: 52

129 What preceded Jesus’ teaching activity?


Jesus allowed Himself to be baptised by John the Baptist in the Jordan. Immediately following His baptism by John, the Holy Spirit descended visibly upon Jesus. In a voice from heaven, God, the Father, then testified: “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3: 22). Through this event it was announced to the world that Jesus is the Son of God.

130 Why did Jesus allow Himself to be baptised by John?


Jesus was without sin. Nevertheless, He allowed Himself to be baptised unto repentance by John the Baptist in the Jordan. This act of baptism—which was an expression of repentance—makes it clear that He abased Himself and subjected Himself to the same act that must be performed upon all sinners.

“But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.’” Matthew 3: 15

131 What transpired after the baptism of Jesus?


Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit “to be tempted by the Devil” (Matthew 4: 1). Jesus stayed there for 40 days and was tempted several times by the Devil. Jesus resisted the temptations and rejected the Devil. Afterward, angels came and ministered to Jesus (cf. Matthew 4: 11).

132 What is the significance of Jesus’ temptations?


By resisting these temptations, Jesus already revealed Himself as victor over the Devil before even beginning His public activity.

The first man, Adam, had not resisted temptation. Adam became a sinner, and with him all human beings. In contrast to this, Jesus remained without sin. Thereby He created the conditions required for all sinners to find their way back to God.


Original sin: see Question 482→

133 At what age did Jesus begin to teach?


Jesus began to teach in Galilee at approximately 30 years of age (cf. Luke 3: 23).