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Jesus is Lord

Jesus is Lord

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Published by: pcastellina on Oct 06, 2008
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 Jesus is Lord, 1
 Jesus is Lord
In the New Testament Jesus of Nazareth is pro-claimed Lord. "Jesus is Lord" is
the funda-mental Christian confession of faith
.The confession "Jesus is Lord"
at once definesboth his person and his relationship to theChristian believer
. This appellation was sowidely used among early Christians that it be-came the instantly recognized and universallyacknowledged description of Jesus in everygeographical location where Christianityspread. The confession "Jesus is Lord" occupiesa prominent place in the churches of the NewTestament era, and indeed was probably
the prevailing confession of faith within first-century Christianity
.
The heart
of the early Christian confession is the Lordship of Christ.
The Word Lord in English
 
In the English language, a Lord is
a per-son who has righteously power andauthority.
 It implies exercising power responsibly.Lordship, in fact, must include power toexercise control as well as possession of power within the boundaries of a well-defined system such as law, according to justice. A despot (a person who wieldspower oppressively, a tyrant) is only acaricature of the legal term “Lord” or “ruler.” 
The etymology
of the English word
lord 
goes back to Old English hlaf-weard
 
(loaf-guardian) – reflecting the Germanic tribalcustom of a superior providing food for hisfollowers
.In feudalism, a Lord
(in Italian
signore
,in French
seigneur 
)
 
has aristocratic rankand has control over a portion of land andthe produce and labour of the serfs livingthereon. The serf would swear the oath of fealty to the Lord, or "keeper of theloaves". Such lords normally inherit theirposition and expect allegiance similar tothat owed to a monarch. The word "Lord"can have different meanings depending onthe context of use.Women will usually (but not universally)take the title 'Lady' instead of Lord. It mayalso come from words meaning "loaf-kneader".
Lord in the Bible
The English word "Lord", in the HebrewBible, usually translates
adon
[
ודא
]. It isused more than 300 times in the Old Tes-tament for a human's rule over anotherperson. This is to be distinguished from
baal
[
לע 
] (lord, husband, master) in thatadon represents a personal relationship of the subjection of one person to another,while baal designates the owner of things,including slaves and women. At times per-sons would address someone of equal so-cial status as “lord” out of respect.In the New Testament the Greek word
ku-rios
[
κύριος
] can designate both one whoexercises rule over persons as well as theowner of goods. It is also used in respect-ful address to a
father
(Matthew 21:29-30) or to a
ruler
(Acts 25:26).In the era of the Roman caesars(emperors), the title
kurios
symbolized theemperor's position as absolute monarch. Itdid not mean necessarily that the emperorwas a god, but such a concept was con-veniently promoted.Christians would respect the political au-thority, but wouldobject its divinecharacter. Theyproclaimed thatonly Jesus was thedivine Lord, andthe Lord of lords.
 
 Jesus is Lord, 2
The Theological Meaningof the Confession
When the early Christians referred to orconfessed Jesus Christ as "Lord". The rootmeaning of the Greek term
kyrios
was"legitimate authority," and this meaningcarried into New Testament usage.
 Jesus Is Divine
 
First, this confession meant that Jesus is di-vine or Jesus is God. The term
kyrios,
ap-plied to Jesus in the New Testament, wasthe word used in the Septuagint (the Greektranslation of the Old Testament) to repre-sent the Hebrew name of God, YHWH or Je-hovah. It is striking that this term is usedwithout hesitation or qualification in the NewTestament to refer to Jesus as well as toGod. For example, the angelic announce-ment of Jesus' birth refers to him as "Christthe Lord" (Luke 2:14), and Paul can applyOld Testament passages which speak of Godto Jesus (e.g., Rom. 10:13). The ascriptionof Lordship to Jesus
implies acknowledg-ment of his essential deity
.
 Jesus Is Exalted Savior 
 
Second, confession of Jesus' Lordship meantacknowledging him as exalted Saviour. TheNew Testament uses the title "Lord" to referto a new and distinctive phase of Jesus' min-istry, one marked by exaltation (beginningwith his resurrection) and entry into the ex-ercise of kingly prerogatives in contrast tohis earlier (pre-resurrection) state of hu-miliation. A crucial passage here is Acts2:36. In this first public proclamation of thegospel following Jesus' ascension, the Apos-tle Peter drew attention to Jesus' death, res-urrection, and exaltation to the right hand of God (Acts 2:22-35), and then declared that"God has made Him both Lord and Christ"(v. 36). Jesus entered a new phase of hismessianic ministry, a new function of his to-tal messianic mission.
In his exaltation Je-sus becomes the Messiah in a newsense
: he has begun his messianic reign asthe Davidic king. It refers to the installationof the God-man Jesus in the position of di-vinely-exalted Redeemer and his entranceinto the exercise of such authority as thatposition entails (such as bestowing the HolySpirit, v. 33). Lordship here is an ascriptionof sovereignty in vivid contrast to the cruci-
“Let each of you look not only to his owninterests, but also to the interests of others.Have this mind among yourselves, which isyours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was inthe form of God, did not count equality withGod a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, beingborn in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by be-coming obedient to the point of death, evendeath on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the namethat is above every name, so that at the na-me of Jesus every knee should bow, in hea-ven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ isLord, to the glory of God the Father.Therefore, my beloved, as you have alwaysobeyed, so now, not only as in my presencebut much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure
.
(Philippians 2:4-13).
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signsthat God did through him in your midst, asyou yourselves know-- this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and fore-knowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, becauseit was not possible for him to be held by it (…) Brothers, I may say to you with confi-dence about the patriarch David that heboth died and was buried, and his tomb iswith us to this day. Being therefore a pro- phet, and knowing that God had sworn withan oath to him that he would set one of hisdescendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ,that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has pou-red out this that you yourselves are seeingand hearing. For David did not ascend intothe heavens, but he himself says, "'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.' Let all the house of Israel therefore know for cer-tain that 
God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you cruci-fied." 
(Acts 2:22-36)
 
