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
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
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
“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."