This is post 4 of 12 in the series “WHY I BELIEVE"
- Why I Believe In The Incarnation
- Why I Believe In Angels
- Why I Believe In The Virgin Birth
- Why I Believe In Jesus Christ
- Why I Believe In God
- Why I Believe The Bible
- Why I Believe In The Church
- Why I Believe In Heaven
- Why I Believe In The Atonement
- Why I Believe In The Resurrection
- Why I Believe In The Holy Spirit
- Why I Believe In The Trinity
Why I Believe In Jesus Christ
I Corinthians 8:6
I am a simple man. I have a simple faith. I simply believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. I think one of the simplest ways for me to share with you my belief in Him is through the names that He bore, the titles that He wore. Those names are for me a simple shorthand symbol for my beliefs about Him.
It all began with the single name “Jesus.” He was given that name before He was born. The angel said to Joseph, “You shall call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sin.” Then in the middle of His earthly ministry, Peter dared to speak for all of the disciples saying to Jesus, “You are the Christ.” Jesus thus became “Jesus Christ.” Finally, after He had demonstrated His power over life and death, His followers applied to Him yet another name. They called Him Lord. The church took those three words—Jesus, Christ, Lord—and then put them together so that in a sense they became His full name. In 1 Corinthians 8 verse 6, Paul writes, “There is but one Lord Jesus Christ through whom all things came and through whom we live.” I believe that. I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and I believe the best way for me to tell you about that belief is to ask you to join me in looking at each one of His names, these simple shorthand symbols of who He was, and is, and always will be.
We call Him “Lord.”
The word “Lord” suggests to us greatness, kingliness, grandeur, glory. It was a word, which in New Testament times was applied to those rulers with absolute power and authority. It was the title given to the Caesars. Now viewed from that perspective, I suppose you could say that Jesus wasn’t very “Lordly.” He was born in a stable of all places, cradled in an animal’s feeding trough of all things, adored by shepherds of all people. He was never at home in the royal city of Jerusalem. He would visit there only briefly and then quickly retreat to the quiet little villages round about. Ultimately, of course, he was condemned to die a criminal’s death. The few followers He had gathered melted away. He was buried without pomp or circumstance, with little or no public mourning. He wasn’t much of a “Lord.” Yet, nevertheless, that word became the word people started using to refer to Him. Why? The clue is actually in that word they used. You see the word “Lord” is the name the Bible uses to refer to God. It was the name God gave Himself. In Scripture, God says, “For I am the Lord your God.” Therefore, to call Jesus Lord is to call Him God. It means that we have found God in Him as in no one else.
Of course, Jesus claimed that Himself. Every attribute of God Jesus applied to Himself. God has existed forever. Jesus said, “I was before the foundation of the world.” God is all-powerful. Jesus said, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” God is without sin. Jesus said, “Which of you can convict me of sin?” Jesus made His claim plain. He said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” He said, “I and the Father are One.” It is vitally important for us to see Jesus for who He really is, for who He Himself claimed to be—nothing less than the full revelation of God Himself. That is what I believe. That is why I call Him “Lord.”
And we call Him “Jesus.”
Remember that that was just an ordinary name in that day and time. In fact it was the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Joshua.” Just an ordinary name which some of the other kids running round in Nazareth also had. This meant that God took upon Himself an ordinary human life, wearing an ordinary human name. Divinity squeezed itself into a tiny baby and was born as all of us were born into the human experience no fanfare, no trumpets, no cataclysmic celebration just a baby’s low cry. That baby became a man, a man who experienced human life in all its glory and despair. The Bible says, “He was tempted in every respect just as we are.” He knew what it was to be hungry, to be so exhausted that you fall asleep in the middle of the day, to be misunderstood, to get a bum rap, to experience a miscarriage of justice. He knew what it is like to be fully human. What that means for us is that no matter how humble our circumstances may be, Jesus Christ can bring God into the midst of our experience. It means that wherever we find human need, or human heartbreak, or human misery, or human difficulty God is there in Jesus. It means that we cannot pray about anything that God doesn’t already understand first hand. That’s what we mean when we call Him Jesus.
There is incredible power in His name. In His name—Jesus—is the power of healing. In His name—Jesus—is the power of encouragement. In His name—Jesus—is the power of God unto salvation. Jesus has carried our humanity into heaven just as He carried God’s divinity down to earth. The angels said, “You shall call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins.” That’s what I believe. That’s why I call Him, “Jesus.”
Then we call Him “Christ”
It’s not so much a name as a title. Christ is the Greek translation of the Old Testament word Messiah. Messiah is a job to be done. Messiah means the one who will redeem, deliver, and set free. Messiah is the one who will gather up the people of God and usher in a new age. Messiah is the savior of the world. When we call Him Christ, we do not speak so much about who He is but what He does. He gave His life for us and for our salvation. That’s why He was called Christ. That’s why His followers are called “Christ-ians.” That’s why our faith is called “Christ-ianity.” It’s because of what He did. When we call Him “Christ,” we are speaking about His work.
A Christian missionary was working with a Muslim. He gave the man a Bible and told him to read it. Later the man came back to the missionary and said, “I’m puzzled. We have only one god, Allah, and one prophet, Mohammad. I don’t even know what to call the founder of your faith. I read so many names for Him here in the Bible. In fact there are more than one hundred names for Him. What do I call Him? The missionary said, “Yes, there are many names for Him in the Bible. It is the effort of human language to pay homage to all that He does. Therefore, you may call Him whatever you will let him do for you. If He delivers you, call Him Redeemer. If He rules you, call Him the King. If He teaches you, call Him the Truth. If He leads you, call Him the Way. If He fascinates you, call Him the Lily of the Valley or the Rose of Sharon. You may call Him whatever you will let Him do for you.
In my own life, I have laid claim to the life-giving, life-changing, life empowering relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, which is promised in Scripture. From that time to this, He has been in control of my life. It hasn’t all been easy. It hasn’t all been sweetness and light. I’ve let Him down more times than I care to remember, but He has been there. When I have called to Him, He has answered. When I have trusted Him, He has proved more than worthy of that trust. When I have been weak, He has given me strength. When I have been selfish, He has given me love. When I have been sinful, He has given me pardon. When I have been lost, He has shown me the way to go home. I call Him by what He does for me. He is my Lord. He is my Jesus. He is my Christ. He is my Lord Jesus Christ.
What is He to you?