Jesus is Lord.
This was one of the first and most central confessions of the early church.
- Romans 10:9 “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.”
- 1 Corinthians 12:3 “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:5 “For what we proclaim is not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord”
The language is so familiar to many of us that we don’t understand the magnitude of the confession. We forget that when the first Christians spoke of Jesus in this way, they were speaking of a man they had seen and smelled and touched.
By outward appearances, Jesus seemed to be another run-of-the-mill Jewish 30something. You wouldn’t have been able to pick him out of a crowd of Galileans. Remember what happens at his arrest? Judas must give Jesus a kiss to betray him. Why not just tell the Romans, “He’s the guy with blonde hair and blue eyes”? Or, “He’s the one who glows. He’s got a halo and a sash. He’s wearing a white robe and speaks with a British accent.” Why the kiss? Because there was nothing unusual about Jesus to the physical eye. He was, more than likely, dark-haired, olive skinned, and bearded, just like his peers.
He was not more attractive than others; Isaiah tells us he was rather plain. He was not a towering physical specimen; some scientists figure the average first century Jewish male was little more than five feet tall. He was certainly not wealthier than others; he had no home of his own. He was quite ordinary in many respects. He had a family. He slept at night. He ate normal food. He didn’t get fed by ravens his whole life or pack Lembas bread for their journeys. He ate what everyone else ate. He wore the same kinds of clothes. He spoke the same language. His names was one of the most common Jewish names, like Bob or Bill or Kofi.
Jesus was a normal looking guy, from a normal family, from a below normal town. But what he did and said was absolutely abnormal. No one spoke like this man before. No one claimed what he claimed. No one did what he could do.
So what do you make of this man? That was the question they had to answer in the first century, and the question we all must answer. Those carried along by the Holy Spirit will say, “Jesus is Lord.” Not a Lord, but the Lord and my Lord.