A Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Part 2)
II. Who is Christ
The second title ascribed to Jesus by the angel is “Christ”. Now this word does mean King. It means literally Messiah, Anointed One, but the Anointed One in the Old Testament is the Anointed King. The descendant of David who would sit on the throne forever and ever. Christ is not Jesus’ last name, it is his title. When we say Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus we are saying King Jesus.
The words of the angel in Luke 2:11 “unto you is born this day” remind us of Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” and in that passage the emphasis is upon his kingship for the verse continues, “and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end”
Last week I treated with some scorn those humanists who think that the peace on earth and good will toward men that Jesus came to bring meant peace between nations and the end of wars. Now this morning I add this footnote. There is a day coming when wars will cease, when men will beat their swords into plowshares, when the lion will lie down with the lamb. But that day will follow the second coming of Christ. Until he comes again, there will continue to be wars and rumors of wars. So if you are interested in working for world peace, then give your life to the one thing that will, in the words of 2 Peter 3, hasten the coming of the day of God. What is that one thing? How in the world can we hasten the coming of the Lord? Preach the gospel to all nations. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14 this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Until that day, “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.”
The earth is in labor. Creation groans with the pains of childbirth. On Christmas we remember the first coming of Jesus Christ when he was born on this earth. But we also look forward to his second coming, when the earth itself will be born again and then we will walk upon the New Earth in our resurrection bodies with perfect allegiance to King Jesus and then all wars and everything else that could cause mourning or crying or pain will forever cease.
III. The Lord
All praise to Thee, Eternal Lord. That’s the third title ascribed to Jesus by the angel. Lord. While the title is sometimes used as a term of respect of mere men and is then translated lord with a little l, or master, or sir, here the angel clearly means to say that Jesus is the Lord God Incarnate, the Deity clothed in a garb of flesh and blood.
We hear this verse which says “Christ the Lord” read every Christmas and so the phrase feels familiar. And so you’ll probably be surprised to learn that this is the only place in the Bible that this exact phrase occurs. Usually it’s the Lord Jesus, or once or twice “the Lord Christ” but here only do we read “Christ the Lord” But if you glance down to verse 26 we see a very similar phrase. There Luke tells us that Simeon was told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he saw the Lord’s Christ. In the Greek the similarity is even more pronounced. Christ the Lord, Christ the Lord’s. This is one of those things that will make your head explode if you think about it too long. Jesus is the Lord, Jesus is the Lord’s. In the beginning the Word was with God and the Word was God.
Now I don’t think this truth really needs defending this morning, so instead of making arguments for the full Deity of Christ, let me make some applications from it. How shall we respond to the truth that Jesus is God Incarnate?
Philippians 2:5-7 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form [nature] of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form [nature] of a servant, being born in the likeness [appearance] of men.
The word nature occurs twice in verses 6-7. Jesus Christ is 1 person/2 natures.
If only nature of God/appearance of man you might conclude that he was only human for 30 years, then went back to same preincarnate divine nature only. But Jesus took up a human nature in the incarnation, not merely a human appearance. “nature” of man same word as nature of God tells us that he will have the human nature he acquired in the incarnation forever. He still has human nature now at the right hand of God. not same appearance, appearance changes, nature doesn’t. He no longer has the appearance of a baby in a manger. no longer even the appearance of a 30yr old man. When John saw him in Rev, white hair like the Ancient of Days and eyes blazing like fire. So who can fathom his appearance? But he still retains forever the same human nature.
But now what is the application for us? Paul says that we are to have this mind of Christ among ourselves. We are to think like Christ did. If he was in very nature God, but he chose not to exercise his rights as God and instead took the nature of a servant, then we should be ready to forsake insisting upon our rights and serve one another. Consider others better than ourselves and look to their interests and not our own.
The same point is made by John when he tells the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.
John 13:3-5 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet
Do you hear the similarities to Philippians 2:6? “being in very nature God he did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made himself nothing” “knowing that…he had come from God and was going back to God…he laid aside his outer garments and took up a towel.”
So with us, when it comes to the application of following his example, we need to know who we are in Christ before we are able to stop asserting our own rights and serve others.
Precisely because we know that we are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, we are not intoxicated by authority. Precisely because we know that we are destined for glory, we are not ensnared by vainglory.
Finally, Paul proclaims the full deity of Jesus again in the same passage, in Philippians 2:9-11 God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This is a near quotation of Isaiah 45:23 where Yahweh says ‘before Me every knee will bow” and now Paul says that before Jesus every knee will bow. The conclusion is clear. Jesus is Yahweh. Jesus is LORD.
So the final application is this, and I believe it is the one intended by Paul in Philippians. A consideration of the full divinity of Christ should produce in us an evangelistic zeal to contend together as one man for the gospel. The deity of Christ means the uniqueness of Christ. His name is above every other name. His name alone is the name upon which man can call and be saved, because he alone is God incarnate. Every knee will bow before Him. And so it is with tears that Paul reminds the Philippians that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
If we confess that Jesus is Lord, then let us proclaim the good news of great joy that unto us is born a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord.