Jesus Christ Is Lord

Everything that we believe about Jesus Christ is related to what we believe about God and about His creation. Everything that we believe (about God: about the Father, the Son, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit) is not because we logically or philosophically came to such a conclusion. Rather, we believe what we believe because we Christians know that “God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us” (Psalm 117:27), as we sing at every matins service. He, Himself, has personally revealed Himself to us. He has not only shown us Who He is, but He has also given us all a common personal experience of Himself. This common experience has been the same for Christians everywhere for more than two millennia. The Apostle John gives us a good summary, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:7-11).

The fundamental confession of Christians is this: Jesus Christ is Lord. This confession begins, as we read in the Gospel, when Jesus Himself asks His disciples who they say that He is: “But who do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (Matthew 16:15-16).

JJesus is the Christ. This is the first act of faith which we Christians make about Him. At His birth, the Child of Mary is given the name “Jesus.” In Hebrew, “Jesus” is “Yehoshua,” or “Joshua,” which means “saviour.” (This is also the name of Moses’ successor who crossed the Jordan River and led the chosen people into the promised land.) This was made clear when the angel appeared to Joseph and said, “you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:31). It is this Jesus who is the Christ. “Christ,” in Greek, means the “Anointed.” This translates the Hebrew word “Mashiah,” which also means “Anointed.” This word refers to the Messiah of Israel, who was promised by God to the world through Abraham and his children. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One who was promised.

But who is the Messiah? This is the second question, one also asked by Christ in the Gospels – this time not to His disciples, but to those who were taunting Him and trying to catch Him in his words. “Who is the Messiah?” He asked them, not because they could answer or really wished to know, but in order to silence them and to begin the inauguration of “the hour” for which He had come: the hour of the world’s salvation.

““While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, ‘What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?’ They said to Him, ‘The Son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How then does David in the Spirit call Him “Lord,” saying: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool’”? If David then calls Him “Lord,” how is He his Son?’ And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore” (Matthew 22:41-46).

After Jesus’ resurrection, inspired by the same Holy Spirit who inspired David, the apostles and all members of the Church understood the meaning of His words. Jesus is the Christ. And the Christ is the Lord. This is the mystery of Jesus, the Christ – the Messiah, namely that He is the one and only Lord, the Lord God of the Old Covenant.

In the Old Covenant, the Name of God, in Hebrew “YHWH,” was always pronounced “Adonai,” the Lord, by the people of Israel. In the Greek Bible the very Name of God (revealed to Moses) was not even written. Rather, where the Name was written in Hebrew, and where the Jews instead said “Adonai” (the Lord), the Greek Bible simply wrote “Kyrios” – the Lord. Thus, the Son of David (which was another way of saying “the Messiah”), is called “Kyrios” (the Lord).

For the Jews (and indeed for the first Christians) the term “Lord” was proper to God alone: “The Lord is God, and has revealed Himself to us.” This Lord and God is God who revealed Himself to Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, and to others. This Lord and God is Jesus, the Messiah, for although Jesus claims that “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28), He claims as well: “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).

Believing in “One Lord Jesus Christ” is the prime confession of faith for which the first Christians were willing to die; for it is the confession which claims the identity of Jesus with the Most High God. It is the same prime confession of faith for which Christians have been ready and willing to die, and have done so in their multitudes for the last two millennia. They continue to do so today.