All Hail The Power Of Jesus’ Name
The Reverend Bryn MacPhail / May 2, 2004
I think most of us have some understanding of what the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus means for us in an ultimate sense, but I suspect that many of us struggle to understand what those things accomplished by Jesus mean for us in an immediate sense.
I think we have some understanding of how the life, death, and Resurrection of Christ has positioned us for eternity, but I wonder if we adequately understand our current position as a redeemed people. While we cherish the notion of being reconciled with God, and while we rejoice in the promise of eternal life, many of us struggle to understand the present day implications of our redemption.
For those who would aspire to discover the immediate implications of our redemption, if you are aspiring to understand the relevance of Jesus for your life today, Philippians, chapter 2 has much to say to us.
Paul begins this particular section by describing the humiliation of Christ, explaining that "Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. "(2:6, 7).
Christ had all the comforts of existing from all eternity in the form of God. He was not coerced into becoming human. Nor was He morally obligated to become human. But, thankfully, as Paul writes, "(Christ) did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped". Christ had every right to grasp, He had every right to retain His pre-Incarnate form, but He chose not cling to that right. By contrast, "He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross"(2:8).
And notice that, even after submitting to death, Christ did not seize back His Divine form. Christ did not exalt Himself, but as Paul writes, “God highly exalted Him” (2:9).
Now, what does it mean for Christ to be exalted following His humiliation? Bear in mind that we are speaking about the second member of the Trinity here. When the Father exalted the Son, the Son did not become any more perfect than He was before. It was not the case that He became more divine. Jesus, as God, could not be elevated to a higher status than He was already.
The exaltation has to do with Jesus being the God/Man. Jesus, from all eternity, was fully God. But, at His incarnation, He became fully Man as well. As the God/Man, Jesus was not born in an exalted state, but in a humble state. As the God/Man, Jesus allowed Himself to be mocked, beaten, and crucified by sinful human beings. And because Jesus, the God/Man, did all of this in accordance to the will of God the Father, we read, "Therefore God highly exalted Him".
This exaltation of the God/Man, Jesus, was new, and different than His exaltation as the eternal Son of God. As the result of His humiliation Jesus was now exalted, not simply as the Son of God, but as the God/Man. And we read in Philippians 2, that in the exaltation, the Son of God is given "the name which is above every name"(v.9).
What is this name, which is above every name? Many of you will, instinctively, want to respond with the answer: ‘Jesus’. No! The name ‘Jesus’ was given at His birth—not at His exaltation. The name that is above every name is the name to be given to Jesus every time His name is mentioned. The apostle Paul writes, "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father"(v.10, 11).
The name, which is above every name, is LORD. This is the name "bestowed"(v.9) on Jesus at His exaltation.
The word, "LORD", comes from the Greek, "kurios"(koo-ree-os), and has three common uses in the New Testament.
The lowest sense of the word kurios is its use as a polite form of address, like "Sir" or "Mr.". This use of the word explains those texts in the gospels where perfect strangers approach Jesus and call Him "Lord". We typically read those passages and think, "Wow! How did they know?!", when really all they were saying was "Sir" or "Mr.".
The middle sense of the word kurios has to do with being a ruler. The title is used in connection with the Greek word, translated, "slave". In this sense, kurios is a slave-owner.
The highest use of the word kurios is what we find in Philippians 2. In its highest sense, kurios means "supreme in authority". After His crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension, Jesus takes His place at the right hand of God the Father and is given the title kurios/LORD.
As the second member of the Trinity, the Son of God has been supreme in authority from all eternity. But now, this supremacy extends to Jesus in His new status as the God/Man.
So what does this new status of Jesus have to do with us? What relevance does the status of Jesus being LORD have on our lives?
To answer this question it will be helpful for us to recall the middle use of the word kurios. In the middle sense of the word, kurios means you have ownership and authority over a particular person or a particular group of people. But in the highest sense of the word, kurios refers to ownership and authority over all things.
