Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Greatest Name of All

"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name" (Philippians 2:9).

One of the most frequent titles for Jesus in the New Testament is the title Lord. The word lord (in Greek, kurios) can simply mean “sir,” and in the Gospels, when people call Jesus “lord,” we should understand that they are simply addressing Him as “sir.” For the most part they did not yet understand that He was God Incarnate. After His ascension, however, Jesus was made Lord of the world, and when He is called “Lord” in the Epistles, it is in the fullest sense of that word: King of kings and Lord of lords.

In the great hymn contained in Philippians 2:6–11, St. Paul celebrates Jesus’ ascension to universal Lordship. The hymn begins by saying that Jesus, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,” that it is not a prerogative to be clutched tenaciously. Rather, He “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” This refers to his incarnation in human nature. Not only did Jesus take on human nature, however: “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

What was God’s reaction to this? “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.” That name is Lord. Every human being should prostrate himself or herself, and acquiesce his or her authority before Him.

It is God the Father who has given this title to Jesus. It is God the Father who has enthroned Him as Mediatorial King of the church and the nations. It is God the Father who commands that every knee bow and every tongue confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ His Son. The name that God has given to Jesus is Lord.

The history of the Christian missionary enterprise is founded upon the absolute Lordship of Christ over all men and nations. The missionary movement advances or falters according to the adherence to this doctrine. How committed are you personally, and how committed is your church to the proclamation of Christ locally and globally?