DEAR REV. GRAHAM: I decided to read through one of the Gospels the other day, and it seemed to me that during His lifetime Jesus was just called "Jesus" by everyone. Is it wrong to refer to Him as "Christ"? — D.J.H.
Dear D.J.H.: No, it's not wrong to refer to Jesus as "Christ" — because He was called that by those who truly believed in Him. When Jesus asked His disciples if they knew who He was, Peter replied, "You are the Christ" (Mark 8:29). The early Christians frequently used "Jesus Christ" or "Lord Jesus Christ" to identify Him.
The name "Christ" means "Messiah" or "The Anointed One" — the name given in the Old Testament to the One whom God would send into the world to save us from our sins. For centuries, God's people had looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, and finally on that first Christmas over 2000 years ago their prayers were answered (which is what we'll be celebrating in just a couple of months). No wonder the angel declared to the shepherds, "Today ... a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).
Tragically, many in Jesus' time failed to recognize Him or accept Him as the Messiah, sent by God to save them. But others did — and their lives were changed as a result. The same is true today; some still turn their backs on Christ, while others welcome Him and discover the joy of His forgiveness and new life.
What about you? God loves you; the proof is that Jesus Christ was sent from heaven to give His life for you. God's promise is still true: "To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).