Monday, May 17, 2021

Jesus as Lord (Philippians 2:5-11)

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

We have seen that Jesus called Himself the Son of Man. The people called Him a prophet. Peter called Him the Messiah. Philippians 2:9–11 tell us the name that God the Father called Him. When Jesus had finished His work, God exalted Him and gave Him the most exalted name of all: “Lord.”

The Greek word for Lord is kurios. It is used three ways in the New Testament. First, it is a polite term of address, equivalent to “sir.” Second, it is used for the master of a slave. Third, it is used for God, covering two different names for God used in the Old Testament: Yahweh and Adonai.

The Jews of the New Testament era had become superstitious about saying the name of God, Yahweh, lest they take it in vain. Biblically speaking, taking God’s name in vain means lifting up God’s name in worship while denying Him in behavior. The Jews had reduced this powerful concept to the mere misuse of the name Yahweh, and thus they would not say it at all. Instead, they said Adonai, which means “Master, Lord.”

As we saw previously when we looked at Hebrews 1, in Psalm 110 we find Yahweh saying to Adonai, “Sit down at My right hand and rule.” In Philippians 2 the Father gives the name Adonai to Jesus. It is not we who make Him Lord; it is the Father who establishes Him as Lord.

We saw last week that Peter confessed Jesus as Messiah at Caesarea Philippi, a center of Roman rule. As the first century came to a close, the Roman Empire began demanding that Christians acknowledge Caesar as lord, and not just as lord in a political sense, but lord in a divine sense. The Christians refused, saying that only Jesus was Lord in a divine and full sense. The Christians honored the Roman government in all ways, but they refused to say “Caesar is Lord.”

First Corinthians 12:3 says no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. Matthew 7:22 says many false teachers will call Jesus Lord, but they will not say it from the heart. This is why every cult that splits off from Christianity seeks to deny the full deity and lordship of Christ.

It seems there comes a time in every land when the government attempts to reign in the supreme sense, challenging even divine authority with their earthly laws. Ask God to help you see the small steps taken in that direction. Determine to bow the knee ultimately to Christ the Lord alone.