Jesus Christ Is Lord
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:11)
Throughout the New Testament, we find there are three names in primary usage for the Son of God: Jesus, Christ, and Lord. The name Jesus, meaning “Jehovah is the Savior,” is His human name, linking Him with humanity whom He came to save. Christ, meaning “anointed,” is His Messianic name, linking Him with the prophecy that He came to fulfill. The New Testament equivalent to the Hebrew word Jehovah is the word “Lord,” linking Him with deity whom He came to represent and reveal, and to whom is due homage.
These three names have a chronological emphasis, for until His crucifixion He was known primarily as “Jesus,” but after His resurrection and ascension He was preeminent as “Christ.” When He returns, it will be as “Lord” to reign. To be sure, there is overlap, for He is simultaneously all three and has been throughout history. But the general pattern is clear.
The three names also indicate His threefold office and work. “Jesus” suggests His career as a prophet, teaching men the truth, while “Christ” suggests His priesthood, atoning for sin, and “Lord” His Kingship, ruling over men. Mankind’s relationship and responsibility to Him follow this same pattern: obedience to Him as prophet, faith in Him as priest, surrender to Him as King.
There is no effort on the part of the Scripture writers to separate these names into different individuals, for on many if not most occasions two or three of the names are combined, showing that these three names reference one and the same person. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). JDM