My Lord and My God

My Lord and My God

Introduction 

  • Kiser Kurios—Caesar is Lord. 
    • During the height of the 1st and 2nd century persecution of the church, Christians were dragged before Roman courts and called to make this confession under penalty of death—Kiser Kurios. 
      • Caesar has total and complete preeminence and authority—essentially that he is God. 
      • But they couldn’t. Because they realized to do so would be to betray their true Lord and Savior. 
    • So, one of the most ardent, outspoken confessions of the early church became, “Jesus ho’ Kurios”—Jesus is Lord. 
  • We discover the importance of this confession to the mission and identity of the church in Philippians 2:5-11.  
    • Early Christian hymn/confession 
    • Central to our understanding to, not only the nature of this word “Lord” when used in reference to Jesus, but the nature of Jesus Himself. 
  • Break down the text and then see how it shapes our view of the word Lord. 
  • Philippians 2:5-11

TEXT 

  • It is said that when Leonardo Da Vinci painted one of his famous works, The Last Supper, he had little difficulty with it except for the faces. 
    • He eventually painted the faces in without any trouble except one: the face of Jesus. 
    • He held off, unwilling to try and yet knowing he must. 
    • Finally, in despair he quickly painted it and let it go, “There is no use—I can’t paint him.” 
    • Leonardo knew the frustration, that many of us feel, of trying to capture the majesty to Jesus; of making sure the brushstrokes are there and our own shadows don’t diminish the painting. 
  • Within the text of Philippians 2 we see this picture painted of Jesus Christ—capturing both the majesty and complexity of His person. 
    • So important as the church of Christ to understand the nature and person of Jesus. 
    • Unless we understand what Paul is saying here—at least in some measure—then we cannot fully make the confession, “Jesus is Lord.” 
  • Early church councils debated what exactly the scriptures teach about the person of Christ and this was the conclusion they came to: Jesus is both fully God and fully man—we see this within the text as well.  
    • Fully God 
      • Paul claims that Jesus is “being in the form of God.” 
        • Being: the very essence or nature of a thing; Jesus was essentially and unalterably God (present tense). 
        • The “form of God” reinforces this concept: Jesus was and is God (i.e. equal with God). 
        • This speaks of His pre-incarnate state—yet also shows that although there was a change in his form, there was not a change in his nature. 
      • This aligns with other passages as well (John 1:1-3; Heb. 1:3) and Thomas’ confession, “My Lord and My God” (John 20:28). 
        • So, when we confess Jesus as Lord we aren’t simply saying He was a good man that we think we should follow—we are confessing that He is the creator and sustain of the Universe, the only Lord and God of heaven and earth. 
        • This is witnessed within the Greek usage of the word Lord; in the septuigant the Hebrew name for God “Yahweh” and “Adonai” is translated “Lord” within the NT—so when applied to Christ implies a divine element.  
        • This was Jesus meaning in questioning the Pharisees about Psalm 110 in Mark 12:5-37: how can David call the Messiah Lord, if the Messiah is simply his son? 
      • Yet, if we stop here this doesn’t quite capture full picture of Jesus’ nature though. 
    • Fully Man
      • Although Jesus was “with God and was God” there was a point when something changed, “Emptied himself.” 
        • Called the “Kenosis (emptied) hymn” by some; Jesus emptied himself of something. 
        • He didn’t “grasp” onto to it as the expense of humanity; he willingly released it so as to become a man. 
        • Don’t misunderstand: he didn’t empty himself of His deity; didn’t stop being God (remember the point we made earlier), but a difference in relationship and authority and role (i.e. equality with God the Father). 
        • Notice the focus on him becoming an obedient servant; that is God the Son, within the incarnation, subjected himself to God the Father. 
      • Jesus gives another perspective as well at to what is being mentioned (John 17:5). 
        • The glory of the divine, witnessed within his absolute spiritual nature, was willingly surrounded so that he could become human and die as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. 
        • Paul speaks of this in 2 Cor: 8:9:For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
        • What is implied is that sacrifice continues as he remains sharing within our humanity even after the ascension (1 TIm. 2:5). 
      • This is why Paul would later make the statement: Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory (1 TIm. 3:16). 
      • What then does this have to do with our cross word Lord? 
        • It is because of this willing subjugation that there is a subsequent exaltation which leads to the identification as Jesus as Lord. 
        • Because he willingly emptied Himself of the glory and role he previously enjoyed, God has exalted His name—notice, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth—all realms—through the resurrection and ascension (Rom. 1:3-4).
        • Yet even more: It is the very act of humility, this God who was willing to subject and humble himself in such a way, to come as a child and live among us; to take our sickness and pain upon himself; to subject himself to pain and crucifixion and death; this act of absolute incomprehensible love is what moves all nations to proclaim: Jesus Ho’ Kurious! Jesus is Lord. 
    • This is the incredible story of how Jesus became both Lord and Christ—how God became king—not through fear or coercion, but through humility, sacrifice, mercy, and immeasurable love. 
      • This is how God continues to win authority and affection over the nations: through subjugation and exhalation of Jesus. 
      • See this same connection within Revelation 5:8-9:And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
  • Practically, this word Lord has three different meanings for the church. 

