This was the Church’s earliest creed, a brief simply statement of faith, “Jesus is Lord!” For those first Christians this was said at great personal risk, for their Roman oppressors demanded from any person in one of their conquered provinces this statement: “Caesar is Lord.” Those who refused to put any incense on Caesar’s altars, which were found throughout the land, could be put to death. That is the kind of power Rome had over all those living under its authority—the power of life and death!
When the Apostle Peter preached his mighty sermon on the Day of Pentecost, he was bold to announce the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Remember, this is the same disciple who did not have the courage to stand up for Jesus on the day of his trial and death. This is the disciple who even denied knowing Jesus! It is impossible to explain the radical transformation that had taken place in this disciple’s life apart from the gift of the Holy Spirit, the presence and power of the Spirit at work in Peter’s life following the Pentecost event. The same Jesus he had denied, Peter now boldly proclaimed as raised from the dead and set loose in the world, where neither Caesar nor Rome could stop His truth. Peter proclaimed Jesus alone both “Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36)
The title “Lord” is the English spelling of the Greek “Kuriosm,” which is the word for “Lord”—the word for Christ is “Christos.” When we say “Jesus Christ,” that is not a double name. “Christ” is a title meaning “Messiah,” Jesus is the Christ, Jesus is the Messiah; He is the only Savior who has ever come, and the only Savior who will ever come! This same Jesus, who was crucified and raised from the dead, who is at work in the world today, will come again in the fullness of time, and when He comes in all His power and glory, we are told that, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!”
In both Hebrew and Greek, the title “Messiah” means “The Anointed One,” the Deliverer God had promised to send. The name “Jesus” in the New Testament is the same as the name “Joshua” in the Old Testament, which means “Savior” or “Deliverer,” or simply “God saves.” The angel told Mary, before Jesus was born, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save his people from their sins.” This is the word that should be uppermost in our minds when we think of Jesus: SALVATION. The Greek word is “sozo,” which is used in the New Testament to refer not only to the salvation of the individual sinner, who is brought from darkness to light and from death to life, but also to the healing of the body. The word actually means “wholeness”—Jesus came to make us whole. This is a process, for there are tenses to salvation. We have not only been saved, we are being saved, and we shall be saved.
Therefore, we have in these titles and names the nature and mission of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the purpose of His coming into the world and being crucified, “to seek and to save the lost”—and that we might be “born anew to a living hope by His resurrection from the dead”—that we might enjoy the benefits of an abundant life in this world, and have the blessed assurance of everlasting life here-and-now, for all the blessings of our life in Christ, all of “the blessings in the heavenly places,” are already ours in Christ in this life (Ephesians 1:3-12). All this is wrapped up in the word “salvation” or “wholeness,” referring not only to our salvation from the power and penalty of sin in this life (and also from the presence of sin in the life to come), but to the mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing of believers (true healing of mind, body, and spirit). This is God’s will for us, the purpose He had for us even before we were born, the persons He had in mind when He first thought of us (Psalm 139), and when He “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16) to suffer death upon the cross that we might “become children of God” (John 1:12).
This is the reason God’s prophet, Isaiah, seven hundred years before the first advent of Christ, prophesied that the Messiah, the suffering servant (Isaiah 53) would not only be “wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities,” but would also “bear our infirmities” and“carry our diseases,” that “by his stripes (wounds) we are healed” (made whole). The New Testament makes it abundantly clear that our salvation, our wholeness (i.e. our life, both abundant and eternal) is in Christ, and in Christ alone. The Apostle Paul tells us in his Letter to the Colossians that CHRIST IS OUR LIFE (3:4).