Prince Charles has many titles. He is the Heir Apparent to the Crown, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, Knight of the Garter, Duke of Cornwall, Colonel in Chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales, Duke of Rothesay, Knight of the Thistle, Rear Admiral, Grand Master of the Order of Bath, Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. Titles are attached to people by virtue of rank, office or attainment. In the Bible, Jesus is given far more titles than a royal prince. In fact, there are well over a hundred titles ascribed to Jesus. The whole Bible revolves around Jesus (John 5:39). Seven titles of Jesus emerge from the passages for today and each reveal something distinct about Jesus. They help you to see what it means to put Jesus in the centre of your life.
1. Wisdom of God
Many people today have no idea how to live. They make a mess of their marriages and other relationships. Often, they wreck their own lives and the lives of others. We all need wisdom in order to live well.
Where is wisdom to be found? The New Testament answer is that, ultimately, it is found in Jesus Christ. St Paul writes, ‘Christ… the wisdom of God’ (1 Corinthians 1:24). The ‘wisdom of God’ is one of Jesus’ titles.
Wisdom in the book of Proverbs is personified and female (‘Lady Wisdom’; ‘Madam Insight’, Proverbs 8:1, MSG). She is contrasted with an adulterous woman who lurks at street corners when darkness falls and who speaks in secretive, seductive whispers (7:6ff). Wisdom openly competes against her ‘right in the city square where the traffic is thickest’ (8:2, MSG) and offers herself as a counter attraction – a pure bride rather than a fatal seductress.
This shows us that wisdom is not just about knowledge, but that to be wise is to live well. The first step in living well is to set the right goals and ambitions. Seek wisdom, rather than the sensual pleasures represented by the adulteress.
Wisdom is highly desirable. It, or rather she, is better than silver, gold or jewels: ‘Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her’ (vv.10–11).
If you want true wisdom, it starts with a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is far more valuable than anything the world can offer.
That relationship will have an effect on the way you live out your life. An example of this wisdom is excellence in your speech (vv.6–9) – honest, truthful communication with words that are righteous and true (compare and contrast the words spoken in Numbers 20:3–5, which reveal a lack of trust in God).
Lord Jesus, thank you that true wisdom is found in a relationship with you. You are more precious than rubies and nothing I desire can compare with knowing you. Help me today to act wisely and to speak words of wisdom that bring blessing to others.
Luke 5:33-35, 6:2,5,7-9
The title of the ‘bridegroom’ is used in the Old Testament to refer to God himself, ‘as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you’ (Isaiah 62:5).
Jesus, in the use of this image (Luke 5:34), puts himself in the place of God, not ostentatiously, but almost incidentally. It was, for him, a perfectly natural substitution. Jesus’ assumption of the divine role is all the more impressive.
The image of Jesus as the bridegroom and us as the bride is one of greatest possible intimacy (see Ephesians 5:23). It is also an image which points forward to the ultimate consummation of your relationship with Jesus when he returns. You are called to prepare yourself with the same care and love as a bride on her wedding day, particularly focusing on ‘righteous’ living (see Revelation 19:6–9).
Jesus’ teaching is radically new. It cannot be fitted into the thought-forms or behaviour-patterns of the Pharisees. New wine requires new wine skins (Luke 5:36–39).
Lord, thank you that you call me to an intimate relationship with you and rejoice over me as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. I want to respond with my love and intimate worship.
3. Son of Man
This was Jesus’ favourite way of referring to himself (see, for example, Luke 6:5). This is a messianic title. Daniel 7 speaks of ‘one like a son of man’ (Daniel 7:13) and it is likely that this aspect of Jesus’ understanding of his identity and mission stems from that passage. It is a title that combines authority and power with humility and suffering.
We are reminded both of Jesus’ love for us and his authority over us. Often we can focus on the first without paying enough attention to the second. Submit to Jesus’ authority, obeying his teaching and following where he leads you.
Lord, thank you that you are the representative Son of Man who suffered for me.
Jesus reinterprets the Old Testament. The Pharisees ask, ‘Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?’ (Luke 6:2). Jesus replies by quoting an example in the Old Testament (vv.3–4). He shows from a wider reading of the Old Testament that the Pharisees’ understanding of the Sabbath was far too narrow.
He heals a man on the Sabbath and asks this question, ‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?’ (v.9). In other words, he looks behind the letter of the law to the spirit of the law and shows that as ‘Lord of the Sabbath’ (v.5), he is not bound by the letter of the law.
Jesus is radical in his reinterpretation of the Old Testament and we need to read the Old Testament through this lens. We need to understand it in the light of the fact that Jesus says, ‘These are the very Scriptures that testify about me’ (John 5:39). We see this in our Old Testament passage in three particular ways.
Thank you, Lord, that you are the key that unlocks our understanding of the Old Testament.
Numbers 19:9, 20:11
These passages about the blood of goats and bulls and the ‘ashes of the heifer’ (19:9) foreshadow Jesus’ death in our place on the cross.
The writer of Hebrews draws attention to these sacrifices, but then explains: ‘How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason, Christ is the mediator’ (Hebrews 9:14–15a).
Thank you, Lord, that there is ‘one God and one mediator between God and human beings, Jesus Christ, himself human, who gave himself as a ransom for all’ (1 Timothy 2:5–6).
God tells Moses to bring water out of the rock. Moses strikes the rock twice and water gushes out for everyone to drink (Numbers 20:1–11). ‘Water came out abundantly’ (v.11, AMP).
The apostle Paul also tells us how to interpret the water coming out of the rock. He says, ‘They… drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ’ (1 Corinthians 10:3–4). He is the one who quenches our thirst. Material things alone do not satisfy.
God is so generous to us. Water did not come out in a trickle – it came out abundantly. Jesus came to give you abundant life (John 10:10, RSV). He promises to satisfy your spiritual thirst with ‘rivers of living water’ (John 7:37–38).
Lord, my rock, thank you that you satisfy my spiritual thirst. May I, through the Holy Spirit within me, bring the water of life to others.
7. Great High Priest
Jesus is the ‘great high priest’ (Hebrews 4:14) who lives for ever to intercede for us. The death of Aaron (Numbers 20:28–29) reminds us that one of the weaknesses of the Levitical priesthood was that these priests died.
The writer of Hebrews contrasts these priests like Aaron whose ‘deathprevented them from continuing in office’ with Jesus who ‘lives for ever’ and ‘has a permanent priesthood.
Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them’ (Hebrews 7:23–25).
This reminds us of the certainty that you can have in your faith. You do not have to worry about whether you will be ‘good enough’, you can be totally confident in the salvation that you have in Jesus.
Thank you, Lord, my Great High Priest who lives for ever, that you are able to save me completely. Thank you that you rose from the dead and live to intercede for me. Thank you that you are interceding for me right now.
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The Official Website of The British Monarchy: ‘Style and titles’, Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790. Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org) Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.