2148 Michelson Dr, Irvine, CA 92612

Jesus Christ

… and In One Lord Jesus Christ…

The fun­da­men­tal con­fes­sion of Chris­tians about their Mas­ter is this: Jesus Christ is Lord. It begins in the gospel when Jesus him­self asks his dis­ci­ples who they think that He is:

But who do you say that I am? Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Liv­ing God” (Matt 16:16).

Jesus is the Christ. This is the first act of faith which men must make about Him. At His birth, the child of Mary is giv­en the name Jesus, which means lit­er­al­ly Sav­iour (in Hebrew Joshua, the name also of Moses’ suc­ces­sor who crossed the Jor­dan Riv­er and led the cho­sen peo­ple into the promised land). “You will call his name Jesus, for he will save his peo­ple from their sins” (Matt 1:21; Luke 1:31). It is this Jesus who is the Christ, which means the Anoint­ed, the Mes­si­ah of Israel. Jesus is the Mes­si­ah, the one promised to the world through Abra­ham and his children.

But who is the Mes­si­ah? This is the sec­ond ques­tion, one also asked by Christ in the gospels-this time not to his dis­ci­ples, but to those who were taunt­ing him and try­ing to catch him in his words. “Who is the Mes­si­ah?” he asked them, not because they could answer or real­ly wished to know, but in order to silence them and to begin the inau­gu­ra­tion of “the hour” for which he had come: the hour of the world’s salvation.

Now while the Phar­isees were gath­ered togeth­er, Jesus asked them a ques­tion say­ing, “What do you think of the Christ (i.e., the Mes­si­ah)? Whose Son is he?

They said to him, “The Son of David.”

He said to them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spir­it, calls him Lord, say­ing The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand till I put thy ene­mies under thy feet” (Ps 110). If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?”

And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did any­one dare to ask him any more ques­tions (Matt 22:41–46).

After Jesus’ res­ur­rec­tion, inspired by the same Holy Spir­it who inspired David, the apos­tles and all mem­bers of the Church under­stood the mean­ing of his words. Jesus is the Christ. And the Christ is the Lord. This is the mys­tery of Jesus Christ the Mes­si­ah, name­ly that He is the One and Only Lord, iden­ti­fied with the God Yah­weh of the Old Testament.

We saw already how Yah­weh was always called Adon­ai, the Lord, by the peo­ple of Israel. In the Greek Bible the very word Yah­weh was not even writ­ten. Instead, where the word Yah­weh was writ­ten in Hebrew, and where the Jews said Adon­ai, the Lord, the Greek Bible sim­ply wrote Kyrios—the Lord. Thus, the Son of David, which was anoth­er way of say­ing the Mes­si­ah, is called Kyrios, the Lord.

For the Jews, and indeed for the first Chris­tians, the term Lord was prop­er to God alone: “God is the Lord and has revealed Him­self unto us” (Ps 11:8). This Lord and God is Yah­weh; and it is Jesus the Mes­si­ah as well. For although Jesus claims that “the Father is greater than I” (Jn 14:28), he claims as well: “I and the Father are one” (Jn 10:30).

Believ­ing in “One Lord Jesus Christ” is the prime con­fes­sion of faith for which the first Chris­tians were will­ing to die. For it is the con­fes­sion which claims the iden­ti­ty of Jesus with the Most High God.