Names of Jesus Week Fifteen, Day One
Christianity's earliest confession of faith consisted of three short but incredibly powerful words: Jesus is Lord! The early Christians believed that the Father had placed Jesus, by virtue of his death and resurrection, at the apex of time and eternity — higher than any power or person in the universe. It is no wonder that Paul was "convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38 - 39). Both those who love him and those who oppose him will one day call Jesus "Lord."
In the end, even the devil will be forced to acknowledge him. As you bow your head in prayer before the sovereign Lord, remember that you are placing your life — the worst of your disappointments, the most protracted of your struggles, the wildest of your dreams — squarely in his hands. Knowing Jesus as Lord will lead you to a deeper experience of his presence and his power.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11
His Name Revealed
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5 - 11
Lord, you emptied yourself so that I could be filled. You made yourself nothing so that I could be something. You descended to the lowest place so that I could be raised to the highest. Come and take all of me, leaving no part of me beyond your care, bereft of your grace, or remote from your purifying ower. Spread the story of your mercy through the simple witness of my obedience, my Lord and my God. Amen.
Understanding the Name
The Greek word Kyrios (KU-ree-os) is used in the New Testament to refer to an owner, emperor, king, father, husband, or master. It can also translate three Hebrew names and titles of God: Yahweh, Adonai, and Elohim. When people addressed Jesus as Kyrios or "Lord" in the Gospels, they were often simply showing respect to him as a rabbi or teacher, addressing him as "sir" rather than acknowledging him as God. But after his death and resurrection, the title "Lord" began to be widely used by believers.
Remember the apostle Thomas, who at first doubted accounts of Christ's resurrection? When Jesus appeared to him after his death, Thomas instinctively responded with a confession of faith, saying: "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). Over time, the title "Lord" began to take on the characteristics of a name. As such, it clearly identifies Jesus with Yahweh, the covenant name of God in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Of the 717 passages in which kyrios occurs in the New Testament, the majority are found in Luke's Gospel, the Acts of the Apostles, and Paul's writings.
Studying the Name
- How does God's idea of greatness differ from the usual definition?
- What do you think it means that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord?
- How have you experienced Jesus being Lord in your life?
For more from Ann Spangler, visit her blogspot on Christianity.com. Be sure to check out Ann's newest book, Praying the Attributes of God: A Daily Guide to Experiencing His Greatness.