"The lord jesus christ"
Reflecting on the Name and Titles of God in the Old Testament is an instructive and highly exhortational exercise. Recently, I have been meditating, albeit superficially, on the composite form of the name for our Master (as per our title) as found in the New Testament. Hopefully these few ideas may be a ‘taster’ for our readers to investigate in more depth. Let us commence with looking at the meaning of “Lord”, “Jesus” and “Christ”.
Dr Vine in his “Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words” states that in the Greek, the noun is “kurios”; properly an adjective, signifying in the New Testament, “Lord”, “Master”, “owner”, “Sir” – a title of wide significance. There are other Greek words translated “lord” regarding our Master, but our thoughts in this article are revolving around the above composite title, and this Greek word for “Lord” is consistently used.
Perhaps the most well-known use of the word kurios is found in John chapter 13, when the Master having washed the disciples’ feet said “Ye call me Master and Lord [kurios] and ye say well: for so I am. If I then the Lord [kurios] and the Master have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, Verily I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his Lord [kurios] neither is he that is sent greater than he that sent him” (Jno. 13:13-16 RV)
So we have before us the respect that is due to Christ. He is indeed THE Lord, and he had sent forth his disciples as HIS ambassadors in preaching the Gospel. In this incident, the greatness of his being THE KURIOS is stressed (see verse 3), and his humility in serving the disciples (verses 4-5). This combination of greatness and humility is seen after the resurrection and ascention in his being our High Priest. The only man to have ascended to the presence of Yahweh, and yet being the sympathetic and understanding High Priest for us (Heb. 2:v 17-18; 4:14-16 etc). He is our Lord, Master, and Mediator. His Lordship, however, was dependant upon him trusting, reflecting, and being a perfect manifestation of His Father. So it is to God that Christ’s Lordship is derived. Thus Paul writes: “and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord [kurios] to the glory of the Father” (Phil. 2:11). This thought brings us to consider the Name of our Master:
“but while he [Joseph] thought on these things, behold, the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Mat. 1:20-21)
The name “Jesus” is a transliteration of the Hebrew name “Joshua” meaning “Yahweh is salvation”. So in Jesus, God is being revealed. As Paul writes: “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). As is expressed in John chapter 1: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father he hath declared him”. For the word “declared”, the Amplified Bible gives one of it’s meanings by the phrase “brought him out where he can be seen”. In other words, “The Word became Flesh” (Jno. 1:14). In our sin stricken nature, he revealed Yahweh—“he who will be salvation” and if we truly serve him, then forgiveness of sins can be extended to us. In the Kingdom, we shall be part of that Yahweh Name to fill the earth with the glory of God. As it is written, “and Yahweh shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Yahweh and his Name One” (Zech. 14:9).
This title signifies “anointed” and relates to the Messiah of Israel, the King promised. The Gospel record through Matthew stresses this role. For example, in chapter 1, and verse 1, he commences Christ’s genealogy with “David” and then “Abraham”. Thus directing our attention to the promises made to David as regards the Master being the “Christ”. Note how often this title “Christ” is used: verses 1, 16, 17 and 18. And the name of David occurs in verses 1, 6, 17, 20 o f this one chapter. The Revised Version in verse 17 reads it is “the Christ” – the one promised in the Old Testament. Addressing Joseph the angel say “thou son of David” (verse 20), showing that Messiah would come of the line of David. As an aside, the consonants D.V.D equal 14, note verse 17!
In the forgoing, I have very briefly looked at the Name and Titles involved in “the Lord Jesus Christ”. When Peter made his inspired speech on the day of Pentecost, it seems to me that the framework of that message was “The Lord Jesus Christ”. Let me demonstrate:
In verses 22-29 of Acts, Peter speaks of Jesus of Nazareth, although demonstrating by miracles that God was with him (v. 22), was rejected by the people and crucified, yet he would be raised from the dead (V. 24) because he had led a perfect life. Peter shows that David understood that Jesus would be raised from the dead (Vs. 25-28), contrasting David himself who was dead to the living resurrected Messiah (V. 29).
However, David having received promises from God knew that “the Christ” (verse 30 RV) would sit on his throne in Jerusalem. Thus, the Master would be raised from the dead, and ascend to heaven (V. 31). The miracle of the Gift of Tongues demonstrated that “Christ” was in heaven (V. 33). Peter continues: “For David is not ascended into the heavens, but he saith himself: the Lord said unto my Lord [kurios] Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.” Here quoting from Psalm 110:1. Please note the summary by Peter: “… therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord [kurios] and Christ” (V. 36).
Think for a moment about the Lord Jesus Christ. It contains saving Truth. Take away the name, or one of the titles, and we are astray from the Gospel. By reflecting and using this form of address, one is reminded of the full redemptive Gospel in him.
It is very instructive to discover that in the majority of the Epistles, the introductory greeting contains this form of address. To take a few examples:
“To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints, Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:7. How can we have Divine favour (Grace) and oneness with God (Peace) if we do not believe in and apply the lessons associated with The Lord Jesus Christ?).
This wording is also found in 1 Corinthians, chapter 3, verse 3 (please look at verses 9-10 and see how Paul uses the title Lord (Kurios) to drive home the evil division in the ecclesia.
Again, the same wording is used in 2Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; Phil. 1:2; Col. 1:2; 1st and 2nd Thes, and in Titus and Philemon. However, when we come to 1 Timothy chapter 1 and verse 2, it is “Jesus Christ our Lord [kurios]”. In this Epistle, we see the Apostle Paul advising Timothy how to conduct himself in the ecclesia, particularly refuting false teaching and to nourish the brethren and sisters in the spiritually healthy instruction of the true Gospel. He was responsible to his Lord [kurios] for what he did. Paul writes in chapter 1 and verse 12: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord [kurios] who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful (Greek: trustworthy), putting me into the Ministry. In 2 Timothy chapter one, verse 2, we have: “Grace, Mercy and Peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul is pleading with Timothy to rekindle the spirit gifts in the service of God. He is reminding him of whom he serves—“Christ Jesus our Lord”, our owner, and our Master. So he writes in chapter 1, verse 8: “be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord [kurios]nor of me his prisoner, but be thou a partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel according to the Power of God”. Although we do not have spirit gifts like those of Paul and Timothy, yet it is essential for us not to be ashamed of the Gospel and to use whatever abilities we have in the service of our Lord (kurios).
For further meditation, note how Paul stresses the Master as our “Lord” in Romans chapters 4-9, ending each chapter with the phrase: “Jesus Christ our Lord”. In chapter 14 and verse 17, he speaks of the Kingdom of God not being centred upon food issues, but upon spiritual qualities, and so he uses the appropriate title “Christ” (verse 18) for the Master in the context of the Kingdom. Please see if you can find the topic of our consideration in Luke chapter 2, at the birth and circumcision of our Master.
Finally, in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have
1) Aspects of the past: Jesus
2) A work in the present: Lord
3) A looking to the future: Christ
May we appreciate the salvation wrought by God in Jesus, that to us, he is our High Priest, mediator and Lord, and that by the mercy of our God, we may share “in his throne” in the Kingdom.
It is then appropriate that the Scripture ends with the words:-
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen”.