Discussion 

  • The three: political, personal, and missional. 
  • Political (The Lord)
    • Two things you never discuss: religion and politics. Yet, we can’t do that with Jesus—maybe not in the way you think. 
    • The life of Christ was always placed in the context—and in conflict to—reigning kings. 
      • In Matthew’s Account its Herod; in Luke’s account its Cesar; in Acts its Paul going up against powers that be (Agrippa, Felix, and Caesar) letting them know that there is a new king in town. 
      • This is the message of the newly inaugurated kingdom (Acts 2:36) and Paul’s message to the Ephesians (Eph. 1:20-21) and to the Colossians (Col. 1:16). 
      • So the good news of the gospel is this: Jesus Christ is not simply a man, a teacher, or a Lord—He is THE Lord of Lords and King of Kings, all nations and kingdoms being subjected under his reign (and the church are those who have accepted that truth). 
    • And, just as the reign of a Lord and king within Roman times meant their protection and salvation from certain enemies, the message of the NT is that only Jesus can save from our ultimate enemy: sin, death, and eternal condemnation under the wrath of God (Acts 4:12). 
  • Personal (My Lord) 
    • The intent of this word Lord cannot be relegated simply to an impersonal reign; rather the salvation of Jesus Christ must become real in our life—it must go from the Lord to my Lord. 
      • This is the meaning of Romans 10:9-10: because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
      • This isn’t simply saying “Jesus is my personal savior, but not yours”—you’re simply recognizing a reality/fact. 
      • Once we see this story of a God who gives us everything, we see the Risen Lord in all of His majesty, we cry out like Thomas: “My Lord and my God.” 
    • Yet, these aren’t meaningless words; as we come to see Christ as Lord and receive his salvation within obedience to the gospel, our lives our changed and transformed in obedience. 
      • Notice in v. 12, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
      • This “therefore” ties everything back to what he just said: If the tongue is going to confess, then the knee will have to bend. 
      • This of course should remind us of Matt. 7:21. 
    • Progression: the Lord, to my Lord, and finally to “our Lord.” 
  • Missional (Our Lord)
    • This personal recognition or the reality of Jesus reign, leads us bring others under His dominion (i.e. that ‘every knee should bow, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord). 
      • This is the desire of the church: to see all people, all nations, recognizing the reign of Jesus Christ. 
      • Imagine for a moment a world like that: a place where everyone you met believed and obeyed Jesus Christ—of course, this is what we look forward to in the resurrection. 
    • We see this connection within the great commission (Matt. 28:18-20): Jesus proclaims his authority over heaven and earth, and then sends out the disciples to bring others under this reign, “teaching them all I have commanded you.” 
  • Here then is the meaning of our word “Lord” today: Jesus is the Lord of heaven and earth, who I have accepted as my Lord and Savior through faith and obedience, and call for others to share in the salvation of our Lord within the church. 

Conclusion

  • Ironically, Da Vinci would do a painting called “Salvador Mundi” or “Savior of the World” in which he put to canvas Jesus Christ and sold this past year for 450 million dollars. 
    • As difficult as it is to grasp the complexity of the word “Lord” when referring to Jesus—when catch a glimpse of it—we strike gold. 
    • As people beheld this painting, many of them were deeply stirred—some even crying. 
  • As a Christian, my desire is to see Jesus as who He is—the Lord of Lord, and the King of Kings—and live with that wonder and reverence every single day. 

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