 Jesus is Lord, 3
fied Jesus. Certainly Peter's call for repen-tance (v. 38) demanded of his Jewish hear-ers no less than an acknowledgment that theCrucified One had now been raised from thedead and exalted to God's right hand.Other passages which similarly express orimply a contrast between Jesus' exaltedstate and his previous condition of humilia-tion include Romans 1:4, which declares"Jesus Christ our Lord" to be appointed "Sonof God in power" through his resurrectionfrom the dead, and Matthew 28:18, whereJesus claims for himself "all authority inheaven and on earth" in his resurrectedstate.
 Jesus Is Supreme Authority 
 
Matthew 28:18, with its claim of universalauthority for Jesus, leads to a third aspect of the confession "Jesus is Lord." It involvesthe recognition that Jesus is the supremeauthority in the universe, under God the Fa-ther. An important passage in this regard isthe much-discussed Philippians 2:9-11. HerePaul draws a sharp contrast between Jesus'state of humiliation and death (Phil. 2:6-8)and the subsequent state of exaltation intowhich he entered (vv. 9-11). After his hu-miliation God "highly exalted" Jesus and"bestowed on Him the name which is aboveevery name," that at his name "every kneeshould bow" and "every tongue should con-fess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." A persuasive case can bemade that the name which the Father be-stowed on Jesus at his exaltation is the title"Lord," the name contained in the universalconfession of verse 11 ("Jesus Christ isLord"). This confession will eventually be of-fered by every personal being in the uni-verse, which suggests that for some it willnot be a confession arising from faith but anacknowledgment compelled by undeniablefact: Jesus has been made absolute sover-eign of the universe, God's mediatorial agentin exercising his own divine rule. That con-fession which believers now make by the aidof the Holy Spirit, "Jesus is Lord" (cf. I Cor.12:3), shall one day be on the lips of all,even those who now reject his Lordship.
 Jesus Is My Rightful Sovereign
 
Fourth, the confession of the Lordship of Je-sus includes
the willing acknowledgmentthat Jesus Christ is the rightful sover-eign of the Christian believer
. The con-fession moves beyond the recognition of ob- jective facts to the subjective application of those facts. In the very act of making thisconfession--if it expresses a genuine exer-cise of faith--the Christian assumes hisrightful place before him who is the divineand exalted Saviour and sovereign of theuniverse. Since the concept of Lordship sig-nifies legitimate authority, then
acceptingJesus as Lord means making him theauthority by which we conduct ourlives.
 This is the acknowledgment
in principle
of the Lord Jesus' rightful authority and sover-eignty over the Christian believer. The work-ing out of the implications of Jesus' Lordship
in practice
will require the lifetime processknown as sanctification in order to be ac-complished, and this in no way serves as theground of the believer's justification beforeGod.
The confession of Jesus' Lordshipis simply the equivalent of repentance
:it constitutes the giving up or relinquishingof one's rebellion against God and the as-sumption of one's rightful place before himwho is Creator and Ruler of the universe.The establishment of Jesus' Lordship overbelievers seems to have been one of thepurposes of God in the death and resurrec-tion of Christ, according to Paul's statementin Romans 14:9. Paul there declares,
"For tothis end Christ died and lived again, that Hemight be Lord both of the dead and of theliving." 
Paul's statement in this contextshould be understood as applying to Chris-tian believers, and that the Lordship towhich Paul refers was not Christ's inherentLordship of creatorhood but the acquiredsovereignty of redemption. It is a sover-eignty which believers are bound to recog-nize and honour, for, as verse eight de-clares,
"whether we live or die, we are theLord's." 
The Significance of the Confes-sion for the Church
If the confession "Jesus is Lord" bore suchfull and weighty content within the contextof primitive Christianity, then the questionnext arises,
what was the practical sig-nificance of this confession for the lifeof the church?
What place did it occupyin the lives of early Christian believers and

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