Jesus the Lord


Jesus is Lord. This is probably the earliest creed, an Aramaic formula. It is the first Christians' statement of faith and ours, too. The title Lord had various meanings for the Jews. It was a term of courtesy and respect similar to Sir. This is the way it is used sometimes in the Gospels when people address Jesus as Lord. However, Lord (Kyrios) also was used to translate the Hebrew name of God, Yahweh. This was the case in the Greek version of the Bible, the Septuagint. To call Jesus Lord then could also mean to equate him with God—something that the Jewish people would not do easily because of their firm belief in the one God.

After Jesus rose from the dead, Christians came to regard him as the Lord who was God. The apostle Thomas beheld the risen Jesus and declared, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Paul, who encountered the risen Christ, sprinkled his letters with references to Jesus the Lord. In Romans 14:9 he explained that Jesus died and came to life “that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.” He wrote that God planned that “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:11). It is the God who enables us to recognize Jesus as Lord: “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3).

So firm were the first Christians in believing Jesus was Lord that when the Roman emperors demanded that once a year everyone should acclaim them as Lord, the Christians refused to do it. Jesus was their one Lord. Many times this conviction led to their deaths. To this day people still give their lives for faith in Jesus the Lord.

Today we speak of Jesus using the familiar, loving title “Our Lord.” It has become a synonym for his name. Our prayers to the Father are offered through Christ our Lord. And at the Lord's table, we often are told, “The Lord be with you.”

Lord means one who has authority over others, a master who deserves respect. Scripture describes Jesus as riding a white horse with the words “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16) written on its thigh. Jesus is Lord over the universe. The Gospels show his power over nature, sickness, sin, and death. Because Jesus won us for God by his cross and resurrection, we belong to him. All of redeemed creation is his. Jesus is Lord of history. We divide our time into B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (anno Domini, “year of the Lord”).

We look forward to the day when the Lord will return in glory and triumph as judge and claim us. Then we will be one with him in his kingdom. With hearts filled with this hope, we pray the final words of the Bible: “Maranatha,” that is, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)

† My Lord and my God! †