Is “Christ” the Surname of Jesus?
Having examined how the name of Jesus is different from other names, now let’s explore the surname or last name of Jesus and whether or not he had one.
If you ask many Bible-readers: “What is the surname of Jesus”? The answers may surprise you. The word “Christ” alone is not a name. It’s not specific enough to be a name. It’s a title. But is it the surname of Jesus?
Providing a last name is not a tradition among Hebrews. Loosely, the father’s first name was the child’s surname.
Examples of Surname
For example, Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. In tracing their lineage and in identifying them separately from other persons with identical names we see “sons of Noah” in Scripture.
Therefore, we have Shem the son of Noah; Ham the son of Noah; and Japheth the son of Noah as their names, (Genesis 10:32).
Surname of Jesus – “the Son of David”?
Similarly, in identifying the genealogy of Jesus to show that he is the son of David, Matthew traced Joseph’s lineage from Abraham to his marriage to Mary. He explores this in the first chapter of his work. He did this to prove that the supposedly physical father of Jesus, Joseph, is the son of David.
Therefore, he starts tracing the lineage of Joseph with: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).
But he ends with “Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ”, (Matthew 1:16).
On the other hand, Doctor Luke, the Beloved Physician, utilized the similar “son of” procedure as Matthew did but in reversed order to demonstrate that Jesus is the “son of God” (Luke 3:23-38).
“And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli” (Luke 3:23).
Jesus Surnamed Simeon
He ended with: “Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God” (Luke 3:38).
In a similar manner, in those days, persons close to you could loosely assign a surname to you.
For example, Jesus surnamed Simeon. “And Simon he surnamed Peter” (Mark 3:16 and Acts 10:5).
Jesus also surnamed the two sons of Zebedee, James, and John as “Boanerges”, which means the “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17).
Who surnamed Judas as “Iscariot”? (Luke 22:3).
However, Jesus wasn’t the only person to surname others, for the apostles did it too.
“Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus” (Acts 4:36).
Likely Reason for the Surname of Jesus
One of the main reasons for a surname is identification. When more than one persons have identical first names there must be a clear manner to reference each person or else confusion will arise. This is true especially if they are together.
For example, Jesus chose twelve apostles (leaders). Among them were people with identical first names. Jesus surnamed Simeon as Peter because there was another Simon on his team. And he also had “Simon the Canaanite” (Matthew 10:4).
Similarly, there was more than one James and more than one Matthew. There was “Matthew the publican” and “James the son of Alphaeus” (Matthew 10:3).
This Method Provides a Reason for the Surname of Jesus
However, there is another reason people use a surname. It utilizes a name with a description. It captures a peculiar quality of a person. We see this with the sons of Zebedee, Judas, and Joses above.
For this reason, Jesus is Christ: the Anointed One. Hence: Jesus Christ. Therefore, when the Bible speaks of the Messiah (Messias) it means the Christ, (Daniel 9:25-6 and John 1:41; 4:25).
So, the name is Jesus but when combined with Christ it functions as a surname or a qualifying name which means anointed of God. Jesus Christ = Saviour Anointed of God. Or God’s anointed.
This name combination is unique to Jesus. And it identifies him as such.
Finally, another method to surname people then existed.
This method appends “of” and the name of the place where the person was born or lived to the person’s first name.
What is a Surname – Leroy of Highgate?
For example, Jesus of Galilee, (Matthew 26:69) and Jesus of Nazareth, (Matthew 26:71 and Mark 1:24) and Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:11).
So, if I were the person in question my name would be Leroy of Highgate. Or Leroy the son of Lloyd.
If the father’s name was unknown the former method is helpful. Thankfully I know mine.
Therefore, Jesus is indeed a name. His full name is Jesus Christ. Jesus means savior and Christ means the Anointed of God. So, Christ is his last name or surname. His complete name–Jesus Christ–speaks of his purpose and origin.
Many False Christs – Imposters of Christ
Many men will come on this earth falsely using the name “Christ” to deceive the simple. But if you are knowledgeable of the Word of God you will be expecting them. And you will know how to identify them too, (Matthew 24:5; 24).
Jesus says they will come in his “name”. He admits that Christ is indeed his last name.
He is the Saviour of humanity. God anoints him to achieve His purpose. Hence, the Christ (Anointed) of God, (Luke 9:20; Acts 10:38).
Some Wouldn’t Recognize Christ as the Surname of Jesus
It identifies him and only him as the Anointed of God for the purpose of saving humanity from their sins.
So, to conclude, the Hebrews nation didn’t employ a formal surname system at the birth of Jesus. So many of them don’t recognize Christ as the surname of Jesus. Some don’t even acknowledge him at all.
Finally, in Scriptures a man is loosely referenced as the son of his father. This is the method the Bible utilizes to trace a person’s genealogy through time.
What are your thoughts on this? Share them with us in the comments below.