What this means, beloved, is that if Jesus is kurios, if Jesus is LORD over all, then He is kurios, then He is LORD, over you and over me.
Christians often refer to themselves as children of the Heavenly Father. This is both true and appropriate (Rom.8:14-17). But what we don't hear nearly as often is the fact that there is a real sense in which we are also slaves. There is a real sense in which we are Christ's personal property.
When Paul tells us that we have been purchased by the blood of Christ (1Cor.7:23), he does so using the same language one would use if they were describing the purchase of a slave.
In the plainest of terms, Paul tells the Romans in chapter 6, verse 22, that "having been freed from sin", we are now "enslaved to God". And friends, this is not a bad thing—not in the least. For the same verse says that in being "enslaved to God (we) derive our benefit, resulting in sanctification", and ultimately, "eternal life".
Admittedly, our tendency is to talk about the benefits of being purchased by Christ, but we would do well to also think about the responsibilities of being purchased by Christ. Because we cannot share in the benefits of redemption and, at the same time, shun the implications of redemption. It is important for us to consider what it means for Jesus to be our kurios, to be our LORD.
The apostle Paul draws out some of the implications of Jesus being our Lord in his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 6, verses 19 and 20, "do you not know . . . that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body."
The implication of having Christ as our Lord is that every part of us—our body, our mind, our talents, our resources, our time—it all belongs to Him. We are merely stewards of that which God has entrusted to us.
This truth should profoundly affect the way we live our lives. Before we speak, before we act, before we do anything, we should consider, "Will this bring glory to my Lord Jesus Christ?"
Consider again, what Paul says in Philippians 2, verse 9; he says, “God highly exalted (Jesus)”. And then consider how man treated Jesus. God exalted Jesus, but man mocked Jesus, man beat Jesus, and man crucified Jesus.
Man certainly did not exalt Jesus. But that was then, this is now. God has highly exalted Jesus the God/Man, and has bestowed on Him the title “LORD” of all. Of course, we cannot improve upon that bestowal, but we can, as redeemed people, echo that bestowal. Our hymn calls us to “spread (our) trophies at His feet, and crown Him Lord of all”. Our hymn implores us to dedicate to the Lord that which we deem most valuable. All that we are, all that we have, all that we have accomplished, we are to surrender to our Lord.
This entreaty begs the question, Are we withholding something from our Divine Master? Is there some aspect of our earthly life that we are clinging to? Is there a sin we are refusing to mortify?
Beloved, I do not know where you are at with this. I do not know if your consideration of Jesus as Saviour has led you to understand Him also as Lord. Either way, the Bible is clear: we cannot presume to have Jesus as our Saviour if we will not regard Him as our Lord. God is not pleased by a Christianity in which you get to remain in charge. You are not your own; you were bought with a price, and you belong to Him.
Necessarily, the first fruits of our service must go to Him. God must not get our leftovers—He must not get our leftover energy, He must not get our leftover time, or our leftover contributions. The price that has been paid demands from us a practical surrendering of ourselves to Christ.
I understand that we face pressures on every side: pressures from within our family, pressures from within our workplace, and even pressures from within the church.
For this reason, I would like to make, what I think is, an important distinction. There are occasions where you are forced to choose between investing time and resources into your family, and investing time and resources into your church. My guess is that many of us, in that situation, would favour our family.
Would it surprise you to hear me say that is not necessarily out of order? The reason that is not necessarily out of order is because the church is not your Lord—and there are times when we must distinguish between what our church requires from us and what Christ requires of us.
But, here is the pivotal point: If Christ requires something from you; if you find in the pages of Scripture a clear mandate to be followed, it must be followed regardless of the personal cost. If Jesus is LORD, then His will is paramount. If Jesus is LORD, then your first obligation is to Him.
For those living apart from Christ, this truth will seem like an unbearable weight. But for those committed to Christ, this truth will bring you immeasurable delight. Which is it for you?
I pray that you might know the blessing of the Lordship of Jesus Christ, today, and everyday. Amen.